Agricultural Workers, Farmers: Exposure to Roundup May Be Increasing Cancer Risk

Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup is an extremely popular weed killer in the United States. Over 90 percent of domestic soy, corn and cotton crops, covering over 168 million acres, are genetically altered to resist glyphosate’s damaging effects. In recent years, however, the now Bayer-owned Monsanto has been the target of at least 14,000 lawsuits that allege Roundup exposure gave long-term users cancer.

Since Roundup’s release in 1974, it has gained worldwide popularity as an extremely effective weed-killing product. The active ingredient in Roundup is a phosphorus-containing compound called glyphosate, which works with inactive ingredients to kill weeds. Now, though, it has come to light that heavy exposure to glyphosate may be linked to a group of blood cancers called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Even more alarmingly, Roundup exposure may be more dangerous than glyphosate alone because of the combined toxicity of the inactive ingredients and glyphosate in its formula.

The onslaught of Roundup lawsuits against Monsanto was largely triggered by a glyphosate risk assessment published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015. In the IARC assessment, experts reviewed more than 1,000 scientific studies to determine whether glyphosate could cause cancer. As a result of the review, IARC categorized glyphosate as a Group 2A probable carcinogen, which means that there is good evidence that glyphosate is carcinogenic to humans, but not enough to say for sure. Since then, several peer-reviewed studies have also linked glyphosate exposure to NHL.

Ohio Agricultural Workers Could Be at Risk

With over 73,600 farms covering 14 million acres of land, the agriculture industry in Ohio has been robust. Unfortunately, this means that long-term Roundup exposure may be putting the health of Ohio’s agricultural workers at risk.

Individuals who may be at the highest risk of developing NHL are those who are exposed to Roundup most frequently, usually as part of their jobs.  This includes:

  • Groundskeepers
  • Herbicide applicators
  • Landscapers
  • Gardeners
  • Farmers
  • Pesticide applicators

Individuals who have sprayed Roundup on their personal properties over a long period of time are also likely at-risk for developing NHL.

Roundup Plaintiffs Have Had Promising Wins in Court

As of June 2019, there have been three Monsanto Roundup verdicts in the U.S., all of which awarded plaintiffs large sums of money:

  1. In August 2018, a California state jury awarded Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a groundskeeper who developed NHL after using it as part of his job, $289 million in damages to be paid by Monsanto. A federal judge later reduced the winnings to $78 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
  2. In March 2019, the first federal Roundup trial resulted in a jury ordering Monsanto to pay $80 million to Edwin Hardeman, who was diagnosed with NHL after using Roundup on his property for 26 years.  That verdict is being appealed.
  3. In May 2019, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay more than $2 billion in damages to married couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod, both of who were diagnosed with NHL after using Roundup on their properties for decades.

While Bayer is or likely will be appealing each verdict, these are promising wins for those who hope to see Monsanto held accountable for the harm Roundup has caused.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup, contact the attorneys at Murray & Murray Co., L.P.A. in Sandusky, Ohio today for exemplary legal service.