Landmark Roundup Trial Ends in $289 Million Award to Plaintiff
August 13, 2018 – Monsanto took a massive hit last week following a California jury’s decision to award a former groundskeeper just shy of $290 million in a landmark case alleging the company’s Roundup weed killer causes cancer. The jurors ruled that Roundup and Ranger Pro products presented a “substantial danger” to the now 46-year-old Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using the spray for more than 2 years as a groundskeeper in San Francisco.
The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, the common name for N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine, which kills weeds by blocking proteins essential to plant growth. Glyphosate is the second most widely used lawn and garden weed killer in America, but its primary use is in agriculture. Nearly all the corn, soy and cotton now grown in the U.S. is treated with glyphosate. Roundup was introduced by Monsanto in 1974, and is currently used in over 160 countries, with more than 1.4 billion pounds applied per year, according to National Geographic.
What’s the Problem?
Glyphosate has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization (WHO), which found “convincing evidence” that the chemical caused cancer in laboratory animals. A study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found “limited evidence” linking glyphosate exposures to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, in humans. Roundup has also made made headlines for its widespread use on genetically modified seeds and research that links the herbicide to antibiotics resistance and hormone disruption.
What are “Roundup Ready” Crops?
Roundup Ready Crops (also known as “RR crops” or “glyphosate tolerant crops”) are genetically engineered crops that have had their DNA altered to withstand the effects of glyphosate, according to SourceWatch. Deregulated RR crops in the U.S. include corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, sugar beets and alfalfa.
The benefit of Roundup Ready crops is that a farmer can spray the entire crop with glyphosate, killing only the weeds and leaving the crop alive. However, there is concern that heavy use of Roundup and glyphosate tolerant crops will lead to the development of glyphosate resistant weeds (“superweeds”), as well as severe health consequences for exposed humans and animals.
Monsanto GMO Herbicide Doubles Cancer Risk: Study
Glyphosate has been found to double the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and increase the risk of a related cancer, multiple myeloma, according to an IARC report published in July 2015. Researchers concluded that glyphosate is definitely carcinogenic to animals in laboratory studies, and that human exposure is linked to an risk of blood cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The report confirmed IARC’s previous meta-analysis, which evaluated several studies and found that occupational exposure to glyphosate doubles the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The July 2015 report also noted earlier research which determined that farm workers’ glyphosate exposure increases their risk of multiple myeloma by 70-100%.
Types of Cancer Linked to Roundup
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Large Diffuse B-cell Lymphoma
- Follicular Lymphoma
- Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
- Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma
- Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)
- Primary Central Nervous System (CNS) Lymphoma
Roundup Cancer Trial Moves Forward
July 12, 2018 – Hundreds of lawsuits alleging Roundup caused cancer advanced a crucial step forward on Thursday when a judge in San Francisco Superior Court ruled that a cancer victim could present expert testimony linking the herbicide to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said evidence linking glyphosate was “rather weak”; however, he also affirmed that the opinions of 3 experts linking the weed killer to cancer were relevant, and not tantamount to “junk science.”
California Adds Glyphosate to List of Carcinogens
In response to IARC’s findings, California’s Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) announced that it would classify glyphosate as a carcinogenic chemical under Proposition 65, which requires the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Sales of glyphosate are not restricted by the enhanced Cal/EPA classification, but including the chemical in Prop 65 means that businesses are required to provide a ‘clear and reasonable’ health warning on Roundup and other glyphosate-containing products.
In 1996, New York Attorney General Dennis Vacco filed a lawsuit against Monsanto over its use of “false and misleading advertising” about Roundup. That case ended with the company agreeing to stop referring to the herbicide as “biodegradable,” and to remove ads claiming that Roundup was “safer than table salt,” “practically nontoxic,” and “stayed where you put it.”
In the two decades since the advent of Roundup Ready crops and their virtual monopoly on the agricultural marketplace, multiple studies have found significant levels of glyphosate in the environment and humans:
In Foods – An April 2013 study published in Entropy found that glyphosate residues in the main foods of the Western diet – sugar, wheat, and GMO corn and soy – block essential enzymes in mammals which manifests slowly over time, as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.
In Humans – Another study (PDF) published in June 2013 found traces of glyphosate in the urine samples of people in 18 European countries. “The results give a first idea to which extent adults in 18 European countries are exposed to Glyphosate,” the researchers said. “Diet seems to be the main sources of exposure.”
In Humans and Animals – In January 2014, German and Egyptian researchers found that GMO-fed livestock had much higher levels of glyphosate in their urine and organs compared to animals that ate non-GMO or organic feed, which translated into higher levels of the chemical in humans.
Glyphosate Vs. Dicamba
Even more toxic than glyphosate is dicamba, a new herbicide designed for use on Monsanto’s next generation of biotech crops. According to the Pesticide Management Education Program (PMEP) at Cornell University, dicamba is toxic by ingestion, inhalation and dermal exposure. Signs and symptoms of dicamba toxicity include:
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Muscle weakness
- Slowed heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Central nervous system effects (victim may become excited or depressed)
- Benzoic acid in the urine
- Cyanosis (bluing of the skin and gums)
- Exhaustion following repeated muscle spasms
Human Glyphosate Levels Increased 500% Since 1993, Study Finds
October 31, 2017 – A new study has found that humans levels of glyphosate have more than doubled since 1993. The researchers found that detectable amounts of glyphosate increased from about 0.2 micrograms per liter to .44 micrograms per liter between 2014 and 2016. The daily limit set by the EPA is 1.75 milligrams per kilogram.
Monsanto Lobbyists Banned from EU Parliament
October 10, 2017 – Lobbyists working for Monsanto have been barred from entering the European parliament after the company refused to attend a hearing regarding allegations of regulatory interference into Roundup safety studies. This is the first time Members of European Parliament (MEPs) have implemented new rules granting them power to block access to companies that ignore a summons to attend parliamentary inquiries or hearings, according to The Guardian.
France to Phase Out Glyphosate Over 5 Years
October 6, 2017 – French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced that France will phase out glyphosate over the next 5 years until the herbicide is banned outright in 2022. Most French farmers have reacted in favor of the proposal, with Christiane Lambert, head of France’s largest farm union, FNSEA, saying it meant the government was “starting to understand that a full ban would be impossible to apply in France.”
Roundup Labels to Carry Cancer Warning in California
June 27, 2017 – Glyphosate will be added to California’s list of known human carcinogens effective July 7, according to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). The designation of glyphosate under Proposition 65 will proceed following an unsuccessful attempt by Monsanto to block the listing in trial court and after requests for stay were denied by a state appellate court and California’s Supreme Court.
Monsanto Sued for Mislabeling Roundup
June 22, 2017 – A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Wisconsin federal court alleges that Monsanto falsely and misleading promoted Roundup as targeting an enzyme that is not found in humans or pets. The complaint is unique in that it focuses on the promotion, marketing and sale of Roundup, rather than physical injuries alleged from the herbicide. Scotts Miracle-Gro Co, which also markets Roundup products, is named as a co-defendant in the case.
Roundup Labels ‘Misleading’, Lawsuit Finds
April 13, 2017 – A lawsuit has been filed against Monsanto by a pair of nonprofit organizations who claim the company is misleading the public by claiming that Roundup targets an enzyme found in plants, but not in people or pets. The complaint was filed jointly by Beyond Pesticides and Organic Consumers Association (OCA) on behalf of the general public in Washington D.C. under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act.
40 Californians File Roundup Cancer Lawsuit
April 5, 2017 – Forty California residents have filed a products liability lawsuit against the Monsanto Company alleging that Roundup weedkiller caused them to develop “non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers, other permanent defects and permanent bodily impairments.” The complaint, filed last month in Alameda Superior Court, alleges that Monsanto claims Roundup is safe to use and poses no unreasonable health risk to humans or the environment.
EPA Official Accused of Working with Monsanto to Hide Roundup / Cancer Link
March 20, 2017 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official who was in charge of evaluating the cancer risk with Roundup weed killer allegedly bragged to a Monsanto executive that he “deserved a medal” if he could kill an investigation into glyphosate. The boast was allegedly made in April 2015 by Jess Rowland, a former manager of EPA’s pesticide division who has become a central figure in more than 20 Roundup lawsuits filed against Monsanto.
Study Links Glyphosate to Autism
March 8, 2017 – A new study looked at elevated levels of glyphosate in a set of triplets, two of whom had autism. After the children’s diet was changed to include organic foods only, their glyphosate levels dropped sharply and their functioning improved significantly. In addition to linking glyphosate with autism, the study demonstrated a potential mechanism by which the herbicide may cause brain damage, as people are exposed to high amounts of glyphosate when they eat genetically modified foods which are engineered to resist it.
Plaintiffs Lawyers Accuse EPA of Colluding with Monsanto in Downplaying Roundup Cancer Risk
February 18, 2017 – A new court filing made on behalf of plaintiffs in Roundup cancer lawsuits alleges that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tried to protect Monsanto’s interests and unfairly aided the agrichemical industry. The filing includes correspondences from a longtime EPA scientist who accuses Jess Rowland, former head of the agency’s cancer assessment on glyphosate, of playing “your political conniving games with the science” to favor pesticide manufacturers like Monsanto.
Judge Says Roundup Labels May Carry Cancer Warning in California
January 30, 2017 – Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan has ruled that state health officials can require Monsanto to include a cancer warning on Roundup labels. If California carries out the proposal, it would be the first state in the U.S. to require such strict labeling for the widely-used herbicide. Judge Kapetan still must issue a formal decision, which she said would come soon.
Roundup Linked to Liver Disease, Study Finds
January 10, 2017 – Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer, causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in laboratory rats at very low doses, according to a study published Monday in Scientific Reports. The study is unique in that it is the first to show a causative link between the consumption of Roundup and a serious disease, according to the researchers.
EPA Panel to Investigate Roundup Cancer Link
December 13, 2016 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a three-day series of meetings this week dedicated to examining evidence linking Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller to cancer, according to The Hill. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA) will meet first on Tuesday to review a set of scientific issues regarding EPA’s evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate. The goal of the meetings is to determine how the agency should interpret relevant data and how this information should translate into a “carcinogen risk” classification for glyphosate.
Glyphosate Linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS, Study Finds
July 19, 2016 – A new study has found that glyphosate alters DNA function, increasing the risk for a number of serious, potentially life-threatening diseases including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Other serious diseases
According to the researchers, glyphosate acts as a glycine analogue that incorporates into peptides during protein synthesis. When this occurs, the herbicide changes proteins that depend on conserved glycine to function.
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Glyphosate in Quaker Oats Oatmeal
May 2, 2016 – A lawsuit seeking class action certification has been filed against Quaker Oats on behalf of consumers in New York and California after tests revealed glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — in some of the company’s oatmeal. While the level of glyphosate detected in the oatmeal falls below the limit set by federal regulators for human consumption, the lawsuit accuses Quaker of false advertising because it markets the oatmeal as “100% natural,” according to the New York Times.
“There is nothing unlawful about Quaker Oats’ growing and processing methods,” the complaint alleges. “What is unlawful is Quaker’s claim that Quaker Oats is something that it is not in order to capitalize on growing consumer demand for healthful, natural products.”
EPA Pulls Report Saying Glyphosate is Safe
May 3, 2016 – EPA officials announced today that it accidentally released documents concluding that glyphosate is “not likely” to cause cancer in humans, according to the Des Moines Register. The revoked documents are from an October 2015 report by the EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee (PDF) which determined that “epidemiological studies in humans showed no association between glyphosate exposure” and 15 types of cancers. However, the agency said it doesn’t expect to finish its review of glyphosate until later this year.
Roundup Birth Defects
Glyphosate has been found to cause birth defects, tumors and reproductive disorders in laboratory animals, as well as severe declines in beneficial insects. In June 2011, a report compiled by a team of international scientists revealed that studies conducted as early as the 1980s by biotech and agricultural corporations including Monsanto found that glyphosate causes birth defects in laboratory animals, in many cases at dilutions far lower than concentrations used in agricultural and even home garden settings.
Roundup has also been found to disrupt the Vitamin A (retinoic acid) signaling pathway during fetal development. Babies born to mothers living within 1 kilometer of fields sprayed with glyphosate herbicide were more than twice as likely to have birth defects, according to a study from Paraguay. Defects linked to Roundup / glyphosate include:
- Neural Tube Defects
- Heart Defects
- Imperforate Anus
- Micro Penis
- Growth Hormone Deficiency
Roundup Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in California
May 9, 2016 – The widow of California farmer Jack McCall has filed a wrongful death lawsuit (PDF) against Monsanto alleging that the company purposely downplayed the cancer risk associated with Roundup. According to the complaint, McCall died from anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) — a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma — after using Roundup for nearly 30 years. The lawsuit seeks wrongful death and punitive damages, alleging that Monsanto designed a dangerous and defective product, committed gross negligence, and defrauded millions of farmers about the safety of Roundup.
Lawsuits Mount Against Monsanto Over Roundup Cancer Link
Plaintiffs across the U.S. have filed lawsuits against Monsanto alleging the company exposed them to an “unreasonably dangerous” chemical, and that the herbicide’s labeling carries no warning that it is a probable human carcinogen. Complaints further allege that Monsanto has known for at least 30 years that glyphosate is hazardous to human health, and that the company has engaged in a “prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe,” according to a recent lawsuit filed in Delaware. Attorneys involved in the litigation have speculated that the claims will probably eventually be pursued collaboratively as mass tort actions.
Do I Have a Roundup Cancer Lawsuit?
The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Roundup lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cancer cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was diagnosed with any form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) after using or being exposed to Roundup, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.