Monsanto is facing more than 11,200 lawsuits in the United States. Most of those lawsuits focus on the suspected link between exposure to Roundup weed killer and certain types of cancer. However, cancer isn’t the only adverse health issue associated with Monsanto’s Roundup.

Exposure to glyphosate – the weed killer’s active ingredient – is also linked to Alzheimer’s, heart disease, infertility, and respiratory issues. A new study suggests that rising rates of Autism in the United States may also be associated with exposure to the controversial pesticide.

Early Exposure to Glyphosate Linked to Increased Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Researchers at the University of California believe that exposure to certain pesticides early in life can increase the risk of developing autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In their study, the researchers focused on 38,000 patients born between 1998 and 2010 in California’s Central Valley. The Central Valley was chosen because it is a “heavily agricultural region” where pesticides are commonly sprayed.

Of the subjects, 3,000 were diagnosed with autism. The remaining 35,000 were classified as “healthy.” The study focused on prenatal and infant exposure to 11 different pesticides, including Roundup. After controlling for other possible causes, the study found a “modest increase in ASD among offspring exposed to several pesticides…before birth and during the first year of life, compared with controls.”

In other words, autism was more prominent in individuals (a) whose mothers were exposed to high levels of pesticides during pregnancy, or (b) during the early developmental years of their lives. The healthy individuals in the study had minimal exposure to glyphosate and other pesticides.

Pregnant Women, Young Children Advised to Limit Pesticide Exposure

Researchers behind the University of California study admit that their results are merely observational. As a result, they cannot concretely say that exposure to glyphosate causes autism. However, the study results are not unique. Prior studies on the link between autism and glyphosate have also yielded similar results. Observational results can be used to lay the groundwork for more clinical studies.

In the meantime, researchers advise pregnant women and young children to limit their exposure to dangerous pesticides. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that working with or being around glyphosate can lead to a host of serious health issues. The best way to reduce the potential consequences of a pesticide is to avoid exposure.

Liability for Known Health Risks

There’s a reason that Monsanto, now Bayer, has been named in more than 11,000 lawsuits across the country. Evidence suggests that the company continued to market its lucrative pesticide despite knowing that it carried serious health risks. In fact, recently unearthed documents have revealed that Monsanto intentionally led a campaign of misinformation at the expense of consumers.

State laws require companies like Monsanto to design, manufacture, and sell safe products. If a company knows that a product may be dangerous, it has an obligation to pass that information along to consumers. A company can be liable for injuries if it fails to warn about health risks. While most Roundup injury lawsuits focus on cancer, there’s nothing to say that future cases won’t address other health issues, including autism.