More than 13,000 people have filed lawsuits against Monsanto/Bayer in the United States, alleging they developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to the glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup. The most heavily-used agricultural chemical in the history of the world, Americans have applied around 2 million tons of glyphosate since it was introduced in 1974. The herbicide has worked its way through the food chain and is now found in nearly every common U.S. food. Such ubiquity has led some Americans to wonder whether they should be concerned about Roundup cancer risks.
As the debate rages in courtrooms, it is also could be on the minds of farmers, gardeners, and others who used Roundup for years. If you were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup, contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review.
Research Draws Different Conclusions about Glyphosate and Cancer
Studies suggest that glyphosate is everywhere and that all of us have likely been exposed. According to one report, 93 percent of people may have glyphosate in their bodies. Other research has found glyphosate in a range of common food products, including breakfast cereal.
Less consensus exists, however, about the effects of glyphosate on human health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently concluded glyphosate is non-carcinogenic, while the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), meanwhile, issued a report in April saying it could not “rule out” an association between glyphosate exposure and cancer risk.
In July, glyphosate registrants issued a response to ATSDR in which they defended their products as safe. This is the same line that Bayer has taken—despite losing three straight Roundup lawsuits. On its website, Bayer says that, “glyphosate and our glyphosate-based formulated products can be used safely and not carcinogenic.”
Roundup Plaintiffs and Glyphosate Exposure
The notion that Roundup is not carcinogenic isn’t shared by Ed Hardeman, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, and Dewayne Johnson. Each of these individuals have won sizable jury verdicts against Bayer for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma they allege was caused by Roundup use.
Mr. Johnson received $289 million in damages (later reduced to $78 million) from Bayer last August, although he may not live to see the money. His terminal cancer is causing worsening health, and the appeals process could go on past his life expectancy. In his own words, he is “all messed up,” according to a Time report.
Mr. Johnson was exposed to Roundup as a school district groundskeeper, according to his lawsuit. He routinely sprayed chemicals, which he refers to as “juice,” but points to one incident in particular that he believes caused his cancer. Mr. Johnson describes in Time an accident that left him “soaked to the skin” in Monsanto’s glyphosate. “I got a little rash. Then it got worse and worse and worse. At one point I had lesions on my face, on my lips, all over my arms and legs.” A biopsy would reveal that Mr. Johnson had cancer.
Edwin Hardeman was awarded $80 million in damages from a San Francisco Jury in March 2019 when jurors found that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in causing his cancer.
Mr. Hardeman and his wife lived for decades on a 56-acre property in Sonoma County, California, where he used Monsanto herbicides from 1986 to 2012 to treat poison oak, overgrowth, and weeds. He learned in 2015 that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After struggling through multiple rounds of chemotherapy, he made the connection to his Roundup use from a TV report.
“I hope this is a significant turnaround in Monsanto’s history,” said Mr. Hardeman, whose cancer is now in remission. He believes Roundup should at least have a stronger warning about cancer risks.
“Give us a chance to decide whether we want to use it or not…Have some compassion for people,” he said.
The third and latest verdict against Monsanto was awarded to Alva and Alberta Pilliod in the amount of $2 billion. Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod used an estimated gallon of Roundup per week for more than 30 years on their Northern California property, according to their lawsuit. Both were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Mr. Pilliod in 2011 and his wife in 2015.
Mrs. Pilliod told the jury in an Oakland courtroom that “the doctors gave me 18 months to live at most.” Her first symptoms were vertigo, which prompted a visit to the doctor. Doctors found that she had B-cell lymphoma in her brain. The cancer left her with scar tissue and has impaired her cognitive abilities and motor functions.
Mrs. Pilliod testified that she never wore protective clothing when spraying Roundup because, “I really thought it was safe. The ads made me feel like it was safe.”
You May Be Eligible for a Lawsuit
Growing Roundup health concerns have prompted cities, counties, and countries to ban glyphosate products. Some individuals have also moved to non-glyphosate herbicides to protect themselves and their families — and litigation may prompt stronger Roundup health warnings. Already, Bayer is investing billions into weed killer research to reduce its environmental impact.
But the enormous amounts of glyphosate used in the past could mean many years of problems ahead. If you or a loved one used Roundup and have a cancer diagnosis, you can do your part to hold Monsanto accountable.