Roundup Non-Hodgkin Cancer Update. I am providing this overview of the herbicide Roundup, including its history, the link to causing cancer, and the lawsuits that have been filed against the manufacturers of this deadly compound.
What is Roundup?
Roundup is a widely used herbicide, best known for its deadly efficiency in killing weeds and grasses that compete with the farming of agricultural crops. The key ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, which was discovered and developed by Monsanto, an agricultural giant, in the 1970s.
Roundup was first introduced by Monsanto in 1974. Bayer bought Monsanto for $66 billion in 2018 and still manufactures Roundup. There are several versions of Roundup, with different effects depending on the formulation.
What is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide and crop desiccant. It is the active ingredient in many weed-killing products, most notably Roundup. Glyphosate’s effectiveness and widespread use have made it one of the most commonly used herbicides worldwide.
Glyphosate is a synthetic compound that is organophosphorus-based. It works by inhibiting an enzyme called 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase, which is essential for plants in synthesizing certain amino acids vital for their growth, making it highly efficient as a weed killer.
Glyphosate is a powerful nonselective weed killer that kills most plants on contact within days or weeks. Roundup is used in agriculture, by the forestry industry, for weed control in urban and residential areas for controlling weeds in gardens, pavements, and railway tracks.
Since its introduction, Roundup has become a blockbuster herbicide worldwide due to its effectiveness and wide-ranging action against many types of weeds.
The sales of Roundup increased further with the development of genetically modified (GM) crops that are resistant to glyphosate, allowing farmers to spray the herbicide widely without damaging their crops. This led to the widespread adoption of Roundup Ready crops, including soybeans, corn, and cotton, that have been genetically altered to withstand glyphosate.
Roundup and Glyphosate under the gun
Roundup and glyphosate have been scrutinized heavily, particularly concerning their environmental impact and health risks to humans. One of the major concerns is the link between glyphosate exposure and an increased risk of cancer, especially non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.
This concern gained more attention after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015, mainly based on evidence associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
However, other regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), have stated that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.
This IARC classification led to legal battles, with thousands of lawsuits filed against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) by injured folks claiming that their cancer was caused by exposure to Roundup. The debates and litigation regarding the safety of glyphosate and Roundup continue, with various countries and regions adopting different regulatory stances regarding their use.
Glyphosate Environmental Impact
Ecosystem concerns have been raised about glyphosate’s impact on biodiversity and its potential to harm non-target plant species and aquatic environments.
The environmental impact of glyphosate, the active ingredient in many herbicides has been the subject of various studies. Here’s a summary of the evidence highlighting how glyphosate can damage the environment.
Impact on Soil Microorganisms. Intensive use of glyphosate has been shown to potentially cause harmful effects on soil microorganisms. This can lead to changes in soil fertility and ecological imbalances. The disruption of microbial communities in the soil can adversely affect plant growth and soil health.
Low Bioaccumulation but Environmental Presence. While glyphosate has low bioaccumulation in the environment, its increased use and production have led to its direct release into the environment. The presence of glyphosate in environmental settings is primarily due to its widespread application, and even though it degrades relatively quickly, its persistent use raises concerns about continuous exposure.
Effects on Aquatic Environments. The presence of glyphosate in the environment, particularly in aquatic ecosystems, can disrupt food chains and impact aquatic life. This can have cascading effects on biodiversity and the balance of these ecosystems.
Reduced Crop Yields and Quality. A significant portion of the glyphosate applied does not serve its intended purpose and ends up in the environment. This can result in reduced crop yields, lower quality agricultural products, and contribute to water pollution. Such impacts can threaten both human and animal life.
Presence in Human Populations. A study in Sri Lanka found traces of glyphosate in the urine of non-farmers living in areas where chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology was not endemic. This indicates the widespread presence of glyphosate in the environment, potentially affecting human populations even in areas not directly associated with glyphosate use.
These findings illustrate the complex and multifaceted impact of glyphosate on the environment. While it’s a highly effective herbicide, its widespread use raises significant environmental concerns, from soil health and aquatic ecosystems to its unintended presence in human populations.
Resistance concerns have been raised about the widespread use of glyphosate which has led to the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds, creating challenges for its effectiveness and agricultural sustainability.
Glyphosate resistance is a phenomenon where certain weed species develop the ability to survive applications of glyphosate. This resistance is a significant issue in agriculture and environmental management. Here’s an overview of glyphosate resistance.
Genetic Mutation. Resistance often develops through genetic mutations in weed species that allow them to survive glyphosate applications.
Natural Selection. In fields where glyphosate is used extensively, those plants that naturally have or develop resistance survive and reproduce, passing on the resistant traits to their offspring.
Overuse and Misuse. The overuse or incorrect use of glyphosate accelerates this process, leading to the rapid spread of resistance within plant populations.
Consequences of Glyphosate Resistance
Increased Herbicide Use. Farmers may need to use larger quantities of glyphosate or switch to more potent herbicides to control resistant weeds.
Use of Multiple Herbicides. There’s often a need to use additional or alternative herbicides, which can have environmental and economic implications.
Impact on Crop Yields. Resistant weeds can compete with crops for resources, potentially reducing yields.
Biodiversity Loss. The need to use stronger or more herbicides can have adverse effects on non-target plants and wildlife, reducing biodiversity.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits
Recently a San Diego, California jury has found that Bayer and Monsanto should pay $7 million in compensatory damages, and an additional $325 million in punitive damages for failing to warn about the risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma from Roundup.
Bayer and Monsanto have lost the third Roundup Cancer trial back to back, and they have been hammered with a massive punitive damages award. The jury sent the message that these companies will face substantial liability if they fail to settle the thousands of Roundup lawsuits that are pending and continue to wind their way through the U.S. courts.
In San Diego, Michael Dennis, a former land surveyor filed the lawsuit claiming he developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma after using Roundup on lawns and gardens for 35 years.
This trial involved similar claims in more than 120,000 product liability lawsuits filed against Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary. These lawsuits allege that the companies failed to adequately warn about the link between Roundup and NHL, and sold a defectively designed weedkiller.
Although Bayer agreed to pay $10 billion for Roundup settlements, Dennis’s complaint is one of several thousand unresolved claims involving plaintiffs who rejected settlement offers, as well as new claims that continue to be filed as former users develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In early October 2023, a St. Louis jury awarded $1.25 million in damages from Roundup, for a plaintiff who developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma after using the weedkiller as part of a neighborhood restoration project.
That was followed only a few weeks later by a $175 million Roundup verdict in Philadelphia, involving a man who developed cancer after two decades of using the weed killer in his garden.
Bayer has said it intends to appeal the verdict.
Most of the U.S. cases are currently pending in Missouri state court, where Monsanto’s U.S. headquarters are located and it remains a major employer.
In addition to the state court litigation, hundreds of claims are currently centralized in the federal court system in the Northern District of California, where several waves of claims are being prepared for remand to different federal district courts for trial.
A deluge of additional trials is expected to begin in the coming months unless Bayer and Monsanto increase settlement offers to many of the holdouts.
Roundup Settlements will not be limited to only U.S. Citizens
Bayer and Monsanto have announced that future Roundup settlements can include non-citizen injured individuals, including migrant farm workers who developed cancer after exposure to the weed killer while working in the U.S.
This agreement was reached after Monsanto tried to disqualify a migrant farmworker from receiving a Roundup settlement, even though she developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after years of exposure to the weedkiller.
According to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the agreement came as part of a discrimination lawsuit settlement reached with Elvira Reyes-Hernandez.
Reyes-Hernandez filed the discrimination complaint after she was excluded from participating in a Roundup settlement program since she wasn’t a U.S. citizen.
After getting hammered with a series of massive verdicts in 2018 and 2019, Bayer agreed to pay many billions in Roundup settlements to settle individual cancer injury lawsuits. However, the manufacturer required that any non-U.S. citizens be disqualified from the settlements.
In January 2023, Reyes-Hernandez filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Virginia, alleging that Monsanto improperly discriminated against her by refusing to allow her claim to be settled as part of an established settlement program. Reyes-Hernandez was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after years of working with the herbicide on tree farms, which initially qualified her claim, Monsanto then excluded her from the settlement because she was not a U.S. citizen.
Ms. Reyes-Hernandez accepted the settlement offer—in exchange for releasing her claims—and signed on,” the lawsuit states. “Then the Defendants reneged. It turns out that Monsanto and Bayer were restricting the Settlement Program to United States citizens only.”
Her lawsuit indicates that this settlement posture would block many of those who were most severely impacted by Roundup exposure from seeking to settle the claims through settlement. The settling of the discrimination lawsuit allows other farmworkers who are not U.S. citizens to obtain financial compensation for non-Hodgkins lymphoma caused by Roundup.
“Fieldworkers as a group are exposed to Roundup at a high rate and yet are much less likely to have insurance to pay for their medical bills if they get sick and usually don’t have access to an attorney to pursue a settlement,” Katy Youker, director of the Economic Justice Project at the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in the press release. “This agreement is a significant benefit that will insure that non-citizens can participate in future Roundup settlements.”
Contact Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm
If you or a loved one used Roundup and developed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, contact the attorneys at Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm to learn more about your legal rights. You can speak with one of our representatives by calling 214-390-3189, or by filling out the case evaluation form on this page.
Our law firm’s principal office is in Dallas and we have offices in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr Shezad Malik Law Firm represents clients in dangerous drug and dangerous medical device lawsuits nationwide.
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