Understanding the Dangers of Roundup and Ensuing Litigation
The popular herbicide, Roundup, was introduced by Monsanto in 1974 and over the course of nearly 35 years, it has grown into the world’s most popular weed killer. Roundup is widely used by farmers, homeowners and landscaping professionals, and has been widely adopted around the world.
Unfortunately, over the past few years, studies have found that the active ingredient in Roundup known as glyphosate is believed to cause several types of cancer, most notably non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. This has led to Roundup being deemed a probable carcinogen and lead to hundreds of lawsuits to be filed against Monsanto, alleging that there was a potential cover up and that consumers weren’t warned of the dangers.
Understanding the History
Monsanto developed glyphosate as an herbicide in the 1970’s in order to kill any weeds or grasses that compete with or harm crops.
Throughout the mid to late 1990’s, Monsanto introduced a number of genetically engineered crops which had their DNA altered to allow them to withstand the herbicide glyphosate. These glyphosate tolerant crops were known as Roundup Ready Crops, and the popularity of Roundup increased dramatically as farmers were able to spray the product all over without having to worry about killing their crops. These developments led to Roundup becoming the most popular herbicide in the United States by 2007, and an estimated 1.4 billion pounds of Roundup were used around the world each year. These Roundup Ready Crops include soybean, corn, alfalfa, cotton, and others, and these crops now account for millions of acres of farmland and more than 270 million pounds of crops each year. These crops have dramatically increased the use of this herbicide, for example, the amount of glyphosate applied per acre of soybeans has increased from less than 0.2 pounds to approximately 1.2 pounds between 1996 and 2006, a six-fold increase in the use of this potentially harmful chemical.
Is Roundup Dangerous?
There has been a great deal of debate about the safety or danger of Roundup. The active ingredient of glyphosate has been labeled as safe since it first become commercially available, and proponents have argued that not only is it extremely safe but also an environmentally friendly herbicide because it binds to the soil rapidly, is biodegraded easily, and has a low toxicity to animals.
However, a 2015 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, labeled glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen” as part of Group 2A, which states that there is a positive link between the chemical and cancer, but that limited evidence is available at this time. This study also cited “convincing evidence” that glyphosate caused cancer in laboratory animals, as evidenced by a number of previous studies over the years which have found birth defects in animals, neural defects, mitochondrial damage, and that the formulation of Roundup, including other inactive ingredients, helps the glyphosate penetrate cells and caused mammary and kidney tumors in rats. In the case of Roundup, the dangers may not be posed solely by the glyphosate, but by the final, formulated product that contains other chemicals which, when combined, may be more toxic than glyphosate alone.
Various studies seem to indicate that glyphosate can pose dangers to those exposed to high doses of the chemical, which may include workers who are more frequently exposed to the chemical or exposed in larger doses. One study found that exposure to glyphosate can double the risk of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma within the next ten years.
It’s important to note that the studies have not found any carcinogenic risk to people who are exposed to low doses of glyphosate via their diets or consumption of agricultural products.
The Monsanto Cover Up
While Monsanto has always adamantly refuted any hint of danger posed by Roundup, private, internal communications uncovered by recent lawsuits have brought forward a different perspective. One scientist at Monsanto wrote an email to colleagues that said, “you cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen… we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement,” before adding that the “testing on the formulations are not anywhere near the level of the active ingredient.”
Furthermore, these lawsuits have unsealed documents suggesting that Monsanto played a role in ghostwriting a number of scientific papers designed to ensure that glyphosate was found to be safe. Company executives were also found to be working with a former EPA employee as they tried to squash an investigation into glyphosate and were in turn given a heads up about the potential negative evaluation of the chemical, allowing them plenty of time to mount a full-scale public relations attack against any cancer link. Other documents show that the scientific papers ghostwritten by Monsanto were cited by the EPA as the basis for their findings that glyphosate was not a carcinogen.
This interference by Monsanto may be the main reason why there is still a lack of true understanding or consensus about the dangers posed by Roundup among the scientific community.
There is also evidence that Monsanto knew about the potential cancer risk but continued to market their herbicide as “less toxic than table salt” and “practically non-toxic,” leading to many people unknowingly exposing themselves to a probable carcinogen, and not taking adequate safety precautions due to the company’s marketing claims.
Roundup Litigation and Claims
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed over the past few years based on the development of aggressive forms of cancer like non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and these lawsuits allege that the company used false advertising claiming the products were safe to use while deliberately and knowingly concealing information to the contrary.
Due to the ever-growing number of lawsuits against Roundup, the litigation has been consolidated under a multi-district litigation (MDL), involving more than 380 lawsuits and some 3,500 plaintiffs, many of whom are agricultural workers who were unknowingly exposed to large doses of Roundup over long periods of time, and who have, in turn, been diagnosed with cancer.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is the type of cancer most closely linked to Roundup in a number of different studies around the world and is a cancer that affects the lymph nodes and other tissues. While the cancer may spread at different speeds, it is often a very aggressive form of cancer which can be more difficult to treat.
Have You Been Affected?
If you have had a history of exposure to Roundup, then you may be at an increased risk for cancer, particularly those individuals who worked with Roundup due to their line of employment. If you’ve also been diagnosed with cancer, including other forms of cancer, such as brain, breast, bladder, lung, prostate, skin, or testicular cancer, then this may have been due to earlier exposure to glyphosate and have otherwise been avoidable if you don’t have the traditional risk factors associated with the form of cancer you developed.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer and has a history of exposure to Roundup, then it is important to know your legal rights and to seek the help of an experienced law firm. Monsanto made more than $7 billion in 2017 alone thanks to Roundup and Roundup Ready Crops, while unknowing victims exposed themselves to this probable carcinogen and are now not only facing a physically and emotionally devastating battle with cancer, but also the ensuing financial hardships from medical expenses and lost wages.
You can be sure that Monsanto has a massive team of lawyers on its side to protect their business interests and profits, which is why it is crucial that you contact an experienced law firm who will fight on your behalf against a massive corporation with virtually unlimited resources.
The law firm at Fears Nachawati has a history of taking on difficult cases and is passionate in their belief that no one should have to suffer due to the negligence or misinformation of a business. If you or a loved one would like to know more about how these claims work, or to discuss the specifics of your situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to Fears Nachawati for an experienced Texas Roundup lawyer.
Having the right legal team on your side during this emotionally difficult and challenging time can mean all the difference, and we will help ensure you receive the compensation that you are entitled to as a result of exposure to this dangerous chemical.
For your free, no obligation legal consultation, please call (866) 705-7584, or visit the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.