Arsenic, Other Toxic Substances Found in Roundup, Similar Weed Killers: Study

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson
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New research raises further concerns about the potentially harmful risks associated with exposure to Roundup and similar glyphosate-based weedkillers, finding that they typically contain a number of toxic substances, such as arsenic, in addition to the active ingredient, which has been linked to a risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

In a study recently published in the medical journal Toxicology Reports, French researchers looked at the comparative hericideal and toxicological side effects of glyphosate alone, as well as 14 of its formulations.

Researchers indicate that Roundup and similar weed killers consist of 36% to 48% glyphosate, water, and 10% to 20% of other chemical formulants. According to their findings, the most toxic ingredient was not glyphosate, but the surfactant polyoxyethylene tallow amine (POEA). Formulations also contained a number of other toxic substances, including arsenic, chromium, cobalt, lead and nickel.

“This could also explain some of the adverse effects of the pesticides,” the researchers concluded. “These results, taken together, shed a new light on the toxicity of these major herbicides and of pesticides in general.”

The findings come amid a growing number of Roundup lawsuits filed by individuals nationwide, each of which allege that long-term exposure to the weed killer and its active ingredient, glyphosate, resulted in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and similar cancers.

Roundup Health Concerns

Concerns about the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma first arose in 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate contained in Roundup as a probable human carcinogen.

The move sparked world-wide concerns about why Monsanto failed to provide warnings and recommend safety precautions for users of Roundup.

As part of the on-going litigation against Monsanto, internal documents produced during the discovery process have suggested that the manufacturer knew about the cancer risks associated with the Roundup active ingredients for years.

The complaints are centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) pending before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California. The litigation has been consolidated for pretrial proceedings to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, prevent conflicting rulings from different Courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.

As part of the coordinated MDL proceedings, Judge Chhabria has previously determined that the Roundup litigation will be bifurcated, first addressing general causation about the link between the widely used weedkiller and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, as well as other forms of cancer, before addressing case-specific issues about whether Roundup caused cancer for each individual plaintiff.

Following resolution of any motions to dismiss based on general causation, if a Roundup lawsuit settlements or another resolution for the litigation is not reached during the first phase of discovery, it is expected that Judge Chhabria will establish a bellwether process, where a small group of cases will be prepared for early trial dates to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the lawsuits.

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Photo Courtesy of Mike Mozart via Flickr Creative Commons

1 comment

  1. Nanette Reply

    NY neighbor landscaper has been spraying my bank. I was sick for 10 days last time he sprayed. My son is having intermittent breathing difficulties. They also poisoned my yard with this product. I found a bottle which their daughter said was theirs underneath dying trees. They poured it all over my property…raised beds, plants in pots, many trees…one which fell on the house. Started finding it all over my yard this spring after I found the bottle. Their daughter said the mother did it.

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