Lawsuits filed against Monsanto claim that the famous weed killer Roundup might cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a lethal type of cancer. The company allegedly downplayed the risk and failed to warn the public about the toxic effects of their product. If you are a gardener, farmer, agricultural laborer or any other type of professional who may have been exposed to glyphosate, you may be eligible to receive a monetary compensation.
What Is Roundup?
Roundup is the most widely-used grass and weed killer worldwide, earning Monsanto $4.8 billion in revenue every year. Its main ingredient, glyphosate, kills the weeds by destroying some enzymes that are essential to the plants’ growth. Since at least 250 million pounds of this herbicide are sprayed yearly on crops, parks, gardens, lawns and driveways, several types of genetically modified (GMO) plants have been engineered to resist its killing power. Monsanto itself engineered these GMO to be able to sell their seeds to farmers at a very steep price. The combined effect of the weed-killing effects of Roundup and GMOs intrinsic robustness produces superior crops with high yields.
Why is this product dangerous?
Over the last few years, several studies showed that exposure to Roundup’s main ingredient glyphosate could increase the risk of cancer, especially a lethal type of leukemia known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The herbicide has been associated with several other types of lymphoma and leukemias though, and it is even more dangerous since the manufacturer always downplayed its risks.
Professional workers who are constantly exposed to this substance, such as gardeners, farmers or even just park employees and landscapers, never knew they had to protect themselves from breathing it while they did their jobs.
Glyphosate is rapidly biodegradable, but its residues can reach alarming levels in food and water since it keeps accumulating in human and animal tissues and can contaminate water. In 2016, The Alliance for Natural Health USA found high concentrations of this chemical compound in common food products such as eggs, coffee creamer and breakfast cereals. Newer commercial formulations of Roundup often contain adjuvants which further increase glyphosate’s carcinogenicity and toxicity, and have never been taken into account by international regulatory agencies.
Roundup litigations filed in court
Several law firms across the United States started filing Roundup lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs who want to hold Monsanto responsible for the harmful side effects of the controversial herbicide. Attorneys allege that thousands of people may have developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other types of cancer after glyphosate exposure.
On February 1, 2016, plaintiff Edward Hardeman filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Case No. 3:16-cv-00525), claiming he was diagnosed with cancer after decades of exposure to the dangerous chemical. The man used Roundup to eradicate poison oak and weed in his property in Sonoma Country. On April 13, 2016, a federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit, opening the doors to a storm of new litigations that quickly flooded courts all over the country.
Roundup and Monsanto’s Cover-Up
In May 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pulled offline a report where glyphosate was reported to be “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” Together with another 13 documents, the 86-pages report disappeared after just a few hours since it was published, and the agency later claimed it withdrew it since it was still unfinished, although the word “FINAL” was clearly printed on every single page.
On March 14, 2017, according to documents included in a case filed in a federal court in San Francisco, the whole research was allegedly ghostwritten by Monsanto itself. The company tried to conceal Roundup’s dangerousness in what really looked like a giant conspiracy. Some senior officers in the EPA, however, disagreed with the allegedly false safety assessment and quickly removed the document from the website. On the other hand, in one of its previous reports, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified the herbicide as “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A),” stemming a large controversy.
Roundup Class Action Lawsuit
The Roundup Class Action Lawsuit (Case No: BC 578 942) is older than the MDL, and was filed in April 2015 in Los Angeles County, California. The accusations against Monsanto include failure to warn about Roundup’s dangers, false advertisement, and purposely downplaying its risks to make it appear harmless to human health. The company kept claiming that the enzymes disrupted by the herbicide are not found in pets and people.
Roundup Multidistrict Litigation is centralized
After dozens of lawsuits have been filed in less than six months, in October 2016, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated them in the MDL No. 2741 — In RE: Roundup Products Liability MDL. The cases have been centralized in the Northern District of California, overseen by Honorable Judge Vince Chhabria. As of June 2018, more than 450 cases are currently pending in the St. Louis, Missouri state court together with 56 federal lawsuits.
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