Known as the “Gold Standard” in the farming community when it comes to weed killing chemicals, Roundup was developed by Monsanto in the 1970s. Used by both farmers and homeowners in 150+ countries up until several years ago. When scientific study showed evidence that glyphosate (the main ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship product) was directly linked to high instances of of cancer; non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma being the largest culprit, Monsanto was inundated with an avalanche of lawsuits. The current number sits somewhere near 1,000 lawsuits as of April 2019. Personal Injury lawyers with Class Action experience have seen a recent rise in clients who have been diagnosed with terminal cancer after prolonged use of Roundup weed killer.
Who is Monsanto?
In 1970, Monsanto (known for the widely disparaged term “GMO” or Genetically Modified Organism; often combatted with “No GMO” labels by food manufacturers) developed the herbicide known as glyphosate. This product was intended for farmers and gardeners alike to use to kill weeds and other bothersome grasses that damaged crops and plants. The product caught on in the farming community and by 2007, the product was the most used herbicide in agricultural world. Monsanto was further welcomed into the farming industry when they introduced genetically modified seeds. These seeds were intended to be resistant to herbicides. This meant that farmers could spray their crops without losing any due to the herbicide itself.
Is there a consumer safe future in farming?
This new way of farming spread quickly among the agricultural community and crops fertilized with Roundup weed killer were quickly dubbed “Roundup Ready Crops”. At first, this was a compliment to the company, but over the course of several decades, the use of Roundup has become a safety hazard. Crops grown using Roundup have put farmers at risk. However, with the majority of crops being grown aided by use of Roundup, a consumer safe future for farming may still be a ways off. This according to consumersafety.org: “These Roundup Ready crops, including goods like corn, soybean and cotton, now account for over 270 million pounds of crops each year across millions of acres of farmland.”
While farmers weren’t expecting it, they were roped into this lifelong commitment to Roundup as word spread of the money and time saved by utilizing the chemical. Monsanto emphasized that farmers would have to continue using the chemical for the life of their crops, lest any other pesticide would kill them post-use of Roundup. This was not only bad for the farming business, but too time consuming and expensive. It left farmers no choice but to stick with Roundup for life, and they paid a vastly unfair price for it.
Farmer and agricultural workers have been “Rounding Up” terminal cancer diagnoses for years
Over the past decade, Roundup has been linked to nearly every subtype of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, and is usually terminal. Glyphosate (the main ingredient found in Roundup weed killer) is said to be the cause of this exponential increase in cancer diagnoses among farmers. Janitors, groundskeepers, and avid gardeners however, have also been subjected to the same cancer diagnoses. Most of the studies that contradict Roundup linked cancer diagnoses were conducted by Defense Hired Doctors, a subject we’ve discussed at length here on the Law Resource.
Independent medical studies conducted outside the watchful eye of government agencies have shown the link between Roundup and terminal cancer in farmers and home gardeners alike is obvious. These findings have lead to multiple countries banning the use of Roundup or importing the product.
What’s being done to curb the Roundup related cancer epidemic?
A common question now is “what’s being done about all of this?”
A 2015 study of glyphosate conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (under the World Health Organization umbrella) delved into the actual safety hazards surrounding five pesticides (not all manufactured by Monsanto, to avoid any bias in the study). These tests were conducted specifically to determine if any of the studied pesticides could be linked to cancer. When the investigation was complete, glyphosate was officially labeled as “Group 2A”; this is known to the average person as “Probably Carcinogenic to Humans”. While the use of the word “probably” is utilized, there is now a proven link between Roundup and cancer due to the Group 2A classification.
Scientists for the International Agency for Research on Cancer stuck to their guns on the evaluation and refused to back down, even when Monsanto’s defense hired doctors spoke out against the study, claiming they were unable to find a link between the agricultural workers and their use of Roundup to their cancer diagnoses. This, however, is typical behavior for a defense hired medical professional. They’re being paid a sum of money by Monsanto’s insurance company to push the safety of the Roundup line of products.
Why did the Environmental Protection Agency reverse course?
When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in, things got serious. Dating back to 1995, the Agency warned that glyphosate should’ve been labeled as what consumersafety.org refers to as a “probable human carcinogen”. This distinction should’ve forced Monsanto’s hand and the line of glyphosate-laden products should’ve come with a clear consumer warning label; much like cigarettes contain a plain-as-day Surgeon General’s warning warning consumers of the possibility of cancer should they choose to smoke.
However, in a bizarre turn of events that no one has made much sense of yet, the EPA radically reversed their decision and claimed that glyphosate is not in fact carcinogenic at all–and it poses very low risk of toxicity to humans.
Many people now believe money changed hands and Monsanto is playing dirty to avoid receiving a bad rap for a product that brought the age old industry farming into the next century. Monsanto believes they’ve done nothing because they’re saving farmers millions each year, protecting their crops. While the latter may be true, money has never been worth more than a human life. Personal Injury lawyers are seeing a rise of Roundup linked cancer claims come through their doors and for good reason: Monsanto knew they were causing irreparable harm to consumers, leading to cancer diagnoses and wrongful deaths, yet chose not to act on the information available to them for more than four decades.
Money was placed over human life
Most recently, a judge allowed documents belonging to Monsanto to be unsealed. These documents provided evidence that the Roundup manufacturer themselves were conducting “government” lead studies into the safety of their glyphosate product. These studies were shown to have been conducted during the same period of time that the EPA was conducting their study, leading many to believe that money did in fact exchange hands to keep shelves stocked with Roundup for farmers. This is because Roundup made Monsanto almost 10 billion dollars in the last year alone.
Who is eligible to join a Roundup related Class Action lawsuit?
There are several ways to qualify to be eligible for a lawsuit against Roundup manufacturer Monsanto; to do this, the affected person must meet the following criteria:
- Used Roundup weed killer and were then diagnosed with cancer (Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is the largest type diagnosed, but others may qualify as well)
- Farmers’, janitors’, gardeners’, and groundskeepers’ surviving family members also qualify to file a lawsuit against Monsanto if their loved one tragically died from cancer after the use of Roundup weed killer
Plaintiffs must retain a Board Certified lawyer that understands the complexities of a Class Action lawsuit. The legal process is lengthy and may take many years, but an experienced lawyer can ensure justice is provided to those who have suffered the outcome of Monsanto’s money grab.