The Complete Guide to Roundup Exposure. Are you at Risk?

Written by Gene Caballero on November 27, 2018

Roundup use

The Complete Guide to Roundup Exposure

Over 1000 years ago, the great Roman Empire fell apart. Many believe that the poisoning from the lead pipes they used to transport water was a major cause of this collapse ^.

But, are we doomed to repeat that history?

For most of us, it’s not lead pipes we have to worry about. Today its the 1000’s of chemicals we are surrounded by and know almost nothing about.

In fact, it is estimated that 2000 new chemicals are introduced to the market each year. ^

Here’s the deal, one of these 1000's of chemicals in particular is in the lawns, gardens and homes of America. It is at your child’s school. Worst of all it’s even in the food you eat!

Currently there is a debate raging in courtrooms across the nation.

As of 2018, over 9,300 cases are being heard in the US, which link this household product to a range of disease and illness. ^

And it’s sold under the brand name Roundup!

There is a silent debate raging in America about the dangers of Roundup.

Are you at risk?

Is it time to ban Roundup? Your life may depend on it.


What is Roundup?

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world, Roundup is the brand name for the first glyphosate based weed killer, which was invented in 1974. The chemical glyphosate, and the Roundup formulation were invented by the company Monsanto. Though glyphosate is now sold under other names as well, Roundup is still the most common form.

How does Roundup work?

Roundup works fast, by inhibiting the function of the plants shikimic pathway. Shikimic, Japanese for star anise, is one of the many organic acids plants use to function properly. Once the shikimic acid pathway is blocked the plant starves to death, withers and dies. ^

Monsanto’s History

Monsanto has a long history of manufacturing toxic chemicals, some of which are now banned.

Their first creations were artificial vanilla (vanillin) and the artificial sweetener saccharin. Among the first of the products they manufactured to be banned was PCBs, which were federally banned from production in 1970.

This is crazy, one of their most, and perhaps famous products to be banned was DDT, or Agent Orange. DDT which had many negative health effects on people, was banned by the federal government in 1972 for causing a massive decline in the bald eagle population. ^

No doubt about it, with a track record like Monsanto’s it is very important to be watchful of the products which they produce.

As a homeowner or landscaper, it is critical that you inform yourself on Roundup and glyphosate based weed killer exposure

Here's the deal, because this is such an important issue, we have made a complete Roundup exposure guide.

This guide to Roundup exposure covers everything from how to use Roundup safely, round ups health effects, the symptoms of Roundup exposure\, what you can do about it and some of Monsanto's lawsuits. 

Who is most at risk for Roundup exposure?

Though everyone in the US is exposed to Roundup many times a year, there are a few groups of people who are most at risk for Roundup exposure.

Who is most at risk for Roundup Exposure?

Though it seems to have the most dangerous effects from chronic use, Roundup may be dangerous for homeowners too

How you can be Exposed to Roundup

Roundup Exposure occurs in 3 ways:

  1. Breathing in Glyphosate through nose or mouth
  2. Eating food treated, or tainted with Glyphosate
  3. Absorbing Glyphosate through skin

It gets worse, Monsanto also produces genetically modified seeds, almost 90% of corn, canola, and soy are genetically modified. Many of their newest seeds were modified to be “Roundup Ready”. These Roundup ready crops are specifically designed to survive heavy applications of Roundup. If you consume any products from of the major brands (i.e. Kellogs, Oreos, Lays), you are most likely exposing yourself to Roundup. ^

Seriously, Roundup is in almost everything! And case after case is exposing the ill effects Roundup is having on those that use it at home, as well as those that are eating it in their food.

In fact, a very recent case against Monsanto awarded a terminally ill man 289 Million dollars for the injuries he sustained from using Roundup. More on this latter. 

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Roundup Exposure?

There are a lot of suspected symptoms which are caused by Roundup. This graphic covers many of them, and is a great reference for you to use. Side effects can range from stomach issues, to cancer, and many more in between. Only a physician can diagnose disease, but you can do your own research and start a dialogue with your physician.

According to Jeffrey Smith, Author of Genetic Roulette The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Food:

“"Symptoms of exposure to glyphosate include eye irritation, burning eyes, blurred vision, skin rashes, burning or itchy skin, nausea, sore throat, asthma and difficulty breathing, headache, lethargy, nose bleeds, and dizziness. Glyphosate and glyphosate-containing herbicides caused genetic damage in laboratory tests with human cells, as well as in tests with laboratory animals.“

How Glyphosate Causes Disease-

Though it has long been speculated by many people, glyphosate has only recently been recognized as a probable human carcinogen. ^ This recognition was proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017.^

1. Roundup and Gut Bacteria

Simply stated, just as glyphosate blocks the shikimate pathway in plants, it disrupts a similar pathway in humans. Though shikimic acid is unique to plants and not produced in humans, glyphosate interrupts the functions of several amino acids and enzymes.

That’s not all, one of these enzymes, cytochrome P450, is crucial for proper gut function ^. This enzyme is produced by the gut microbiome, and is absolutely necessary for helping the body detoxify from xenobiotics, and environmental toxins. Over the long term, this inhibition of the cytochrome P450 can lead to a range of diseases, most commonly perhaps is celiac disease. But that is only the start.

You may think the gut microbiome is insignificant, but recently science is finding out otherwise. In fact, gut health is one of the most important aspects to maintaining a healthy body. Recently coined the “second brain” by Dr. Michael D. Gershon's, it has been found that the gut is directly linked to the brain, and cognitive well being, and that is only the start ^ .

2. Roundup Mimics Estrogen

Like many synthetic chemicals present in our modern environment, glyphosate is known to mimic estrogen. This makes glyphosate an endocrine disruptor ^. Other endocrine disrupters include DDT, atrazine, BPA, and many phyto-estrogens such as those found in soy.

It gets worse, the largest side effects causes by glyphosate as an estrogen mimicker are seen at the higher doses a lawn care professional or groundskeeper might be expected to be exposed to. ^

Though most of us don’t need to worry about endocrine disruption from glyphosate, it is absolutely critical to remember that we are exposed to a wide range of endocrine disruptors already. At all costs avoid endocrine disruptors. ^

Most people don’t know this but, Estrogen mimickers are known to cause a wide range of disease in both men and women including:

3. Glyphosate is a Xenobiotic

This is crazy but, glyphosate is defined as a Xenobiotic, meaning its a synthetic chemical, and is foreign to your body. Because your body is unfamiliar with the chemical it has a stress response. Stress can cause a range of responses from your immune system.^

One of these responses is inflammation, and chronic inflammation, along with other stress responses, can lead to cancer. ^

Roundup and Lymphoma

Sadly, Lymphoma is a a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the bodies immune system. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is perhaps the most commonly associated cancer linked to glyphosate. This is the side effect has lead to the nearly 9,300 lawsuits against Monsanto, including the one for Mr. Johnson in California.

Recent Lawsuit Links Roundup Exposure to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 

Early in June of 2018,the first day in court of Dewayne Johnson was heard. Johnson who is only 42 years of age, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma after a bad rash began to cover his body. Johnson, was a school groundskeeper that regularly used Roundup. ^

In August of 2018 he was awarded a massive settlement, with the jury concluding:

"The jury ruling that Monsanto’s weedkiller was a substantial contributing factor in causing DeWayne “Lee” Johnson’s cancer.
From US Right To Know; Monsanto Papers -Source"

This case seems to be one of many with similar claims, though at the time of this article no further decisions have been made.

Cancers Linked to Roundup Exposure

One of the many diseases that appear to be linked to Roundup is cancer. Most specifically Lymphoma, but other cancers as well. Many of the cancer risks appear to be linked to glyphosates negative impacts as a xenobiotic, but more research must be conducted. 

Cancer Rates in Argentina have Risen Since Introduction of Glyphosate

In Argentina it was found that within a decade of glyphosate and genetically modified plants being introduced to the country, childhood cancer rates tripled. The same study also noted increases in birth defects, and other disease which appeared to coincide with the introduction of glyphosate. ^

Here’s the deal, aside from WHO’s recognition of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen”, or probable cause of cancer, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also concluded that glyphosate is a genotoxic, meaning it damages genes.

Whats more, the study went on to further conclude that with increased exposure, malignant tumors were found to increase at multiple sites in laboratory animals, namely the liver and kidneys. ^

Additional Studies Linking the Carcinogenic Effects of Glyphosate

Additionally, those that are exposed to high levels of glyphosate, such as the individuals in the Who is most at risk section, may be increasing their risks for breast cancer. Several studies have found that glyphosate can act as an estrogen, which means it mimics estrogen a female sex hormone. Increased levels of estrogen are linked to a wide range of diseases, among them is cancer. ^^

Other Diseases Caused By Glyphosate

As if that were not enough, there are many other diseases which may be associated with glyphosate. Though more research is needed, there is some evidence that suggests that Roundup use may lead to ALS, Depression, Parkinsons, Heart disease and more.

Should you Seek Legal Counsel for Roundup Exposure?

If you or someone you have known has been exposed to Roundup on a regular basis, and have an illness which has been previously linked to glyphosate exposure, it is probably a good idea to speak with an attorney.

Well it’s true, there are now a many attorneys experienced with Roundup exposure cases. There are many attorneys will review your claim free of charge, and let you know if you have a case of not. Some of them will even act as your attorney pro-bono and only charge a fee once you win the case.

Lawsuits and Roundup

As stated earlier, there are currently many lawsuits being pitted against Monsanto, for their Roundup product.

As of 2018 there are 560 Federal cases against Roundup, and over 8000 cases against Monsanto in state courts.

As if that weren't enough, it seems that we are poised to see a barrage of litigation continue against Monsanto for the health effects of Roundup.

If you have been chronically exposed to Roundup, and you feel that you have a disease which may be linked to this exposure, don't hesitate to consult your physician and a lawyer.

Protect Yourself From Roundup Exposure

If you must use Roundup, it is absolutely critical that you use the proper protective gear.

Here is the thing, you must bare in mind that the negative effects of Roundup are not typically short term. Though some people may have an immediate allergic reaction, most of the alleged diseases caused by roundup happen slowly. With chronic long term use.

Protect yourself from Roundup Exposure by:

Meanwhile, the less you can expose yourself to round up the better. Ultimately you should be using a waterproof suite, that you only use for spraying Roundup, unfortunately that is not always convenient.

Herbicide Runoff, Water and Wildlife

No doubt about it, pesticide and herbicide runoff is a source of many forms of pollution. ^ Glyphosate, and many other pesticides like Atrazine are wreaking havoc on many water sources across the nation.

Pesticide runoff can contaminate surrounding streams and even groundwater supplies. Though this is mostly a concern on industrial level farms, it can still have an impact in your community if herbicides are too commonly used. ^^

If you think this is not a big deal, bare in mind that common dog poop has been known to turn local water supplies toxic. ^

But, wait there is more.

Surprisingly, Its not just fertilizers, and animal waste that lead to algea blooms. In fact, the mass die off of plants sprayed by herbicide may also contribute to algea blooms the same way as fertilizer. 

This is caused by the rapid decay and release of the nutrients held in the plants which died. ^

Protect Your Children and Pets

You see, once you have finally applied the herbicide, it is important to wait before letting pets or children in the treated area. Until glyphosate is completely dried, it can still contaminate anyone that is exposed to it.

More on the dangers of your lawn for your pets, and children.

Alternatives to Roundup

Fortunately for you, you can avoid glyphosate all together and opt for a safe alternative. In our Eco-Friendly Lawn Care Guide, we listed several weed killing alternatives. Easily the coolest of them are the weed killing flame throwers made by Red Dragon.

It doesn't stop there. Other alternatives include Summer Set All Down, several products by Bonide and others. 

In my experience, one great effective recipe I learned about earlier in the year is this:

Simply mix all the ingredients together in a sprayer, and spray on the weeds. I have found this recipe to be effective on driveways and walkways. The soap works to spread the vinegar and salt across the entire surface of the plant. Once the plant is covered it becomes dehydrated and dies.

Perhaps the most obvious of all alternatives to herbicides is old fashion wedding. Yes it is a pain, trust me I know. But there is no more effective or healthy way to get rid of those annoying unwanted weeds than hand weeding. Best of all you can burn some calories!!!!

More Eco-Friendly lawn care tips here.

Glyphosate Becomes Less Effective Overtime

As if the health, and environmental risks  laid out in this extensive guide to Roundup exposure wasn’t enough, glyphosate losses effectiveness over time. This means that more needs to be used to get the same effects, as certain plants become immune. Because of this glyphosate tolerant crops are genetically modified to withstand heavier and heavier applications of glyphosate. ^

This means that over time, as long as glyphosate is the most used herbicide, our exposure to glyphosate will only increase with time. This of course is good for Monsanto’s bottom line, but becomes increasingly harmful to our health.

What’s the Bottom Line on Roundup Exposure

Your body has been designed to handle a wide range of natural toxins, but synthetic substances are different. The cells of your body are known recognize xenobiotics as foreign, and this can cause a reaction with your body as if it were an infection.

This constant, chronic exposure can cause a range of diseases and allergic reactions. We currently are aware of several diseases which glyphosate appears to cause, but many more are likely yet to be found.

Though small amounts of glyphosate are likely safe, nothing is safe about the chronic exposure many of us endure on a daily basis, especially those in agriculture and lawn care. It is absolutely critical that we are aware of our environment, and respond accordingly. That starts with becoming informed and sharing information.

Share this article with your friends and family, so that we can all become more aware of the “lead water pipes” of our time.

Feel free to share our info graphic on your site, just be sure to give use a link to the article!

link to top Infographic


Hi, I'm Gene Caballero and I'm the co-founder of GreenPal . At GreenPal, we're helping hundreds of thousands of Americans solve one of the trickiest problems: a reliable, fast, and affordable way to get lawncare taken care of. On behalf of GreenPal, I've been featured in the Indianapolis Star, the Sacramento Bee, Entrepreneur, Inc.com, and dozens more. Please feel free to say hi on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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The Complete Guide to Roundup Exposure. Are you at Risk?

Written by Gene Caballero on November 27, 2018