Roundup is a popular weed killer used by farmers, gardeners, and homeowners in more than 160 countries, including the United States. Monsanto initially developed Roundup, but Bayer now owns, creates, and distributes the chemical. Roundup is currently the most popular herbicide in the United States, and people around the world use roughly 1.4 billion pounds of Roundup every year.
The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, which has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and several other types of cancer. Because of this link, Monsanto is currently facing thousands of Roundup-related lawsuits across the United States.
If you or someone you love was exposed to Roundup and developed cancer, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against Monsanto and could potentially receive financial compensation. Keep reading to learn more about your rights and find out how the team at Atkins and Markoff can help.
The History of Roundup
Monsanto created glyphosate in 1970 to kill weeds and grasses that harm crops. Marketed by Monsanto under the name Roundup Weed Killer, glyphosate quickly became one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world.
Later, Monsanto developed genetically modified seeds that resist the detrimental effects of glyphosate, which allowed farmers to spray Roundup on their crops without damaging them. Thanks to this innovation, Roundup sales skyrocketed.
In more recent years, researchers discovered a potential link between Roundup and several forms of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, b-cell lymphoma, and leukemia. These findings have led to plenty of debate within the scientific community about the potential side effects of glyphosate.
Monsanto maintains that the bulk of scientific evidence doesn’t show a link between glyphosate exposure and cancer. However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) commissioned a study in 2015 that found glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Although this was just one study, its findings led the IARC to categorize glyphosate as a “Group 2A” substance, which designates a substance that could potentially cause cancer. Throughout 2018, the IARC has continued to support the study findings publicly, and representatives from the organization say they hope the research will lead to more studies into Roundup and its relationship to several types of cancer.
In 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen, but they have since changed their stance. Today, EPA officials maintain that the herbicide rarely causes harm to humans when used properly.
Bayer has launched its own investigation into the link between Roundup and cancer, but the company says it won’t release any official findings until 2019. Based on the conflicting opinions among government agencies, corporations, and medical professionals regarding the safety of Roundup and other products that use glyphosate, several counties have already banned the herbicide or placed more stringent restrictions on its use and labeling.
Evidence Suggests Monsanto Knew the Health Risks of Roundup
In recent years, thousands of cancer victims who were exposed to Roundup have filed suit against Monsanto. These plaintiffs and their attorneys say the company knew about Roundup’s possible link to cancer and failed to warn consumers. Monsanto denies Roundup can cause cancer or any significant harm at all. However, new findings suggest Monsanto ghostwrote two scientific papers to influence the EPA’s official reversal on Roundup’s safety.
According to plaintiffs’ attorneys who uncovered the evidence, Monsanto executives worked closely with a former EPA official to ease health concerns over Roundup within the EPA and even influence the outcome of an official investigation into the herbicide. Allegedly, this former official told Monsanto of the EPA’s plans to evaluate glyphosate well in advance, which allowed Monsanto to develop a public relations strategy in response. This strategy included writing academic papers (which were attributed to scientists) that attempted to debunk claims that Roundup might cause cancer. Monsanto then used these ghostwritten studies to persuade the EPA that glyphosate was safe for general use.
Meanwhile, attorneys also uncovered internal memos and emails from Monsanto which show that high-level employees don’t even know whether Roundup is safe.
“You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen,” Monsanto toxicologist Donna Farmer wrote in one of the emails. “We have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.”
Pending Roundup Lawsuits Continue to Mount
In January of 2016, a former school district groundskeeper named Dewayne Johnson filed a lawsuit against Monsanto alleging Roundup caused or contributed to his terminal cancer. Mr. Johnson’s attorneys cited the IARC’s labeling of glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” and a lack of compelling evidence regarding Roundup’s safety as grounds for Monsanto’s liability.
Two years later, in August 2018, a jury awarded Mr. Johnson $39 million in damages and levied $250 million in punitive damages against Monsanto. Monsanto is expected to appeal, so the outcome of the case remains uncertain.
However, since Mr. Johnson first filed suit, plaintiffs and their attorneys have brought hundreds of additional lawsuits, including class action proceedings in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging Monsanto falsely claimed glyphosate products were safe for use. This suit alleges Monsanto withheld vital information and used fraudulent documents to convince the public Roundup was harmless.
In addition, multi-district litigation (MDL) suits have been filed across the nation under U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in California’s Northern District. The first of these trials began in June 2018 in the Superior Court of the County of San Francisco. In total, experts estimate that more than 3,500 plaintiffs have filed or are in the process of filing suit against Monsanto.
Contact Atkins & Markoff to File Suit Against Monsanto
If you or a loved one has developed cancer and you believe exposure to Roundup played a role, please contact Atkins and Markoff by completing our brief online contact form or calling (405) 607-8757. Our attorneys and support staff have years of experience litigating complex product liability and wrongful death claims, and our firm has the resources needed to hold companies like Monsanto accountable for their negligent actions.
Depending on your circumstances, statutes of limitations may apply, so please reach out today to receive your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our skilled and experienced attorneys.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.