A newly released study has found that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, may not be directly responsible for the increased risk of cancer that has been associated with the weedkiller. The study was conducted by a team of federal and private sector researchers who tested glyphosate and herbicide mixtures using glyphosate on human B-lymphoblastoid TK6 cells. The researchers concluded that neither glyphosate nor its metabolite forms damaged DNA, causing cancer. Instead, they found that some other ingredient in weedkillers containing glyphosate may be responsible for the DNA damage attributed to glyphosate. This finding contradicts the 2015 World Health Organization (“WHO”) conclusion that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans” and genotoxic (meaning it damages DNA). WHO’s conclusion has led to numerous lawsuits against Bayer AG and Monsanto Co., as well as lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency for concluding that the herbicide would not cause cancer.
Although the study indicates that DNA damage was caused by other components of the formulations, not glyphosate, it did not rule out the possibility that exposure to glyphosate might cause cancer through other mechanisms, according to the National Toxicology Program. Bayer AG has long maintained that glyphosate does not cause cancer and is not genotoxic, and the company released a statement in response to the study, stating that “the extensive body of research on glyphosate-based herbicides and findings of leading health regulators worldwide support the conclusion that glyphosate does not cause cancer and is not genotoxic.”