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Roundup Lawsuit: Your Questions Answered

Brandon Evans   |  August 30, 2018   |  

The popular weed killer, Roundup, is receiving much attention from the media as of late. This is due to the recent trial held in San Francisco for a man who has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer after years of using the popular herbicide.

So why are people suing Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup? How safe is this popular herbicide? We’ll answer some of the commonly asked questions about this class action lawsuit.

What is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is one of the active ingredients found in Roundup and it’s what helps kill broadleaf plants and grasses.  It is the ingredient creating all the safety concerns.

Every year, approximately 300 million pounds of glyphosate is sprayed, making it the most used herbicide in the world.

Why are Lawsuits Being Filed Against Monsanto?

Thousands of people have sued Monsanto, including farmers, gardeners, and groundskeepers, alleging that glyphosate may have caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer.

The lawsuits state that Monsanto knew that exposure to glyphosate could increase the risk of developing cancer, but they failed to warn consumers about this risk on the product labels. They also believe that Monsanto tried to cover up Roundup’s health risks by misinforming government agencies and the public about its safety.

Is There Proof that Monsanto Tried to Mislead the Government?

During trial, hundreds of pages of internal emails and documents were released showing that some collusion may have happened.

One email, in particular, showed that Jess Rowland, a former manager of the EPA pesticide division, allegedly discussed how to preview the safety review of glyphosate.

There are other documents suggesting that employees at Monsanto recommended that they “ghostwrite” sections of the EPA’s final report on glyphosate to reduce costs. These specific sections examine how people are exposed to glyphosate and whether or not it can damage cell genes, or ultimately cause cancer.

What makes it worse is there were other internal letters claiming that EPA scientists were trying to do their jobs by properly assessing the chemical but were pressured by Rowland and other officials to do otherwise.

Does Roundup Cause Cancer?

Scientists and health agencies from around the world have alleged that exposure to glyphosate may increase the risk of developing cancer.  There have been several studies, but perhaps the most influential study came from the World Health Organization’s International Association of Research on Cancer (IARC). Based on the IARC’s results, the scientists classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen or cause of cancer.

The chemical industry has come back however with several attacks on these studies, even claiming that some of these scientific and health organizations produce “junk science”.

Is Glyphosate in the Food We Eat?

While many of us think that glyphosate only affects those in direct contact with the herbicide, recent studies have shown that it is also in many of the breakfast foods and cereals that our families eat.

A study by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found trace amounts of glyphosate in oats, granolas, and snack bars. Thirty-one out of 45 products tested had higher levels of glyphosate than what some scientists consider safe for children. However, Monsanto disputes this and states that glyphosate is safe and has a more than 40-year history of safe use.

A key reason glyphosate residue persist in many foods has to do with food production. Glyphosate is sprayed directly on many crops that have been genetically engineered to tolerate this herbicide, such as corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and canola. This means that the product kills weeds but the crop is immune to glyphosate. Quaker and Monsanto insist the levels of glyphosate found in foods such as Cheerios, Quaker Oats, and Lucky Charms, are in such low levels that it does not pose any health risks. This issue is hotly debated.

What are the Current Verdicts and Settlements?

As many as 8,000 lawsuits await trial in state and federal courts. These lawsuits are consolidated in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) in re: Roundup Products Liability.

The first Roundup lawsuit, filed by Dewayne Johnson, went to trial in San Francisco and resulted in a $289 million verdict. Johnson was a former groundskeeper for a San Francisco Bay Area school and used Roundup regularly for his job. His attorneys said that on two occasions he even got soaked with the herbicide, one being most recently in 2012, and soon after developed a rash. Johnson contacted the company but was allegedly never informed of the herbicide’s cancer risk. In 2014, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

What Is Monsanto’s Response to the Lawsuits?

Soon after the $289 million verdict, Monsanto announced that they would continue to fight the thousands of lawsuits against them.

As far as adding a warning label to the popular herbicide, we’ll probably only see it because Monsanto was forced to add one. While California did attempt to require that cancer warnings be published on Roundup labels, they were sued by Monsanto and a federal judge blocked the state from requiring the warning label.

Think You Have a Case? Contact Our Attorneys Today.

If you’ve been exposed to the popular herbicide “Roundup” and have developed lymphatic cancer, such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, within the last decade, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against Monsanto. This lawsuit could help you recover compensation for past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and even lost wages.

Contact Riddle & Brantley today for your free, no-obligation case review. Our team of product liability attorneys are available to assist and will thoroughly evaluate your claim to see if you have a case.