Roundup has been in stores since 1974. It’s one of the most popular weed killers in the United States and is considered to be one of the most effective. However, Roundup is also linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This is because the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is thought to have harmful effects on human health.

Research on the effects of glyphosate is still underway, but the link is strong enough that major health organizations around the world have classified glyphosate as a likely carcinogen.

Glyphosate is banned or heavily regulated in more than 30 countries. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) don’t consider glyphosate to be a carcinogen. However, several major lawsuits linking Roundup use to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

Bayer, the company that owns Roundup, has paid out billions of dollars to people who have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and how makers of Roundup are being held responsible for cancer. We’ll also review weed killers that are safe to use for both you and the environment.

A substance called glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. Glyphosate was invented in 1974 and can be found in hundreds of products that are used both commercially and in private homes.

Weed killers, such as Roundup, are one of the most common products containing glyphosate that people buy and use for personal gardening and lawn care.

Products other than Roundup that contain glyphosate include:

  • Ortho GroundClear
  • Ranger Pro Herbicide
  • Dow Rodeo Herbicide
  • RM43 Total Vegetation Control

There have been many studies into the effects of glyphosate on humans. Healthcare advocates and medical researchers have been concerned that glyphosate has the potential to cause cancer in humans.

Early studies have suggested compelling links between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but noted the need for further studies because researchers were unable to definitively link the chemical to the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

A more recent study found that glyphosate increased the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by 41 percent. Data from this and other research, such as this 2021 review, suggest that glyphosate may change human chromosomes and lead to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The studies also suggest that higher exposures to glyphosate — larger amounts for a longer period of time — are riskier than using the product according to the label directions.

More research is needed to draw a definitive conclusion on the link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Current regulations on the use of Roundup

Currently, neither the EPA nor the European Food Safety Agency links glyphosate to cancer in humans. Conversely, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), states glyphosate is “probably” carcinogenic to humans.

There are regulations in some countries and some areas of the United States, including the state of California, about the use of glyphosate or about the amount of glyphosate that products can legally contain.

Glyphosate and the environment

In addition to its suspected health effects on humans, there’s growing evidence, according to Environmental Health News, that glyphosate might be harmful to the environment.

For decades, it was thought that glyphosate was safe for plants, insects, water, and other wildlife. However, new data indicates that this isn’t the case.

Studies show that glyphosate could be damaging the digestion and reproduction of bees and small water-dwelling wildlife. Over time, this damage could have ripple effects on food chains and large ecosystems.

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It’s important to contact a healthcare professional if you’ve been exposed to Roundup and you experience any symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Some early symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are similar to the symptoms of other less serious conditions, such as the flu. However, if you’ve had any symptoms for more than a week or two, it’s best to make a medical appointment.

Symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:

A company called Monsanto first began manufacturing Roundup in the 1970s, and a number of lawsuits have been filed against them. In 2018, Monsanto and the Roundup brand were purchased by Bayer. By the time Bayer purchased Roundup, thousands of lawsuits had already been filed.

Bayer is now responsible for all current and future Roundup lawsuits. Many Roundup lawsuits still list Monsanto in the documentation, but Bayer now has final responsibility for any damages awarded to plaintiffs.

Prominent Roundup lawsuit resolutions

There have been many different resolutions to Roundup lawsuits, and thousands of cases are still waiting for a ruling. Here are some prominent Roundup lawsuit results:

  • In 2018, a California court ruled that Roundup/Bayer needed to do more to warn customers about the potential link between Roundup and cancer. It awarded $20.5 million to a plaintiff who had used Roundup as part of their job as a groundskeeper and had developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The court didn’t rule that Roundup had directly caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but it did rule that Bayer didn’t do enough to warn customers of the possible risk.
  • In 2019, a California court ordered Bayer to pay $86.7 million to a couple who both developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after 30 years of Roundup use.
  • In 2021, a California court found that Roundup use wasn’t the cause of a case of Burkitt’s lymphoma and sided with Bayer.

Bayer agrees to pay more than $10 billion to settle Roundup lawsuits

In addition to individual lawsuits, thousands of individual cases have been consolidated. In June of 2020, Bayer agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle current and future claims. Since the settlement was proposed, Bayer has been working in blocks to settle outstanding cases related to Roundup.

As of the summer of 2022, Bayer has paid out about $11 billion to more than 100,000 people. It’s estimated that this represents about 80 percent of the total number of people who qualify for the settlement, and Bayer has reportedly set aside more funds to continue negotiating settlement amounts.

Not all weed killers contain glyphosate. There are several alternatives you can look into that are less risky for your health and the environment. Some safe alternatives include:

  • Homemade weed killer. You can make your own weed killer using white vinegar, your favorite dish soap, and salt. Simply mix 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 cup of salt, and 1 tablespoon of dish soap together for a natural and safe weed killer.
  • Sunday Weed Warrior. Sunday Weed Warrior is a trusted organic weed killer for gardens. However, it’s not safe to use on grass or other green surfaces.
  • Green Gobbler Weed and Grass Killer. Green Gobbler Weed and Grass Killer is a safe, vinegar-based weed killer. Like Sunday Weed Warrior, it’s best to use it in your garden. This product will kill healthy grass along with weeds.
  • Bonide BurnOut. Bonide BurnOut is natural, safe to use around people, and safe for grass and other green surfaces.
  • Earthborn Elements Borax Powder. Earthborn Elements Borax Powder can solve multiple problems at once because this weed killer is also an effective ant deterrent.

Roundup is one of several weed killers made with glyphosate. Glyphosate has been in use since the 1970s, but recent data has linked it to harmful effects in humans, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Although research studies are still inclusive, evidence about this link is growing. Several leading health organizations, including the WHO, now label glyphosate as a likely carcinogen.

Several lawsuits against Bayer, the company that makes Roundup, have sided with plaintiffs, and Bayer has paid out billions of dollars in settlement money.

Using alternatives to Roundup, such as homemade weed killer or organic products, is a good way to lower the potential risk of glyphosate for you and the environment.