Roundup is the number one herbicide, or weed killer, in the world. Since it hit the market in 1974, it has been used in 130 countries and approved for more than 100 crops. Originally licensed only for commercial use, it’s now readily available for household gardeners. Its active ingredient, glyphosate, is found in over 750 U.S. products representing more than 280 million pounds sold annually.
In 2015, a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic.” Since 2018, more and more people have come forward with lawsuits claiming glyphosate gave them cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Herman, Herman & Katz is investigating these claims and is ready to assist victims of glyphosate exposure in their search for justice.
What Is Roundup?
Roundup is a brand name for the herbicide glyphosate, which was developed by Monsanto, a name most Americans are now very familiar with due to their controversial use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Pharmaceutical powerhouse Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018 and took over Roundup production.
Not only is glyphosate extremely effective on unwanted weeds, but it also breaks down in the environment and can be used for farming methods that reduce soil erosion. It also helps control harmful pests. It comes in several forms, including solid, liquid concentrate and ready-to-spray, and can be applied using any agricultural tool or method. It is used on nearly every crop type, including soybeans, cotton, corn, fruits and vegetables.
Glyphosate destroys weeds by inhibiting the production of a plant enzyme called EPSP synthase. Without it, plants can’t produce the proteins they need to grow and are dead within days or weeks. Glyphosate’s ability to destroy all plants indiscriminately, including crops, was a problem until Monsanto introduced Roundup-Ready crops (genetically modified crops that are glyphosate-resistant). Then workers could apply Roundup to entire fields of weeds without worrying about killing crops.
As of 2018, Roundup Ready crops included 90 percent of corn, 91 percent of cotton, and 94 percent of soybeans grown in the United States.
Is Roundup Safe?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently maintains that glyphosate has “low toxicity for humans.” However, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of glyphosate, meaning the maximum amount a person can be “safely” exposed to, is markedly higher in the U.S. than in the EU (1.75mg and 0.3 per kilogram of body weight, respectively).
The EPA recommends that Roundup users follow all labeled instructions, use protective eyewear, and avoid entering sprayed fields for 12 hours. While landscapers, farmers and other agricultural workers have been exposed to large daily amounts of Roundup for many years, even short-term exposure to Roundup can be harmful. Just breathing it in can irritate your skin, eyes, nose and throat. Swallowing small amounts can burn your mouth and throat and induce vomiting and diarrhea; ingesting large amounts is often fatal.
Symptoms of glyphosate poisoning include, but are not limited to:
- Diarrhea and stomach cramps
- Nausea, vomiting and weakness/dizziness
- Headache and mouth/throat irritation
- Slow heart rate, low blood pressure and coma
- Kidney failure
If you suspect glyphosate poisoning, seek immediate medical attention. Don’t try throwing up unless poison control instructs you to do so, and if your eyes or skin have been exposed, flush with water for 15 minutes or more. Full recovery is likely if you’re treated within the first 4-6 hours.
Does Roundup Cause Cancer?
After the WHO listed glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” in 2015, researchers and regulating agencies began weighing in on the validity of this claim. The EPA declared glyphosate safe in a 2017 report and has maintained it does not cause cancer, per routine reviews of Roundup and other herbicides to watch for potential risks.
However, a 2020 multi-study review on lab animals found compelling evidence that chronic glyphosate exposure can lead to tumors in many parts of the body, including blood vessels, kidneys, skin, and liver, and induce cell mutations leading to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). One Swedish study found that those regularly exposed to glyphosate are twice as likely to develop the disease. The overall review strongly concluded that people with high exposure are 41% more likely to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than those with minimal exposure. Scientists also found fatty liver disease and adverse pregnancy neurological effects in mice given glyphosate.
These findings are enough to warrant serious concern over the dangerous possibilities of glyphosate, and so is the history and current status of glyphosate lawsuits.
The first lawsuit that went to trial against Roundup was in 2018 when Bayer purchased Monsanto. Just weeks after the $63 billion deal was signed, a California state jury awarded $289 million to Dewayne Johnson, a school groundskeeper who developed cancer and alleged that Roundup was at fault. That was only the beginning of Bayer’s inherited legal troubles.
More lawsuits were filed, primarily by groundskeepers like Johnson and private home gardeners, although that demographic is responsible for only a small part of Roundup sales.
In March of 2019, a federal court in San Francisco ruled in favor of Edwin Hardeman, a homeowner who used Roundup for 30 years before his cancer diagnosis, for $80 million.
Eight weeks later, married couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod, who had both developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, were awarded more than $2 billion by an Oakland jury. Bayer is appealing two out of three of these verdicts.
In May 2021, Bayer published a five-point plan to move past its litigation woes. The plan includes financial contingencies in case of a negative outcome in Bayer’s Supreme Court appeal of the Hardeman case. Notably, it also announced a complete phasing-out plan of glyphosate by the end of 2023. Bayer claims this move is not for safety reasons but simply a way to end the lawsuits and says it stands “fully behind the safety” of glyphosate.
Bayer has faced other Roundup trials in October and December 2021; both were a victory for the German drug corporation.
The future of Roundup lawsuits is uncertain. What remains certain is that if you or a loved one developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other health problems due to chronic glyphosate exposure, you deserve to be heard and walk away with the highest compensation possible. Herman, Herman & Katz has decades of experience winning favorable outcomes for our clients, including the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, transvaginal mesh lawsuits, and many more. We also handle other mass tort cases, including:
You don’t have to fight against Roundup on your own. Get a free, no-obligation review of your case by calling us at 844-943-7626 or contacting us online today.