Roundup® is the brand name of a systemic, broad-spectrum glyphosate-based herbicide originally produced by the Monsanto Company, which Bayer AG acquired in 2018. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide used to kill broadleaf plants and grasses. First marketed in 1974, glyphosate quickly boomed in popularity for its versatile use on agricultural, commercial, and privately-owned properties. Glyphosate is the main chemical component in Roundup and the leading factor behind the global success of the product.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (I.A.R.C.) declared that glyphosate was a Group 2A agent with potential cancer risks for humans and animals. Studies concluded that short term exposure to glyphosate can cause irritation to the nose and throat if ingested, or burns from direct contact. More concerning, the I.A.R.C. studies also suggested that prolonged exposure to glyphosate-based products can lead to serious health complications, including the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (“NHL”)—a form of cancer. That said, recent studies and recommendations regarding the toxicity level of glyphosate have been inconsistent in years past.
In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) posted a report stating that glyphosate does not cause cancer as previously suspected. The agency, highly regarded for its commitment to environmental protection, claimed glyphosate was not a public health risk. Suspiciously, the E.P.A. took down their statement claiming glyphosate was safe shortly after it was issued.
The I.A.R.C., a division of the World Health Organization, remains the only organization to provide proof regarding the harmful effects of Roundup and other glyphosate-based products. Notwithstanding, scientific-based concerns over the connection between glyphosate and adverse health complications—including NHL—have led to over 18,000 individual lawsuits throughout the country alleging personal injuries due to the Roundup product. Moreover, several countries have already taken steps to ban or place heavy restrictions on the use of glyphosate products: Austria is set to become the first country in the European Union to ban glyphosate as of January 2020; France and Germany have made plans to ban glyphosate as of 2023; and Italy, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic have all placed heavy restrictions on glyphosate use.
Effects of Glyphosate Use
NHL is a cancer that attacks the lymphatic system of the body, which is the internal network that allows you to fight disease. NHL causes tumors to develop and spread throughout the lymphatic system. If undetected early on, these lymphomas can spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver and the brain, reducing the number of treatment options available. The forms of NHL implicated in Roundup exposure include, but are not limited to:
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL)
- Follicular lymphoma
- Diffuse mantle cell lymphoma
- Burkitt lymphoma
- Mantle cell lymphoma
- Hairy cell leukemia
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
- Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
Lawsuits filed against Monsanto not only focus on the damages sustained from exposure to Roundup, but also the lack of health warnings issued by the company. These claims allege that Monsanto has known for decades that Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides were harmful but never warned the public and continued to market them as “safe.”
Some lawsuits claim that Monsanto may have done more than just assert that their Roundup was non-toxic. Public litigation documents published in April 2019 demonstrate that Monsanto attempted to discredit studies proving that Roundup could cause cancer. Reports also suggest that Monsanto may have collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) to provide misinformation in an attempt to maintain astronomical sales.
There have already been victories in the fight against Roundup:
- $2 billion was awarded to a couple in California who used Roundup on their property for decades. Both individuals were diagnosed with NHL.
- $289 million was awarded to Dewayne Johnson, who was a groundskeeper using the Roundup product while working for the San Francisco school district. Mr. Johnson was diagnosed with stage IV NHL and was the first to go to trial against Monsanto.
- $80 million was awarded to Edward Hardeman, who used Roundup product to eradicate poison oak and weeds on his property for over 25 years before being diagnosed with NHL.
Do You Have a Roundup Case?
Individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer or other serious health conditions after exposure to Roundup may have a viable claim. Studies show that even minimal exposure can increase a person’s chance of developing life-threatening NHL.
Individuals with the highest risk for illness caused by the glyphosate in Roundup include:
- Agricultural workers
- Commercial spray applicators
- Homeowners who used the product for residential use
- Gardeners and landscapers