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Following years of spraying Roundup on his property to control poison ivy, a Florida man indicates that he was left with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to allegations raised in a failure to warn lawsuit filed against Monsanto.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by James Mitchell in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida on December 7, indicating that the manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks associated with Roundup exposure and its links to cancer.
Mitchell indicates that he used Roundup from about 1986 to 2014, spraying it to control poison ivy on his property in Quincy, Florida. According to the lawsuit he sprayed about every week from April to November, and wore no gloves, face masks or protective gear due to the lack of safety warnings provided by Monsanto. Mitchell often sprayed Roundup directly above his head to fight poison ivy that had grown into his trees, indicating that he and other consumers had been told by Monsanto that Roundup is as safe as table salt.
In December 2012, Mitchell was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from Roundup, as well as bladder cancer and a gastrointestinal stromal tumor earlier this year.
“Monsanto assured the public that Roundup was harmless. In order to prove this, Monsanto has championed falsified data and has attacked legitimate studies that revealed Roundup’s dangers,” the lawsuit states. “Monsanto has led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup is safe.”
Mitchell indicates that he and other agricultural workers were unaware of the link between Roundup and cancer until last year, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that glyphosate contained in Roundup is likely a cancer-causing agent. In particular, the IARC report linked the side effects of Roundup to an increased risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
The case joins a growing number of Roundup lawsuits filed throughout the United States in recent months, typically involving individuals diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following regular and consistent exposure to Roundup as a farm or agricultural worker. The plaintiffs allege that the manufacturer recklessly promoted Roundup and pushed greater and greater use of the chemical, without disclosing the potential health risks.
A recent U.S. Geological Survey on glyphosate usage nationwide found that an estimated 2.6 billion pounds of the herbicide has been sprayed on America’s agricultural land over the two decades since the mid-1990s, when Monsanto introduced “Roundup Ready” crops that are designed to survive being sprayed with glyphosate, killing the weeds but not the crops.
The lawsuits over Roundup allege that plaintiffs may have avoided a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other cancers if they had been warned about the Roundup risks for farmers, landscapers and others in the agricultural industry, as safety precautions could have been taken or other products could have been used to control the growth of weeds.
Roundup cases filed at the federal level are being transferred to the recently established MDL, or multidistrict litigation. Those complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
Following coordinated proceedings before Judge Chhabria, if Roundup cancer settlements or another resolution for the cases are not reached, those complaints may be remanded back to the federal courts where they were originally filed for individual trial dates.