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Exposure to the herbicide glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup and similar weedkillers, may be linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma or other cancers.
STATUS OF ROUNDUP LAWSUITS: Product liability lawyers are reviewing potential class action lawsuits and individual Roundup cancer lawsuits for users diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lyphoma or other cancers following heavy exposure to Roundup.
OVERVIEW: The herbicide glyphosate has been in use since the 1970s, when Monsanto first introduced it as Roundup. Since then it has become the most widely used herbicide in the world.
Monsanto has engineered crops that are glyphosate resistant, which encourages farmers to heavily spray with the herbicide to get rid of competing weeds. However, the weeds adapt to glyphosate exposure over time, requiring farmers, agricultural workers, turf managers, landscapers and migrant field workers to spray more and more heavily, thus increasing their exposure over time.
Monsanto’s patent protection for Roundup expired in 2000, giving rise to a number of glyphosate-using competitors.
ROUNDUP CANCER PROBLEMS: For years, researchers have linked herbicides to an increased risk of cancer, specifically Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL). However, recent studies have specifically looked at the side effects of Roundup, linking glyphosate exposure to ailments suffered by many agricultural workers.
Some researchers have found signs of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma with Roundup exposure, DNA and chromosomal damage, as well as an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. Recent studies have found Roundup residue in U.S. honey, breakfast cereals and popular snacks.
In March 2015, the International Agency For Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization, published a determination in medical journal The Lancet Oncology, declaring that glyphosate was a probably carcinogen.
The IARC looked at both previous studies as well as animal testing on mice and concluded the evidence appeared to link Roundup exposure to:
- Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
- Renal Cell Carcinoma
- Pancreatic Islet Cell Tumors
- Skin Tumors
- DNA Damage
- Chromosomal Damage
The group, focused on cancer, did not look at Parkinson’s disease risks.
Monsanto has denied the IARC’s findings and regulators in the U.S. and Europe have said they do not believe Roundup is a likely human carcinogen. However, in a four-day hearing in December 2016, an advisory committee to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency questioned the agency’s methodologies in determining Roundup was safe.
In July 2017, following a number of legal battles, California added glyphosate to its list of cancer-causing chemicals, requiring Roundup and other glyphosate-based products to carry label warnings in that state. The EPA later blocked that action, saying Roundup was not allowed to add the label warnings.
If the IARC’s findings are confirmed, it could mean that millions of agricultural workers worldwide have been exposed and faced increased cancer risks from Roundup. There is no telling how many incidents of cancer could be traced back to Roundup exposure, as tests have found it in the air after spraying, but also in food and water.
In December 2017, the EPA rejected findings suggesting Roundup was linked to increased cancer risks, however the decision came amid mounting evidence that Monsanto had undue influence on some of the agency’s decisions.
The IARC has defended its findings, saying it used proven science to reach it’s conclusions.
In addition, a study published in March 2018 in Environmental Health warned that glyphosate exposure during pregnancy could increase the risk of premature birth. Preliminary reports from an ongoing study, released in May 2018, warned that Roundup formulations may be more toxic than glyphosate alone.
The first Roundup cancer trial was held in California, resulting in a $289 million verdict in August 2018. While the reward was later reduced to $78 million, the verdict holding Monsanto responsible for a case of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including punitive damages, was affirmed.
The first federal Roundup bellwether trial, and second trial overall, also resulted in a plaintiff victory, with the court ordering Monsanto and it’s parent company, Bayer, to pay the plaintiff $80 million.
Since then, Bayer has agreed to pay at least $12 billion to settle most Roundup cancer claims. However, the details of the settlement are still in the works as of May 2021.
FAILURE TO WARN ROUNDUP CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS: As a result of Monsanto’s failure to thoroughly research glyphosate or adequately warn users, the agricultural community, or the medical community, financial compensation may be available through a Roundup lawsuit.
If warnings and information about the risk of cancer from Roundup exposure were provided, many users would have chosen to use another herbicide, and some Roundup cancer diagnosis cases may have been avoided.