The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently assessed the carcinogenicity of four organophosphate pesticides: tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon and glyphosate.
Tetrachlorvinphos and parathion were found to be ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ while malathion, diazinon and glyphosate were found to be ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’.
IARC notes that glyphosate is currently the world’s highest global production herbicide and its use is increasing with the use of genetically modified crops, engineered to be resistant to Roundup. Glyphosate is also used extensively in forestry, urban settings for weed management and home applications.
IARC notes glyphosate has been detected in air during spraying, in water and in food. Glyphosate has been detected in the blood and urine for agricultural workers, indicating absorption. Blood AMPA detection after poisoning suggests intestinal microbial metabolism in humans.
While the evidence is limited in humans, case-control studies of occupational exposure in the USA, Canada and Sweden reported increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustment for other pesticides.
Glyphosate and glyphosate formulations induced DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals and in human and animal cells in vitro.