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Glyphosate Side Effects: Short-Term & Serious Health Risks

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Glyphosate is one of the most used herbicides for killing weeds in agriculture. Roundup, a weed killer containing glyphosate, has been tied to many controversies in the last decade due to its acute toxicity. 

Many people have suffered consequences as severe as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from glyphosate exposure. 

If you have suffered from serious glyphosate or Roundup side effects, you need a recognized law firm like Schmidt & Clark, LLP, to represent you. 

Keep reading below to learn everything about glyphosate side effects, average settlement, the necessary burden of proof, and more.

Quick Summary

  • Side effects from glyphosate exposure include skin and eye irritation, vomiting, and nausea.
  • Glyphosate exposure has been scientifically linked to the development of cancer. 
  • Only 0.5 to 2% of glyphosate can be absorbed through the skin.
  • Glyphosate likely causes neuroinflammation in the brain by increasing the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα).

What Is Glyphosate?

A doctor with a clipboard with the chemical graphic for glyphosate

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum non-selective herbicide used in agriculture for killing broadleaf weeds and grasses. 

Glyphosate is a phosphonate compound that inhibits plant enzymes responsible for development and growth, first registered for use in the U.S. in 1974. 

Since 1974, it has been one of the most used herbicides in the United States. Its primary use is in forestry and agriculture, on gardens and lawns, and for specific weeds.

However, it was initially used for cleaning boilers and pipes or commercial and residential hot water systems. 

Today, glyphosate is found not only in many products but the rain and air samples as well [1].

Related Article: Glyphosate Lawsuit Update (2023)

Two doctors discussing the side effects related to glyphosateSide effects related to glyphosate exposure include skin and eye irritation, vomiting, nausea, and different types of cancer. The most common type of cancer developed due to glyphosate is Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Most people who come in contact with pure glyphosate are those working in agriculture, gardening, and lawn care. 

However, according to the National Pesticide Information Center, people can get exposed to glyphosate by inhaling, touching, swallowing, or even dietary exposure. [2]. 

Short-term side effects of glyphosate include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Nose/throat irritation
  • Burns in the mouth/throat
  • Increased saliva
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea 

Serious side effects that typically result from swallowing glyphosate are: 

Most serious side effects of glyphosate come from exposure to a glyphosate-based herbicide like Roundup. 

There were more than a thousand cases filed against Roundup in the past decade. This is due to the possibility of it being linked with cancer, which we will discuss shortly. 

The most dangerous glyphosate formulant for human health is POEA, a petroleum-based oxidized molecule. One of the studies that tested exposure to individual glyphosate formulants concluded that POEA is the most toxic for humans [3]. 

However, other heavy metals in glyphosate, such as chromium, arsenic, and cobalt, have also been proven toxic to the human endocrine system.

With all this in mind, it is important to note that glyphosate isn’t a developmental or reproductive toxin.

This means that glyphosate doesn’t directly have a negative impact on sexual function and fertility in adult females and males. In addition, it doesn’t have any toxic effects on the offspring.

See all related toxic tort lawsuits our lawyers covered so far.

Is Glyphosate Likely to Cause Cancer?

A doctor explaining the relation of glyphosate to cancerYes, glyphosate is likely to cause cancer. This is because exposing yourself to glyphosate-based herbicides or glyphosate residues increases the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The European Food Safety Authority and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claim there is no sufficient evidence that glyphosate causes cancer in humans [4][5].

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer stated in 2015 that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans [6]. 

Since 2015, more than a thousand cases have been filed against glyphosate in Roundup because of its severe side effects on human health.

Only four years later, in 2019, the University of Washington published a study claiming that glyphosate use and exposure increases cancer risks, particularly of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, by 41% [7].

The study was published in Mutation Research, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, where researchers concluded that exposure to all glyphosate-based herbicides increases the risk of cancer development. 

Contrary to this, Bayer, a Roundup manufacturer, stood by their products. However, Bayer still agreed to settlements of current and future lawsuits. 

In 2018, Bayer settled lawsuits for more than $10 million. Bayer’s chief executive officer said that an extensive body of science doesn’t have sufficient evidence to link Roundup and the effects of glyphosate use to cancer development. 

Additionally, in 2021, San Francisco’s federal judge rejected a $2 billion plan to settle future claims and left thousands of cancer claims unresolved. 

“Scientific proof showing that glyphosate may cause cancer and hence is dangerous to human health keeps piling up – but the EU evaluation continues to be based mainly on the industry’s own arguments, resulting in harmful chemical substances just as glyphosate to be marketed as safe.”
Dr. Angeliki Lyssimachou, Senior Science Policy Officer

Can Glyphosate Be Absorbed Through the Skin?

Yes, glyphosate can be absorbed through the skin. However, only 0.5 to 2% of glyphosate can be absorbed this way if not washed off.

Glyphosate can quickly pass through the skin only through cuts and scrapes. Washing the glyphosate-exposed area with soap and water may stop the absorption process.

Conversely, ingested or absorbed glyphosate will pass through the body much more quickly [8]. In addition, glyphosate often leaves the body in urine and feces without being changed into another chemical.

What Does Glyphosate Do to the Brain?

A doctor pointing to scans of the brainGlyphosate causes neuroinflammation in the brain by increasing TNFα (pro-inflammatory cytokine) levels. In addition, this may induce changes seen in neurodegenerative disorders.

One of the studies shows that when glyphosate infiltrates the brain, it elevates the expression of TNFα, tumor necrosis factor, and soluble Aβ, responsible for dementia [9]. This disrupts the transcriptome, a set of all RNA transcripts, in a dose-dependent manner. 

Increased expression of TNFα and soluble Aβ may lead to a higher risk of developing cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.

Reason for the Recall

The main reason to initiate a glyphosate recall is that it is bad for human health and linked to cancer. One of the most popular weed killers, Roundup, contains large percentages of this active ingredient.

Roundup and glyphosate have been linked to cancer types such as:

Over a thousand Roundup lawsuits have been filed against Bayer, a German pharmaceutical and biotechnology company. Lawsuits against Bayer tried to prove a connection between the exposure of Roundup and the development of the NHL. 

In addition, a large corpus of studies in the last 8 years has shown that high exposure to glyphosate increases the risk of developing different forms of cancer.

What Is the Burden of Proof During a Roundup Claim?

A team of lawyers talking about the burden of proof during a roundup claim

If you are experiencing health problems because of glyphosate, an active ingredient in Roundup, you may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturing company.

Glyphosate may be responsible for your illness or a loved one’s death due to the failure to warn customers of a known risk.

To hold a Roundup company liable for your damages, you must gather sufficient evidence to prove three key elements:

  1. You will need to prove that the product you used contained a defect. This can be a defect in its makeup, design, manufacture, distribution, or marketing. Roundup might be dangerous if the company fails to place proper warnings on the product’s container. Therefore, any of the chemical’s potential effects must be visible.
  2. You must prove that the defective drug, in this case, Roundup, is the main cause of your injury or illness. Your attorney must establish a causal link between the defective medication and the health risks in question. Essentially, you must gather all documents that prove Roundup is the main cause of your illness.
  3. Finally, you must prove that you suffered damages from using Roundup. You must have proof of compensable damages related to the product, such as bills or wrongful death. Your attorney can inform you of the damages you may qualify for and help gather the necessary evidence to prove them.

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Average Settlement

The average settlement for a glyphosate lawsuit is anywhere between $5,000 and $250,000 in compensation. 

However, every lawsuit is different. The severity of related illnesses heavily influences the compensation rate, and the extent of the exposure also plays a major factor.


Does Glyphosate Cause Health Problems?

Yes, glyphosate causes health problems. Some of the more severe health problems include different forms of cancer such as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and kidney and liver health.

Does Glyphosate Cause a Leaky Gut?

Yes, glyphosate causes a leaky gut. According to Dr. Zach Bush, glyphosate damages your thin gut lining, which allows undigested food to exit your gut.

Does Glyphosate Cause Arthritis?

Yes, glyphosate causes arthritis. One of the studies suggests a link between glyphosate exposure and the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Does Glyphosate Build Up in the Body?

No, glyphosate doesn’t build up in the body. However, recent studies suggest extreme glyphosate exposure is enough for cancer development.

Do You Have a Roundup Claim?

Exposure to glyphosate and Roundup is proven to cause both short-term and long-term severe side effects in humans.

If you have experienced any health concerns from glyphosate exposure, there is still time to file a Roundup claim, provided the case meets certain criteria.

To get the most out of a Roundup claim, you should book a free lawsuit evaluation with Schmidt & Clark, LLP Roundup Attorneys/Lawyers today.



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