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According to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed this week, two separate women from Oklahoma claim that they developed large B-cell lymphoma from Roundup, alleging that Monsanto failed to adequately warn about the risks associated with exposure to the popular glyphosate-based weedkiller.
The joint complaint (PDF) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma on May 15, on behalf of Esperelda Hernandez, Wanda Clarke and Clarke’s husband, Donald Shepherd, indicating that both women developed the form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma due to side effects of long-term Roundup exposure.
Clarke and Hernandez indicate that like other consumers, they were unaware of the link between Roundup and cancer until 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that glyphosate contained in the weedkiller is likely a cancer-causing agent.
“Plaintiffs maintain that Roundup and/or glyphosate is defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be marketed and sold in commerce, and lacked proper warnings and directions as to the dangers associated with its use,” the joint lawsuit states. “Plaintiffs’ injuries, like those striking thousands of similarly situated victims across the country, were avoidable.”
The case joins a growing number of Roundup lawsuits filed throughout the United States, typically involving individuals diagnosed with large B-cell lymphoma or other forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following regular and consistent exposure to Roundup as a farmer 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 a 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 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.