Roundup® is a glyphosate-based herbicide weed killer that kills weeds while allowing genetically modified crops to flourish. It covers more than 168 million acres in the United States and is used on almost all corn, cotton and soy farms, as well as on individual consumers’ personal lawns and gardens.
In 1970, Monsanto chemist John E. Franz discovered that glyphosate is a highly effective herbicide. In 1974, Monsanto released glyphosate to the market for agricultural use under the name Roundup. It quickly grew in popularity and now generates $4 billion in revenue annually, securing its spot as the most popular herbicide in the world. Roundup is a product of Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018 as part of its crop science division. Today, Bayer is the target of thousands of lawsuits that claim a possible association between long-term Roundup use and certain cancers. More specifically, Roundup is alleged to be linked to a group of blood cancers called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).
The number of lawsuits filed increased after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a glyphosate risk assessment in 2015, categorizing the chemical as a group 2A probable carcinogen. Despite Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) repeated denials of a link between Roundup use and cancer, there is a growing body of research that may support the IARC’s assessment. This includes research published by former EPA advisors that found heavy exposure to Roundup may increase a person’s risk of developing NHL by 41 percent. It also includes the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) 2019 toxicological profile, which suggests a possible link between glyphosate exposure and cancer.