August 29, 2017 Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the U.S. Millions of consumers have used the weed killer in their home gardens and lawns since it was introduced in 1976. Millions more acres of farmland have been doused in Roundup to control weeds and other pests. Roundup is a potent herbicide that can cause unwanted health problems in people exposed to the product. People who come in contact with Roundup on a regular basis, including those who work with the product at their job, are risk for developing these serious health conditions. Roundup has been linked to a form of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was classified as a probable carcinogen by a division of the World Health Organization in 2015. Lawsuits are now being filed against the maker of the herbicide, Monsanto Corporation, by those who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma and its subtypes.
Lawsuits are now being filed against the maker of the popular herbicide Roundup. The active chemical ingredient in Roundup — glyphosate — has been deemed “probably cancerous” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and numerous studies have been published linking the herbicide to a form of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
People who were exposed to Roundup and developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma are filing lawsuits against the maker of the product, chemical and seed conglomerate Monsanto Corporation.
Roundup lawsuits allege Monsanto designed a defective product and failed to warn about its risks. Lawyers and attorneys are actively filing cases on behalf of claimants nationwide.
Roundup lawsuits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in October 2016. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled to coordinate all federally filed Roundup lawsuits in the Northern District of California with U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria presiding.
At the time of the Panel’s ruling, there were 21 lawsuits pending in various district courts and 16 potential tag-along cases. As of April 17, 2017, there were nearly 60 cases pending in the litigation.
MDLs are created when a number of plaintiffs allege similar claims against a corporation. Plaintiffs in Roundup lawsuits all claim to have developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to the weed killer Roundup.
Consolidating similar cases allows attorneys and lawyers to pool their resources during the discovery process and saves the court system time and money. It can also help encourage settlement negotiations.
MDLs are different from class action lawsuits in that cases are filed individually, not by one plaintiff on behalf of many. Jury awards are also handed down individually should the cases head to trial, and settlements are doled out based on individual injuries, not divided equally among the plaintiffs.
Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the world, manufactured by Monsanto Corporation. Roundup is prolific in the environment and a significant part of today’s modern farming — it is sprayed on millions of acres of farmland in the United States each year alone.
Roundup was introduced in the late 1970s and sold to consumers as a weed and grass killer. In 1996, Monsanto introduced Roundup Ready seeds and the weedkiller’s use became even more widespread.
Roundup Ready seeds are genetically modified seeds designed in the lab to be resistant to Roundup. This means farmers can spray Roundup directly onto their crops and their crops won’t die. Monsanto has introduced Roundup Ready soybean, corn, cotton, alfalfa, canola and sugar beet seeds since 1996.
Other than Roundup Ready plants, Roundup kills virtually all plants and grasses and is used not only on farmland, but in commercial nurseries, municipal golf courses and in home gardens all across America.
The herbicide is pervasive in the environment and potentially harmful to those who come in contact with it. Studies have linked Roundup to the blood cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as its subtypes, and has been deemed a probable carcinogen by a division of the World Health Organization.
People who work with the herbicide on a regular basis are possibly most at risk for Roundup exposure and could be at an increased risk for adverse side effects.
Lawsuits are now being filed against Monsanto claiming the company failed to warn about Roundup’s potential cancer risks.
Roundup is used to control weeds and grasses, whether it be in the home garden or on a large-scale agricultural operation. Roundup has been used for decades by consumers and became a staple on U.S. farms beginning in the late 1990s after the introduction of Roundup Ready seeds.
There are over a dozen Roundup Weed & Grass Killer products available on the market to use at home. Monsanto recommends using its Roundup products:
Roundup is used by farmers to control crop-killing weeds and other pests in their fields. The potent herbicide can kill crops if it comes in contact with them, so Monsanto designed Roundup Ready seeds to be resistant to Roundup. This meant farmers could spray Roundup directly onto Roundup Ready crops during the growing period and only the weeds would die.
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the use of Roundup Ready crops and other GMOs (genetically modified organisms). There aren’t many long-term studies to show GMOs are safe and healthy for humans and the environment.
GMOs like Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds have also led to an exponential increase in the use of pesticides across the United States. One study estimates an additional 527 million pounds of pesticides have been used on America’s farmlands since the introduction of herbicide-resistant seed technology.
Roundup is used to control weeds in other areas besides home gardens and farms. The herbicide is also used by commercial nurseries and golf courses, for example, to keep weeds in check and clear unwanted growth.
Roundup’s widespread use and the limited long-term safety studies conducted on the product have led to increased scrutiny over the product. Residue from Roundup has been found in air, water and soil samples taken by the U.S. Geological Survey. It has also been found in food samples tested by independent laboratories.
Glyphosate, the main chemical ingredient in Roundup, was determined to be “probably carcinogenic to humans” in March 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization.
IARC used published reports in peer-reviewed scientific literature to link Roundup exposure to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and several other blood cancers, including B-cell lymphoma, a subtype of NHL.
Roundup can remain in the soil for days or months after it is applied, raising concerns about buildup of the herbicide in the environment. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, Roundup can stay in soil for up to 6 months depending on the climate and soil type.
Monsanto’s own studies have shown Roundup can remain in soil for several days to several months. In the 1990s, Monsanto took soil samples from sites around the U.S. and found half-lives ranging from less than 2 days to more than 140 days.
Some people who were exposed to Roundup have developed a form of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. NHL is serious and can be fatal.
The cancer begins in the body’s lymphatic system, part of the circulatory system and an important part of the immune system. NHL begins in the body’s white blood cells and can affect either the B cells or T cells (both types of white blood cells). The most common forms of NHL begin in the B cells.
The survival rate for NHL can depend on the type and stage of cancer, as well as the treatment options available to each individual patient.
In 2016, more than 72,000 new cases of NHL were expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. and about 20,000 people were expected to die from the cancer the same year.
There are many different signs and symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and they often mimic those of other diseases. It is important to speak with your doctor about any persistent signs or symptoms that worry you.
Symptoms of NHL can include:
There have been a number of studies published analyzing the safety of Roundup. A number of these studies found an increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma when exposed to Roundup and many also found a dose-dependent relationship between exposure and the development of NHL. This means the more Roundup people were exposed to, the more their risk for developing NHL increased.
A study published in the journal Leukemia & Lymphoma in 2002 pooled results from two case-control studies and found people exposed to glyphosate were at a 3-fold increased risk of developing NHL or a rarer subtype called hairy cell leukemia.
Another study published in 2003 in the BMJ’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine looked at data from three case-control studies conducted in the Midwest by the National Cancer Institute in the 1980s. Study authors found that men who lived or worked on a farm as adults had a 10% increased risk for developing NHL compared to men who did not. They also found exposure to Roundup doubled the men’s risks for developing NHL.
In 2008, a Swedish study published in the International Journal of Cancer found Roundup exposure increased a person’s risk for developing NHL by more than double and increased a person’s risk for developing the NHL subtype B-cell lymphoma by 87%.
A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found people exposed to Roundup at work had a 2-fold increased risk of developing B-cell lymphoma.
A Monsanto-sponsored study even found a 40% increase in risk for B-cell lymphoma and a 30% increase in risk for NHL in people exposed to Roundup. The study was published in 2016 in the Journal of Environmental Sciences and Health. The authors pointed out that no “causal relationship” has been found between Roundup exposure and NHL. This means they did not necessarily prove it was Roundup that caused the increased risk in NHL.
Roundup has been sprayed on millions of acres of farmland since Roundup Ready seeds were introduced in 1996. It has also been used by millions of American consumers since it hit the market in 1976.
The use of Roundup has increased 10-fold in the past 20 years and its residues are winding up in our drinking water, our air and our food. Virtually everyone is at risk for Roundup exposure, but those who apply Roundup on agricultural fields may be at the greatest risk.
Roundup exposure puts people at an increased risk for side effects, including cancer. Exposure to Roundup can occur in several different ways, including inhalation, direct contact with skin, and ingestion.
People spraying Roundup onto farm fields or even in the home garden are at risk of breathing in some of the product. Anyone in the area of application may also be at risk for breathing in, or inhaling, the herbicide. This could include people who live near farms.
Air samples taken in Mississippi and Iowa during the 2007 and 2008 growing seasons tested positive for Roundup, according to a U.S. Geological Survey, meaning people and communities near farms could be exposed.
The skin absorbs Roundup when it comes in contact with it, so people applying the herbicide should avoid direct contact.
People who spray Roundup, are in the area when it is being sprayed, or who handle contaminated soil are at risk for Roundup exposure through the skin. This could include people who live near farms, as well.
Roundup is showing up in food and water samples, which means people could be ingesting Roundup on a daily basis without knowing it.
The U.S. Geological Survey found Roundup residue in streams and surface water, and residue has been found in honey, soy sauce, infant formula and even breast milk.
Roundup Ready seeds are used to make a large majority of processed foods in America, including salad dressings, cereal, coffee creamer, cookies and much, much more. It’s no surprise Monsanto chose to create genetically modified versions of our country’s most-used crops.
Considering the pervasiveness of Roundup in the environment, it is reasonable to assume that virtually everyone is at risk for Roundup exposure. However, people who work in occupations that handle Roundup directly or indirectly may be most at risk.
Some of these occupations include:
People who live near farms that apply Roundup may also be at risk for exposure. Roundup residues have been found in the air and drinking water near agricultural fields, potentially putting whole communities at risk.
Monsanto has developed a reputation over the years of being a greedy corporation that is willing to step on the little guy to earn record profits.
It is ranked the 4th-most-hated company in America by the Harris Poll’s 2017 Reputation Quotient, sitting at the bottom of the list with the likes of Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs and Big Oil’s Halliburton.
The company’s bad reputation is owed in part to its fierce patent-protection tactics, going after small, hard-working farmers who dare violate its Roundup Ready patents.
Monsanto spends billions of dollars developing its GMO seeds and it protects its products against intellectual property theft with patents. It sends investigators into the field to find farmers who may be infringing on its patents and goes after those farmers who are caught with GMO crops they didn’t pay for. Monsanto is notorious for using intimidation tactics to scare farmers into compliance.
Monsanto controls a huge portion of the world’s seed supply and has an effective stranglehold on the country’s food production.
If Monsanto weren’t powerful enough already, German-based health care giant Bayer announced a takeover of Monsanto in 2016. Once the merger is cleared by federal regulators, it will create the largest seed and pesticide company in the world, controlling about one-quarter of the world’s seed and pesticide supply.
Leukemia and Lymphoma. “Exposure to pesticides as risk factor for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and hairy cell leukemia: pooled analysis of two Swedish case-control studies.” Hardell L et al. (May 2002). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12148884
BMJ Occupational & Environmental Medicine. “Integrative assessment of multiple pesticides as risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among men.” AJ De Roos et al. (March 2003). Retrieved from http://oem.bmj.com/content/60/9/e11
International Journal of Cancer. “Pesticide exposure as risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma including histopathological subgroup analysis.” Mikael Eriksson et al. (July 2008). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.23589/full
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. “Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Occupational Exposure to Agricultural Pesticide Chemical Groups and Active Ingredients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Leah Schinasi et al. (April 2014). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4025008/
Journal of Environmental Sciences and Health. “Systematic review and meta-analysis of glyphosate exposure and risk of lymphohematopoietic cancers.” Ellen T. Chang and Elizabeth Delzell. (June 2016). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4866614/
Consumer Reports. “Is there glyphosate in your diet?” (March 19, 2015). Retrieved from http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/03/glyphosate-in-your-diet/index.htm
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. “Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere.” Feng-chih Chang et al. (January 2011). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/etc.431/full
Environmental Sciences Europe. “Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. — the first sixteen years.” Charles M. Benbrook. (June 2012). Retrieved from https://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/2190-4715-24-24
Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. “MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District.” (April 17, 2017). Retrieved from http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/Pending_MDL_Dockets_By_District-April-17-2017.pdf
Monstanto Corporation. “Glyphosate Half-Life in Soil. (November 2014). retrieved from http://www.monsanto.com/glyphosate/documents/glyphosate-half-life-in-soil.pdf
Harris Poll 2017 Reputation Quotient Ratings. Retrieved from http://www.theharrispoll.com/reputation-quotient/
Reuters. “Fears over Roundup herbicide residues prompt private testing.” Carey Gillam. (April 10, 2015) Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/us-food-agriculture-glyphosate-idUSKBN0N029H20150410
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Roundup lawsuit claims and settlements page updated on August 29, 2017