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A former groundskeeper has filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, alleging the work exposure to Roundup, caused him to develop NK/T-cell lymphoma from years of spraying the weedkiller without appropriate protective gear.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Paul Galvan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on January 31, indicating that Monsanto withheld information from consumers about the serious health risks associated with Roundup and glyphosate contained in the herbicide, which has been linked to a risk various subtypes of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Galvan was exposed to Roundup for years while working as a groundskeeper in various jobs around the state. He indicates that he was first exposed to the glyphosate-based weed killer in 1980, working for the California Department of General Services. He then worked as a grounskeeper for the department in various positions through 1991, usually only wearing a jeans, work shirt and work boots, since Monsanto had claimed Roundup was “safer than table salt.”
He worked for the California Department of Transportation from 1991 to 2012, using Roundup to control weed growth on the state’s highways, rest areas and land fixtures. During this time, he was given a protective suit, rubber gloves, and rubber boots, but was not provided a face mask or respirator.
In 2015, he was diagnosed with NK/T-cell lymphoma, which is a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that usually manifests in the nose, nasal cavities or tonsil areas. As a result of the cancer allegedly caused by Roundup work exposure, Galvan had to undergo several chemotherapy treatments, radiation therapy, and also underwent a lumbar puncture.
“Mr. Galvan is currently retired and receiving treatment at City of Hope-Oncology, where he is monitored every six months by his oncologist and every three months by his ear nose & throat doctor,” the lawsuit states. “During the entire time that Mr. Galvan was exposed to Roundup, he did not know that exposure to Roundup was injurious to his health or the health of others.”
The lawsuit indicates that Galvan did not know of the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma until after July 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) first published monographs of a determination that Roundup and other glyphosate herbicides are potential human carcinogens.
Monsanto now faces a growing number of similar Roundup lawsuits filed on behalf of farmers, landscapers, agricultural workers and others regularly exposed to large amounts of the weedkiller, each involving allegations that plaintiffs were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) because the manufacturer failed to provide safety warnings.
Plaintiffs maintain that they may have avoided a cancer diagnosis 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.