What is Roundup?
Roundup is one of the worlds most popular weed killers. Its active ingredient is a chemical known as glyphosate, which makes up 49% of the formulation.
Roundup is manufactured by the chemical giant Monsanto, which introduced the herbicide in 1974. At one point, Monsanto touted Roundup as being “[one of] the most environmentally friendly herbicides in the history of agriculture.” This marketing effort, combined with the effectiveness in killing almost any plant it touched, lead to Roundup saturating the vast majority of American farmland. Recently, a branch of the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, made the determination that the main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was a possible carcinogen. This determination was made by citing research linking the herbicide to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Roundup is still being used commercially and in homes around the world. However, in recent years, there have been several landmark trials that have affected its reputation.
Types of Cancer Associated With Roundup Use
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
- Follicular lymphoma
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) / small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL)
- Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)
- Marginal zone lymphomas
- Burkitt lymphoma
- Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia)
- Hairy cell leukemia
Who’s at risk?
Exposure to Roundup can occur through inhalation and/or direct skin contact. Some of those who are at the highest risk of Roundup induced cancer are gardeners, farm workers, and forestry industry employees who are generally exposed for long periods of time.
What is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) is a form of cancer that starts in the lymphocyte cells. These cells are found in lymph nodes, bone marrow, and the spleen. There are two types of lymphoma:
- Hodgkin lymphoma (also known as Hodgkin disease) is named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first described it
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
These are two entirely different forms of cancer that behave and spread differently. Treatment for the two lymphoma types is distinct, so determining the exact type of lymphoma is important. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma may present almost anywhere because lymphocyte cells are found in many places in the body. The main concentration of these cells lies in the following areas:
- Lymph nodes: small organs found in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, neck and arms and groin
- Spleen: an organ in the lower left side of the torso
- Thymus: a small organ behind the breastbone and in front of the heart
- Adenoids and tonsils: located in the back of the throat
- Digestive tract: located in the mid torso
- Bone marrow: the soft tissue located inside of bones
Does Roundup cause cancer?
Numerous peer-reviewed clinical studies have shown Roundup may cause non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. More recently, scientists at the International Agency for Research on Cancer showed a link between Roundup exposure and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. However, chemical giant Monsanto adamantly denies any claims that their weed killer causes cancer.
It should be noted Monsanto’s denial continues to be met with skepticism from the scientific community. Jess Rowland, Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is alleged to have a questionable relationship with the chemical corporation. Rowland has been accused of helping Monsanto “kill” cancer studies associated with Roundup. Many Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma sufferers across the country have opted to file suit against Monsanto.
Are there more conditions linked to Roundup?
In 2017, Al-Jazeera Online reported on a newfound link between glyphosate and severe liver damage in rats. The story is quoted as saying, “Scientists from King’s College London, whose findings were published in the journal, Nature, earlier this month, said their tests used cutting-edge technology to demonstrate that “extremely low doses” of the herbicide administered to rats through their drinking water had caused non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) over a two-year period.”
This study is just one in a long line of scientific findings outlining the destructive nature of glyphosate. In another study, covered by Reuters, Roundup was linked to even more potentially deadly side effects. The story stated, “Heavy use of the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers, according to a new study.”
The study referenced is a peer-reviewed study published in the scientific journal, Entropy. It stated that Roundup “..is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.” All in all, Roundup has been linked to a score of harmful conditions, including liver damage and cell system damage.
Have others experienced Roundup related loss?
Hundreds of people have filed suit against Roundup’s manufacturer Monsanto. These suits claim the chemical giant has been negligent in producing and marketing a potentially deadly chemical to them and their families. In 2016, CBS News reported on a woman, who used Roundup once a week in order to kill weeds on her one-acre property. The story states,
“Some people are landscapers, some people are migrant farm workers, some people are farmers. What everyone has in common is that they all used Roundup and they all have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”
A number of men and women diagnosed with Roundup induced cancer have taken action against Monsanto in an attempt to hold the international chemical company responsible for their injuries.
How much Roundup is really out there?
Each year over 250 million pounds of Roundup (glyphosate) is sprayed on food crops, backyards, driveways, gardens and a host of other locations. That’s more than 1 lb. of the chemical for every adult in America. This means that even if a person wanted to avoid contact with glyphosate, they may not be able to. Some studies have even pointed to a link between glyphosate and a rise in Celiacs disease (inability to properly digest gluten), due to food crops being saturated in the chemical.
Monsanto has gone as far as producing genetically engineered and Roundup resistant crop seeds marketed as Roundup Resistant® seeds. This raises concerns that entire crops are now being coated in a chemical linked to life-threatening cancers.
Recent Roundup Lawsuits
DeWayne Johnson v. Monsanto Company
In 2018, the first Roundup lawsuit went to trial in California. DeWayne Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. He worked as a school groundskeeper for a number of years, spraying Roundup 20 to 30 times per year.
By the time he was diagnosed, he was crippled with lesions that covered nearly 80 percent of his body. His wife ended up having to work two full-time jobs to support their family.
A 12-person jury unanimously awarded Johnson with nearly $300 million in damages, though a judge later reduced the amount to $78 million. This set the precedent for many more Roundup lawsuits–nearly 8,000 more.
Ed Hardeman vs. Monsanto Company
In April 2019, during the first federal bellwether case, Ed Hardeman was awarded nearly $80 million on damages by a California jury that found Monsanto liable for his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Over the course of his lifetime, Hardeman used roughly 6,000 lbs. of Roundup on his 56-acre property in Santa Rosa, Calif. He received his cancer diagnosis in 2015 and has been suffering both emotionally and physically ever since.
Monsanto initially tried to split the trial into two phases; one to determine if Roundup caused Hardeman’s cancer, and the other to determine if Monsanto was liable for damages. The strategy backfired, as the five female and one male jury found Monsanto liable for failure to warn, negligence, and design defect.
Closing statements from the first phase concluded that Monsanto knew about the dangers of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).
Alva and Alberta Pilliod vs. Monsanto Company
The most recent Roundup lawsuit resulted in the eighth largest settlement in United States history, according to Bloomberg.
In 2019, Alva and Alberta Pilliod were awarded $2 billion in damages for both of their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnoses as a result of using significant amounts of Roundup for 35 years. The Pilliod’s only stopped using Roundup in 2017, after Alva saw a commercial that linked the pesticide to cancer.
By that time, the couple had already been separately diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma– Alva in 2011, Alberta in 2015. Over the course of using the product, they used it without taking safety precautions, often spraying it on their clothing.
Dr. Dennis Weisenburger of the City of Hope National Medical Center, said Roundup was the most significant factor causing their cancer after reviewing over 2,000 of the Pilliod’s medical records. The jury agreed, and Monsanto (recently acquired by Bayer AG), was ordered to pay $1 billion to each of the Pilliod’s as well as $55 million in medical bills, pain and suffering.
Do I Have a Roundup Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has worked with Roundup and were subsequently diagnosed with cancer, you are not alone. To learn how the lawyers at Johnson // Becker can help you and your family, please contact us for a Free Case Evaluation. We would be honored to speak with you and will respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.