Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide worldwide. A new meta-analysis sheds doubts again on its harmlessness. People who were exposed to very high concentrations of glyphosate had up to 41% more risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In the USA alone, consumption of the herbicide glyphosate has increased 16-fold in the past ten years. However, we humans are not completely unaffected by its use because glyphosate accumulates in water, dust and even in the food chain.
A recent meta-analysis now attempted to use epidemiological data to find a link between consistently high exposure to glyphosate and an increased risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A total of six studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The studies were a cohort study (Agricultural Health Study; AHS) from 2018 and five case-control studies with a total of around 65,000 participants. Two studies came from the USA, two others from Sweden and one each originated in Canada and France.
The result of the meta-analysis including the AHS data from 2018 showed an increase in risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of about 41% (meta-RR = 1.41; 95% CI: 1.13-1.75). In a second analysis, the study authors included the 2005 AHS data and even found a risk increase for NHL of 45% (meta-RR = 1.45; 95% CI: 1.11-1.91).
The researchers concluded from the results of their meta-analysis that higher glyphosate exposure is most likely associated with an increased risk of NHL. This was also confirmed by further animal studies, the authors concluded.
Zhang L et al., Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence. Mutat Res 2019; doi: 10.1016/y.mrrev.2019.02.001