Does glyphosate—the world’s most heavily-used herbicide—pose serious harm to humans? Is it carcinogenic? Those issues are of both legal and scientific debate.
In this infographic article by Kayleen Schreiber and published by the Genetic Literacy Project, the author points out that in three court cases, juries have ruled that glyphosate, sold in non-generic form under the trade name Roundup and made by Monsanto (now a division of Bayer), caused the cancer of workers who applied the herbicide.
The cases did not address the issue of whether glyphosate might cause harm to humans exposed to parts per billion or parts per trillion traces of the pesticide found in foods. Regulatory agencies around the world have addressed this issue, however.
Schreiber is of the opinion that no scientists writing a reputable study would ever use the kind of absolute statements that would put a jury at ease. Hence, when jurors have even slight doubts, they frequently rule against a chemical and its manufacturer, and for an aggrieved (and often fatally ill) plaintiff, even when the evidence is slim or close to nonexistent.
Schreiber writes that even though extensive research has been done on glyphosate, there remains intense debate online and in the media about whether the herbicide poses a health threat to agricultural workers or the general public as a result of residues in food.
More than a dozen regulatory and research agencies have conducted long-term studies, reviews and assessments to determine whether glyphosate, when used as labeled, increases the risk of certain cancers. They are unanimous in one finding: There is no evidence that glyphosate poses any harm to consumers worried about trace residues in their food.