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New research suggests that the active ingredient in Roundup and other weedkillers, glyphosate, behaves in many ways like an endocrine disrupting chemical, and most likely is one.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the production and distribution of human hormones. They can cause the development of cancer, result in developmental delays and defects in the unborn and children, as well as increase the risk of hypersensitivity and other hormonal imbalances in the body.
In a study published last month in the journal Chemosphere, Chilean researchers say glyphosate has at least eight of the key characteristics that classify a substance as an endocrine-disrupting chemical. The study is the latest salvo in a long-running debate over whether the controversial herbicide is an endocrine disruptor.
There has been growing concern over the risks associated with glyphosate since 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that it was a probable carcinogen, with evidence suggesting it may increase the risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) and certain other cancers.
Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary currently face more than 125,000 Roundup lawsuits that allege the manufacturers failed to warn consumers about the cancer risks associated with exposure to the weed killer, with a handful of early trials ending in massive verdicts against the manufacturer.
The authors of this latest study conducted a review of glyphosate, comparing its properties to 10 key characteristics (KCs) of guidelines published earlier this year which are meant to help classify endocrine disruptors. According to the researchers, glyphosate meets eight of those guidelines for identifying endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
“We conclude that glyphosate satisfies at least 8 KCs of an EDC, however, prospective cohort studies are still needed to elucidate the real effects in the human endocrine system,” the researchers wrote.
In June, Bayer announced a Roundup settlement agreement that would include payments of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve about two-thirds of the current cases pending nationwide. However, individual plaintiffs are still evaluating whether to accept their offers and few, if any, cases have actually been dismissed.
Settlement negotiations heated up earlier this year, as a series of additional cases were set to go to trial nationwide throughout 2020. However, even if the current claims are resolved, Bayer is likely to face a steady flow of future lawsuits over failure to warn about the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, as former users continue to be diagnosed with the disease in the future.