Katie Kangas, DVM
Issue: Volume 68 Fall 2022
Online Publication Date: 6 October 2022
Glyphosate is a chemical compound initially patented as an herbicide in 1974 and sold as the main ingredient in herbicides under the trade name Roundup®, with intended use for agriculture and farming. Its use promoted the creation of genetically modified plants to allow crops to withstand this chemical, providing a more labor- and cost-efficient method for weed control.
Glyphosate usage has increased dramatically over the past several decades, extending beyond agricultural use to numerous applications, including weed control in forestry and trees, aquatic ponds, and commercial and residential lawns and gardens. The exposure rates for animals and humans are exponentially increasing through food, water, inhalation, and direct contact in the environment (skin exposure).
Cumulative research reveals that glyphosate and glyphosatebased herbicides (GBHs) have adverse effects on the microbiome, nutrient levels, and cellular health. Increasing evidence shows this chemical compound to be cytotoxic and genotoxic, with carcinogenic properties. Additional known effects of glyphosate include endocrine disruption, destruction of the gut lining (and other mucosal barriers in the body), interference with microbiota, and increased antibiotic resistance. Glyphosate also impacts the health of animals and humans by significantly decreasing the nutritive value of plants and crops.
Studies show exponentially increased exposure in humans in the United States over the past 2 decades. New information shows even higher levels of glyphosate exposure in companion animals. Veterinary studies reveal links between certain cancers (in dogs) and environmental exposure to glyphosates. More studies need to be done to determine the direct and indirect impacts of this widespread herbicide on degenerative disease, chronic disease, and cancers in humans and animals.