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Americans use millions of gallons of roundup a year to help combat pesky outdoor weeds. But recently Roundup — a product originally produced by Monsanto — has been subject to a battery of lawsuits from individuals claiming that Roundup has given them cancer. Does Roundup potentially cause cancer? Here’s everything you need to know about Roundup to keep you and your family safe.
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Last modified on: May 9th, 2020
In the 1970s, Monsanto developed the chemical glyphosate as a broad-spectrum herbicide to kill tough weeds among food crops. Beginning in 1974, Monsanto marketed a product called Roundup which had glyphosate as its active ingredient. As a weed killer, Roundup became popular with landscapers, home gardeners, and parks departments as well as farmers.
Monsanto also sold glyphosate as a crop drying agent and in other products. In the 1990s, Monsanto moved on to develop genetically engineered (GE) crop seeds that could tolerate high doses of Roundup, cementing their influence on the farming segment of the economy. Monsanto’s GE seeds accounted for 90% of the genetically engineered seeds planted in 2003. Monsanto called the GE seeds “Roundup Ready.”
Monsanto is now the subject of thousands of lawsuits in both state and federal courts in which U.S. plaintiffs argue that Roundup caused their cancers and other injuries. Roundup is the subject of mass tort litigation covering more than 40,000 plaintiffs.
In 2018, Bayer acquired Monsanto in a $63 billion deal, absorbing responsibility for the string of lawsuits related to Monsanto’s Roundup product.
Cancers and other health problems are suspected to result from exposure to Roundup. In fact, animal studies have shown a link between glyphosate and cancerous tumors in mice and rats. Further, lab studies produced evidence that exposure to Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate causes harm to human DNA.
Scientists have documented the effects of Roundup and/or glyphosate on human health. The cancers they believe attributable to glyphosate ingestion include:
Studies of sick people with several specific health problems show that they have a higher degree of glyphosate in their systems than healthy people. The other health problems include:
If that weren’t enough, contact with glyphosate through uncovered skin can cause a particular kind of contact dermatitis. Known as photocontact dermatitis, glyphosate’s exposure to the sun causes an allergic skin irritation when users don’t wear protective clothing. Photocontact dermatitis causes red, swollen, and blistered skin. Plaintiffs in lawsuits against Monsanto have stated that they used the product without gloves, wearing shorts, or wearing sleeveless shirts because Monsanto said the product was safe. Monsanto marketed its product to consumers as “environmentally safe” and “biodegradable” so that it would seem more enticing to consumers for schoolyards, gardens, and golf courses.
Spraying Roundup can cause the weed killer to enter the nose, mouth, or eyes where it can cause serious health problems. Swallowing a product containing glyphosate burns the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Other serious complications include permanent liver damage and death.
Two years ago, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) stopped its plans to test the levels of glyphosate in corn syrup in the U.S. food supply. The decision was made after a year’s consultation with both the FDA and the EPA. USDA’s rationale for the change was that more efficient use of its resources dictated that the agency study honey because it contains more than 100 pesticides. Glyphosate testing will not be part of the honey tests.
Historically, EPA has ruled that glyphosate is safe; however, documents released as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit indicate collaboration between Monsanto and the EPA which has called into question their rulings on the safety of glyphosate.
Consumers of Roundup or any product containing glyphosate should always use Personal Protection Equipment (known as PPE), such as:
In addition, under no circumstances should consumers ever swallow glyphosate.
Consumers have filed numerous lawsuits against Monsanto claiming that their use of Roundup weed killer caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, b-cell lymphoma, leukemia, and other blood cancers.
You may qualify to file a Roundup lawsuit if:
Mass tort litigators may be willing to take a qualified case for a contingency fee. A contingency fee means the plaintiff pays no up-front fees and will only have to pay the lawyers if the plaintiffs win the case or the lawyers obtain a settlement in the plaintiff’s favor.