In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a research arm of World Health Organization (WHO), ranked glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. IARC does no original scientific studies. Regulatory authorities and other experts around the world determined that IARC’s opinion was based on misrepresenting and misinterpreting study data. The scientist leading the IARC review reportedly knew of fresh data showing no cancer-link, but never mentioned nor took it into account.
Built around the IARC opinion, the first non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) lawsuit was filed in 2016 and a jury awarded a $289 million in 2018. Awards have been reduced and there have been no settlements for the initial lawsuit or any filed since. Out of the 57,130 Iowa and North Carolina pesticide applicators evaluated in an Agricultural Health Study funded by the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 44,932 reported using glyphosate. Regardless of number of years and days used, no associations of glyphosate with NHL cancer was found.
Two percent of the general population will be diagnosed with NHL. Based on a meta-analysis including data from AHS and 5 case-control studies, IARC and others announced that glyphosate causes a 41% increase rate of NHL. In reality, the study showed a 0.8% increase of NHL for the highest exposure group. In other words, 2.8% of that group, rather than the average 2%, will be diagnosed with NHL. That 0.8 increase is 41% of 2.
The Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues conclusion was that case-controlled studies and the overall meta-analysis showed “…some evidence of a positive association between glyphosate exposure and risk of NHL..However, it is notable that the AHS, which is the only cohort study and is large and of high quality, found no evidence of association at any exposure level.”