A California jury delivered a $289 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the first Roundup Cancer lawsuit to have its day in court. The lawsuit alleged that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, has been on the World Health Organization list of probable human carcinogens since last year, but there has been mounting evidence since at least 2000 that the chemical causes genetic damage – information they allege Monsanto ignored and actively worked to suppress.  Another herbicide ingredient, Dicamba, has been banned in states like Arkansas for drifting into other crops and causing widespread damage, not to mention having a possible link to cancer like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to Roundup weed killer and now have cancer, you may be entitled to compensation.

What is Roundup weed killer?

As National Geographic points out, the ubiquitous Roundup is probably in your garage and on your lawn, and it’s on nearly every acre of corn or soy. Monsanto released glyphosate – commercially known as Roundup – to the public in 1974 as a weed-killer that works by blocking plant proteins essential to growth.

Marketers promote the second-most-common-weed-killer as an effective and easy-to-use solution for poison ivy, dandelions, and other problematic plants. More than 1.4 billion pounds are applied in over 160 countries each year. Its use skyrocketed in the nineties — once seeds were genetically engineered to tolerate glyphosate, allowing farmers to apply the chemical to entire fields of corn, soy, and cotton, without destroying their crops.

Is glyphosate cancer proven?

Dewayne Johnson mixed and sprayed hundreds of gallons of Roundup while working as a California public school groundskeeper. On several occasions, Johnson was accidentally doused in Roundup. Doctors diagnosed him with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. Painful lesions cover 80% of the man’s body, and on bad days, he can hardly speak. After years of chemotherapy and treatment, the father-of-two was given six months to live, but he miraculously lived to see the successful verdict. According to the lawsuit, dangers of the product were known back in the 1970s, but the company has taken “a deliberate effort to distort the truth” instead of providing the necessary warning label.

USGS hydrologist Paul Capel told National Geographic there is a “dearth of information” on what happens once glyphosate is introduced to the environment. Glyphosate was discovered in waterway samples like rivers, streams, and wastewater treatment plants in 38 states. It was also found in 70 percent of rainfall samples. However, it is not included on the US Government’s testing of food pesticide residues or the monitoring of chemicals in human blood, so there is no telling how much people are exposed to the chemical.

Much of the case against glyphosate centers on a statement put out by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015. The World Health Organization group listed glyphosate as a category one cancer risk, just under harmful activities like smoking. Their findings were based on human, animal, and cell studies. Glyphosate was found in farmworkers’ blood and urine. They found chromosomal damage to cells exposed to glyphosate in the lab. Further, they found tumor formation in some animal studies. A review by Reuters journalists claim researchers “edited out” any contradictory findings in order to make the chemical look more dangerous than science shows.

At this point, the idea that the weed killer causes cancer is a loose association at best that cannot be confirmed, nor denied. The internal studies conflict – from there being a strong Roundup cancer risk to there being a very low risk of harm. One review of glyphosate cancer studies concluded that, in the low amounts people are typically exposed to, glyphosate does not represent a public concern. However, in Dewayne Johnson’s case, working with the chemical daily exposed him to higher doses than the average citizen.

The US Environmental Protection Agency does not believe glyphosate causes cancer, but it is banned in Sri Lanka, Belgium, Denmark, El Salvador, the Netherlands, and Sweden; suspended under review in Brazil, France, and England; and greatly restricted in Argentina, Bermuda, Colombia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and Canada.

Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in Multidistrict Litigation

Despite the loss in court, Monsanto stands behind their product and adamantly denies that there is a link to cancer. They called the IARC conclusion “inconsistent with decades of ongoing comprehensive safety assessments,” and are planning to appeal the August 2018 court decision. Still, they face over 4,000 similar claims filed by plaintiffs across the country, and to date, their best answer is “We don’t know why people get [this type of cancer.]”

As of August 2018, 470 pending lawsuits were consolidated under MDL 2741 in the Northern District of California to streamline proceedings for similar claims. After a series of bellwether trials, the individual cases will be remanded back to the courts where they were filed for individual hearings.

If you or a loved one has developed cancer, which you believe may have been caused by Roundup weed killer exposure, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable attorney who is already familiar with the case. Since 2006, Showard Law Firm has helped thousands of clients  handle complex lawsuits resulting in multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts. Contact us to set up a free consultation.

Additional “Monsanto Roundup Cancer Lawsuit” Resources:

  1. USA Today – Jury Orders Monsanto To Pay $289 Million To Cancer Patient in Roundup Lawsuit, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/08/10/jury-orders-monsanto-pay-289-million-cancer-patient-roundup-lawsuit/962297002/
  2. Fortune – Monsanto Roundup Cancer Trial, http://fortune.com/2018/07/10/monsanto-roundup-cancer-trial/
  3. Business Insider – What Is Glyphosate? https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-glyphosate-monsanto-cancer-roundup-lawsuit-2018-8
  4. Reuters – Special Report: IARC Glyphosate Review, https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/who-iarc-glyphosate/
  5. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation – MDL Status Report, http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/Pending_MDL_Dockets_By_District-July-16-2018.pdf
  6. CNN – Monsanto Johnson Trial Verdict, https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/10/health/monsanto-johnson-trial-verdict/index.html
  7. National Geographic – What Do We Really Know About Roundup Weed Killer? https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/150422-glyphosate-roundup-herbicide-weeds/

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