This week, a jury concluded that the use of Roundup on weeds by a man was a "substantial factor" in the cause of cancer that he developed years later. But court cases are not scientific studies and scientists are still divided on whether glyphosate really should be considered a carcinogen.
As discussed earlier, the International Agency for Research on Cancer at the World Health Organization has reviewed the evidence and has decided to add glyphosate to the list of factors "likely" to cause cancer. Other products on this list include red meat, hot coffee and human papillomavirus.
But other organizations have done their own analysis and come to different conclusions. The United States Environmental Protection Agency, Health Canada and the European Food Safety Authority have all concluded that glyphosate do not likely to cause cancer. Individual studies of glyphosate have shown mixed results for most cancers, and a handful of studies have looked at the possibility that it actually causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The most recent study found that among farm workers working with most glyphosate, the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was 2.8%, compared with only 2% in the general population. (One of the authors of this study publishes an article on his blog.) This is a slight change in risk, which probably does not apply to the average consumer who only encounters glyphosate in his garden or in the form of traces. on food. But scientists realize that there is a detectable link. For an up-to-date summary of scientific evidence on glyphosate, I recommend this Tom Philpott Exploder to Mother Jones.
At the same time, Bayer (the owner of Roundup, who bought the company formerly known as Monsanto) issued a statement claiming that there was ample evidence that glyphosate was safe and did not cause Cancer. Which is, of course, true.
The truth is that court cases are not scientific studies. In the recent trial, the jury did not have time to wait for further results or the scientific expertise to answer a question that scientists had not yet agreed to. All the lawsuit really means that it will be easier to file future lawsuits. Glyphosate is still Probably sure at the levels most of us are exposed to … but it will take more science to say for sure.