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Glyphosate: What Is It Used For?
(8 Side Effects Explained)

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Glyphosate is one of the most popular herbicides in today’s agriculture. It is tied to many Roundup controversies, and some claim it is closely linked to cancer development. 

Over the past eight years, more than 1000 lawsuits were filed against its use in previously mentioned glyphosate-based herbicides. Today, many law firms represent individuals who suffered from Roundup’s use. 

If you want to learn more about glyphosate, its use, and its side effects, this article is for you. Also, if you suffered consequences from Roundup and want a recognized law firm like Schmidt & Clark, to represent you, keep reading below.

Quick Summary

  • Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide used for killing grasses and weeds.
  • Most foods we consume daily, like carrots, soy products, and vegetable oil, contain glyphosate.
  • Some studies show a clear link between glyphosate exposure and the development of cancer.

What Is Glyphosate?

A person using glyphosate as herbicide on a gardenGlyphosate is one of the broad-spectrum systemic herbicides and a crop desiccant. More precisely, it is a phosphonate, an organophosphorus compound. 

Glyphosate was initially patented in the U.S. by Stauffer Chemical Co. Its original use was to clean out calcium and other mineral deposits in boilers and pipes of hot water systems [1]. 

However, it can be found in 75% of air and rain samples today [2].  

What Is Glyphosate Used For?

Glyphosate is used to kill certain grasses and weeds. Glyphosate’s sodium salt form is used for regulating ripen-specific crops and plant growth.

Glyphosate has been used in U.S. agriculture since 1974 to control the development of broadleaf plants. Since then, it has become one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. 

Most of the time, it is applied in forestry and agriculture. However, it can also be applied to gardens, lawns, and weeds in industrial areas. In addition, most of the products that contain this chemical can control aquatic plants.

Related Article: Glyphosate Lawsuit Update

How Does Glyphosate Work?

A scientist looking at how glyphosate works on plantsGlyphosate works by preventing plants from absorbing nutrients from the soil. It does that by stopping the shikimic acid pathway, which is necessary for the normal functioning of plants and some microorganisms. 

The compound is first absorbed through plant leaves before being carried by the sap stream into the plant roots. 

When it reaches the plant’s root, it starts to inhibit its ability to absorb nutrients from the soil [3]. 

It does that by blocking the activity of the enzyme called 5-enol-pyruvyl-shikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS). EPSPS is responsible for catalyzing the sixth step in the shikimic acid pathway [4].

If you inhibit a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients from the soil, in our terms, you stop it from being able to “eat and drink.” 

Finally, this will result in the plant’s death.

Is Glyphosate in Our Food?

Yes, glyphosate is in our food. It can be found everywhere in the food chain.

Some foods that contain the most glyphosate are carrots, almonds, soy products, quinoa, corn, vegetable oil, sweet potatoes, etc.

Moreover, one of the studies conducted by the Environmental Working Group(EWG) showed that most kids’ cereals contain glyphosate [5].

This is a disturbing fact, and you may want to reevaluate the consumption of cereals for your kids.

In addition, glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup, one of the glyphosate herbicides, making it highly probable that this chemical is in some of the food you will eat today.

It doesn’t matter if the food you eat is non-GMO, organic, or natural. Chances are, your food is likely to contain some percentage of glyphosate and pesticide residues.

Glyphosate Side Effects

A scientist looking at the side effects of glyphosate on plants

Some of the ways to get in contact with glyphosate are by touching, swallowing, or inhaling the chemical [6].

Short-term side effects of glyphosate and pesticide residues are:

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

The severity of side effects is based on how individuals were exposed to the chemical. Also, the duration of exposure plays a significant role too. 

Some of the more serious side effects are:

  • Leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • B-cell lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Kidney cancer
  • Bone cancer
  • Pancreatic islet cell tumors
  • Skin tumors

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Have you or a loved one been unreasonably injured by a dangerous or defective consumer product?

The primary reason glyphosate is bad for human health is its content of formulants. The most dangerous formulant is POEA, a petroleum-based oxidized molecule. 

In one of the studies, scientists concluded that exposing human cells to the components of glyphosate formulations is toxic and bad for human health [7].

Also, in the same study, scientists identified heavy metals such as chromium, arsenic, and cobalt, which are known to be toxic to humans and their endocrine system. 

Does Glyphosate Cause Cancer?

A scientist in a hazmat suit holding a bottle of glyphosateGlyphosate likely causes cancer. This is because exposing yourself to glyphosate-based herbicides or glyphosate residues increases the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The European Food Safety Authority agree that there is no sufficient evidence to support the claim that glyphosate residues cause cancer in humans.

Also, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) approved glyphosate use until 15 December 2022.

However, The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer disagrees. 

In 2015, they stated that glyphosate is probably a human carcinogen. In 2019, researchers from The University of Washington concluded that glyphosate use increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by more than 40% [8].

Related Articles:

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 glyphosate.

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?

Two scientists discussing the burden of proof during a roundup claim

If you are experiencing health problems because of the glyphosate in Roundup, you may have grounds for a product liability lawsuits 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 complication 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.

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.


What Is the Greatest Use of Glyphosate?

The greatest use of glyphosate is to kill and control broadleaf weeds and grasses. 

When Was Glyphosate Widely Used?

Glyphosate was widely used in the 20th century when it was registered for use in the U.S. in 1974.

Why Is Glyphosate Used So Much?

Glyphosate is used so much because it is one of the most effective weed killers on the market.

Do You Have a Roundup Claim?

While most Roundup lawsuits have already been settled (or are in settlement negotiations), there is still time to file a Roundup claim, provided the case meets certain criteria. 

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia after exposure to Roundup, you should book a free lawsuit evaluation at Schmidt & Clark, LLP with our Roundup Attorneys/Lawyers. 



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