Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma linked to glyphosate-based herbicide exposure

Photo credit: Charles O'Rear; USDA

A study recently published in the journal Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research links glyphosate-based herbicides (GHB) like Roundup with higher rates of the cancer Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). This formative paper combines a review of human studies with animal research that showed increased exposure to glyphosate increased NHL cancer in mice. The researchers also included a review of the mechanisms for how glyphosate causes cancer cell development, providing a critical link between the two.

Glyphosate is the primary active ingredient in Roundup, one of the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S. It has been detected in many foods, and people can also be exposed from contaminated water and dust. To test if the highest exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides would lead to increased risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, researchers analyzed six studies with nearly 65,000 human participants, and every publicly available study on glyphosate exposure and the development of NHL cancer in mice.

To better understand how glyphosate could increase NHL cancer, researchers reviewed studies that showed how glyphosate affects the mammalian body after exposure. This review revealed that exposure to glyphosate alters gut bacteria in a way that can negatively impact the immune system and cause chronic inflammation. It also showed that glyphosate can alter sex hormone production, and can cause oxidative stress. All of these bodily responses to glyphosate exposure match with the responses that can cause the development of NHL cancer.

Overall, by combing evidence in human studies and animal studies, this research exposes a strong link between high exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides and increased risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer in humans.