June 12, 2019
With Bayer still feeling the aftermath of a $2 billion award to two plaintiffs who alleged they developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after Roundup exposure, some experts are warning that the risks associated with the herbicide could extend beyond cancer. Bayer still faces more than 10,000 pending lawsuits in the US alleging a link between Roundup and cancer, and now lawsuits are being filed in Canada and Australia.
Although regulators in the US say Monsanto Roundup is safe, experts point to studies that yield mixed results at best as a sign that the herbicide—with glyphosate as its active ingredient—is not as safe as once thought. Plaintiffs in the most recent lawsuit to go to trial even argued that Monsanto, maker of Roundup, knew about some of the risks and issued internal warnings to employees about the chemical but marketed Roundup as safe for the public.
Scientists Urge More Studies on Glyphosate
While regulators argue over whether glyphosate is safe—with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) saying it is but the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer deeming glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans”—scientists have said that at best not enough is known about glyphosate and its risks to humans, meaning more studies need to be done before it can be deemed non-toxic.
In a consensus statement written for the journal Environmental Health, a group discussing glyphosate’s risks noted that animal and epidemiology studies from the last decade highlight a need for new studies on glyphosate toxicity. The researchers who signed the consensus statement issued a Statement of Concern linked to emerging science regarding glyphosate-based herbicides and current published literature.
1. Glyphosate-based herbicides are the most heavily applied herbicides in the world with usage that continues to increase
2. GBHs around the world can be found in drinking water, precipitation and air
3. The half-life of glyphosate in water and soil is longer than previously thought
4. Glyphosate and its metabolites can now be easily found in soybean supplies around the world
5. Human exposure to GBHs are increasing
6. At least one authority has classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans
7. Officials have used outdated science to determine tolerable daily glyphosate intakes in the US and Europe
Monsanto Marketed Glyphosate as Safe
Despite the at-best mixed scientific findings regarding the safety of glyphosate, Monsanto has marketed its herbicide as safe for humans and animals. The company came to that conclusion because glyphosate works by restricting a biochemical pathway that allows plants to grow, but that animals don’t have. Extending that to believe that glyphosate is entirely safe for human use, however, is a stretch. Just because glyphosate doesn’t affect animals the same way it affects plants does not mean it is safe for humans to use.
Although the EPA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have yet to declare glyphosate toxic, that inaction may be partly because they made their decision based on information from researchers linked to herbicide makers, which is not entirely unbiased data. Furthermore, none of the data provided to either the EPA or the EFSA was peer-reviewed or made available to the public. In fact, an international scientific team reviewed the studies the EFSA used and found those studies were deeply flawed and did not follow standard scientific practices.
Scientists have found traces of glyphosate in drinking water, while studies suggest rodents exposed to glyphosate suffered liver and kidney damage.
Plaintiffs Allege Monsanto Knew
In their lawsuit against Monsanto, Alva and Alberta Pilliod alleged they both developed Roundup non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after extensive exposure to the Roundup herbicide. A jury agreed with them both and awarded more than $2 billion in total in punitive and compensatory damages.
The plaintiffs submitted evidence that showed Monsanto provides a warning label to employees who work with Roundup, advising them to wear protective and safety gear when spraying the chemical. Furthermore, in internal Monsanto study scientists encouraged people to wear boots and gloves when spraying Roundup.
At Patterson Dahlberg, we believe it is vital that companies like Monsanto—which has since been bought by Bayer AG—be brought to justice for the harm their products cause consumers.
Too many giant corporations put profits ahead of safety, jeopardizing the public’s health for the sake of making money. We are dedicated to fighting for the people who have been injured by greedy corporations and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients.
If you or someone you love believed Roundup was safe and have been diagnosed with cancer after exposure to the chemical, you deserve highly skilled and knowledgeable representation. Contact an attorney at Patterson Dahlberg today to discuss your options.