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A Georgia man who indicates that he developed mantle cell lymophoma from exposure to Roundup has filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, alleging that the manufacturer failed to warn about the cancer risk associated with the popular weedkiller.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Christopher Northover in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, claiming that Roundup is defective, dangerous to human health and lacked proper warnings and directions about the dangers associated with glyphosate contained in the herbicide.
Northover states that he began using Roundup in approximately 1990, and regularly sprayed the weedkiller according to all safety and precautionary warnings provided by Monsanto.
As a result of glyphosate contained in Roundup, Northover indicates that he was subsequently diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, which is a form of large b-cell lymphoma that mainly affects men over 60, and only comprises about 5% of all cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) diagnosed.
Mantle cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can progress slowly, or be very aggressive, and generally forms in the mantle of the lymph node. It is considered one of the more dangerous forms of cancer, because it is hard to detect, and often is not found until it has spread to bone marrow or the gastrointestinal tract.
The case joins a growing number of Roundup lawsuits filed against Monsanto by farmers, landscapers, agricultural workers and others exposed to the weedkiller throughout the United States. Each of the plaintiffs raise similar allegations, indicate that their diagnosis with various forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) was due to the manufacturer’s reckless promotion of Roundup, which pushed greater and greater use of the chemical, without disclosing the potential health risks or providing sufficient safety instructions to minimize exposure.
Concerns about the link between Roundup and lymphoma surfaced in March 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is likely a cancer-causing agent. In particular, the IARC report links the side effects of Roundup to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Monsanto has denied that there is a link between Roundup and lymphona, calling the IARC’s findings “junk science.” However, Northover and other plaintiffs maintain that Monsanto knew about the risks for decades and has actively tried to cover up or downplay the scientific data, and that its own testing of glyphosate was insufficient.
In addition, the lawsuit warns that glyphosate may not be acting alone in increasing cancer risks, also pointing to the surfactant polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), another ingredient in Roundup, which may be acting together with glyphosate to increase cancer risks.
“Defendant knew or should have known that tests limited to Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate were insufficient to prove the safety of Roundup,” the lawsuit states. “Defendant failed to appropriately and adequately test Roundup, Roundup’s adjuvants and ‘inert’ ingredients, and/or the surfactant POEA to protect Plaintiff from Roundup. Rather than performing appropriate tests, Defendant relied upon flawed industry-supported studies designed to protect Defendant’s economic interests rather than Plaintiff and the consuming public.”
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.
Northover’s lawsuit will be consolidated with all other Roundup cases pending in the federal court system, which are 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 settlements or another resolution for the cases are not reached, each individual complaint may be remanded back to the federal courts where it was originally filed for an individual trial date.