No matter where you’ve been for the past 20 years, the chances are very good you’ve heard of the weed killer Roundup. Manufactured by Monsanto and used widely for home and agricultural use, this sprayable herbicide has become a controversial and divisive name in the field of product liability law. If you’ve developed a serious health condition after being exposed to this product, it may be time to contact a Roundup lawyer and discuss your case.
As a chemical product used on residential lawns and produce, Roundup rightly faces greater scrutiny than other products with less direct public exposure. Over the years, it has become the target of hundreds of lawsuits alleging serious bodily harm and major public health risks. As Monsanto continues to deny these claims, those afflicted continue to press forward and file lawsuits across the country.
Product liability suits have been brought against Monsanto for a litany of reasons. In addition to recovering damages for things like medical treatment, pain, and suffering, the lawsuits also seek to raise awareness of ostensible public health risks and potential fraud—perhaps reaching as far as government regulatory agencies.
Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, has generally received the “all-clear” from most major evaluations, but serious questions have been raised about the reliability of those studies and the ethics of those involved in their publication. Many of the lawsuits being filed also serve to challenge the conclusions, methods, and authorship of this research.
Roundup has been a key battleground in the ongoing war over chemical product safety. While thousands allege serious harm, some write off their concerns as an irrational “chemophobia.”³ In theory, science is a clarifying tool that cuts away opinion and reveals the unbiased truth in the data. As you’ll see, however, it’s just not that simple in practice.
In early 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shocked scientists and agricultural businesses by naming glyphosate a “probable carcinogen.”1 As it had previously been declared non-carcinogenic by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and every other agency that had evaluated it up to that point, the IARC’s statement made big waves.
Unfortunately, the IARC did not specifically study glyphosate in the context of herbicidal use. The IARC determines a chemical’s carcinogenic status based only on whether it might be able to cause cancer under some possible conditions—not with regard to specific conditions. Scientifically speaking, the fact that their study did not specifically address Roundup exposure means its conclusions can’t be used as evidence of Roundup causing cancer with normal use.
In 2000, researchers at New York Medical College evaluated Roundup’s effects across different types and degrees of exposure. They concluded that glyphosate does not build up over time in human or animal tissues, does not cause cancer, and produces no more than mild irritation even at concentrated doses.4
The NYMC study’s validity has since been called into question, noting that the review was performed quickly, and no details were released as to how the review was conducted. Another major blow would come more than a decade later, when the name of the study’s author, Gary Williams, appeared in previously sealed Monsanto Roundup communications.5
For many Americans concerned about their health and the health of their loved ones, the infighting among researchers means relatively little. For the average person, the idea that glyphosate is probably capable of causing cancer under certain conditions raises harrowing questions: What if widespread use as a herbicide does meet those conditions? What if those who say it’s safe are wrong? Is it worth the risk?
In 2017, a federal court unsealed numerous emails—some involving government regulators—that suggested Monsanto may have been ghostwriting research and attributing it to academic researchers (like Gary Williams of NYMC).6
The unsealed documents also implicated an EPA senior official in shutting down a glyphosate review by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).2 It can’t be said for certain whether “the fix is in,” but Monsanto’s clear profit motive makes any potential involvement in safety studies extremely suspicious.
So, does Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide product really cause cancer? As of 2018, the prevailing scientific opinion is still “no.” However, many independent researchers and cancer patients argue that not only is there evidence of harm, but the validity of other studies has been jeopardized by financial and political motives. For these individuals, the answer is “Yes, and it’s not just cancer.”
In addition to the people involved in the hundreds of lawsuits against Monsanto, many others say they have suffered significant harm due to the dangers of Roundup weed killer exposure. The following are just a few examples of the kinds of injuries and side-effects individuals have reported:
If you’re experiencing symptoms of these or other health conditions and believe Roundup may have played a role in their development, talk to an experienced product liability lawyer right away.
Monsanto is well familiar with legal challenges over the safety of Roundup and several of its other products. People have been reporting illnesses and injuries for decades, but litigation has exploded since 2016 when the World Health Organization (WHO) found sufficient evidence to conclude that glyphosate could probably cause cancer. When California moved to add glyphosate to the state’s official list of carcinogenic substances in 2017, Monsanto filed a case to block it. That case was rejected by the court and ultimately dismissed.7
To date, over 800 lawsuits related to Roundup have already been filed, with more on the horizon. One such case—the Roundup cancer lawsuit of Dewayne Johnson—garnered a major victory when a jury ruled that Roundup was a causal factor in the development of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Accordingly, Johnson was awarded $289 million in damages by the jury.7 This amount was later reduced to $78 million by the judge.9
In November 2018, a California Superior Court Judge ordered that Roundup lawsuit cases continue being heard. Encouraged by this and the result of Mr. Johnson’s case, an estimated 10,000 people had already retained lawyers for new cases by late 2018.8
In February 2019, the very first federal Roundup case will be heard in court. As a “bellwether” trial that will help both sides of the case determine how to handle damages, the case of Edwin Hardeman will play a huge role in the future of Roundup cancer lawsuits.10 Another major case—that of an elderly couple who developed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after decades of Roundup use—has been set to come to trial on March 18, 2019.9
All of these previous and upcoming lawsuits have set the stage for major litigation against Monsanto. From potential tampering with research to false advertising, there are a variety of concerns that have now left affected citizens like you wondering whether they may have legal recourse.11
With a professional product liability attorney, you can discuss your situation and determine whether you may have a legitimate claim against the company that can be brought to trial. By joining the thousands of others involved in the ongoing litigation, you could add to the momentum that could ultimately lead to a large class-action lawsuit and far-reaching changes.
If you believe you’ve suffered serious illnesses, injuries, or side-effects as a result of Roundup exposure, it’s time to talk to the expert product liability lawyers at Saunders & Walker P.A. Call us today at (727) 579-4500 to schedule a free consultation.