In 2016 alone, more than 8 million gallons of the weed killer glyphosate, including the name brand Roundup, were sprayed on crops in California. Glyphosate use in the state of California has surged more than 250 percent since the early 1990s.
So it’s no wonder that California has become the epicenter of the Roundup cancer lawsuit world. While Roundup is in wide use throughout the United States and much of the rest of the world, a 2018 verdict and a new trial in 2019 have many in California wondering about whether they were exposed to dangerous levels of Roundup and glyphosate.
A California jury in fall 2018 issued a verdict that Roundup caused a man to develop terminal cancer, awarding him nearly $300 million, though that amount was later reduced to around $80 million. Still, with that jury’s verdict coming just a few months before a new trial is getting underway in our state over whether another man got cancer from Roundup exposure, individuals across the state are paying close attention.
More than one-third of the fruits and nuts in the United States are grown in California, and the state accounts for nearly 15 percent of the total agricultural value of the country. Agriculture is a huge industry throughout the state and in several regions in particular.
Over 400 distinct agricultural products are grown or raised in California, and the state boasts nearly 80,000 farms accounting for well over 25 million acres. More than 400,000 Californians are employed in agriculture throughout the state.
With more and more attention being paid to potentially harmful exposure to pesticides like Roundup, it’s natural that this agriculture-rich state would be a central focus of Roundup cancer lawsuits, and those who believe they’ve been harmed by Roundup and/or glyphosate may have limited time to seek damages. Individuals and families in California should know their legal rights when it comes to Roundup cancer lawsuits.
Glyphosate Use in California
About 8.2 million gallons of glyphosate were spread on crops in California in 2016, according to the most recent federal counts by the U.S. Geological Survey. That number represents a slight increase from the previous year, and glyphosate use in California has risen every year since 2008.
California glyphosate use rose by 269 percent between 1991 and 2016, though the overall national increase was nearly 2,000 percent when all states and crops are taken into account. While glyphosate is in wide use in most states, which crops it’s used for varies widely, depending on what is produced in that state. So which California crops are most likely to be grown using glyphosate? Here’s a look at how the percentages broke down for California crops in 2016:
- Grapes (includes orchards): 73%
- Corn: 6%
- Vegetables and fruit: 6%
- Cotton: 7%
- Alfalfa: 5%
- Wheat, soybeans and other crops: 3%
The state’s 77,000-plus agricultural operations accounted for more than $50 billion in sales in 2017, with dairy the most valuable product, followed by grapes and almonds, respectively. California’s total crop sales was nearly twice that of the next-highest state, Iowa, which had more than $26 billion in crop cash receipts in 2017.
While agriculture is huge business all over the state, some regions and counties are stronger producers than others. Kern County, which is home to Bakersfield, was the most valuable agricultural county in 2017, producing about $7.2 billion worth of agricultural commodities.
Here’s a look at the full top 10 for 2017:
- Kern: 7,254,004,000
- Tulare: 7,039,709,000
- Fresno: 7,024,915,000
- Monterey: 4,425,425,000
- Stanislaus: 3,648,192,000
- Merced: 3,409,518 ,000
- San Joaquin: 2,527,966,000
- Ventura: 2,099,889,000
- Kings: 2,066,329,000
- Imperial: 2,065,599,000
California is the sole producer in the country of several crops, meaning the state produces 99 percent or more of all the U.S.-based supply. Here’s a look at those crops:
- Clingstone peaches
- Grapes (raisins)
- Honeydew melons
- Sweet rice
While there is state and national data to help us understand how much glyphosate is used in California, the value of agriculture in the state and how many individuals are employed in farming, the truth is that direct involvement in agriculture is just one of the many ways California residents can be exposed to glyphosate.
Roundup and glyphosate are approved for public use, so it’s a popular weed killer for homeowners and property owners who wish to clear their lawns and other areas of weeds and other unwanted plants.
California officially lists glyphosate as a carcinogen, as does the World Health Organization. State officials have sought to require a warning label on food products that contain traces of glyphosate, but a federal judge issued an injunction against that effort in 2018 that still is in place, though the same judge allowed glyphosate to remain on the state’s list of known carcinogens.
In addition to spraying Roundup on lawns and glyphosate residue potentially appearing in the food supply, an analysis by the McClatchy news service found that more than 14,000 gallons of Roundup had been sprayed directly into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta since 2010. The chemical also is commonly used in public spaces like parks and sports fields, as well as golf courses and other green spaces throughout the state of California.
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of California clearly is impacted by it’s agricultural application.
Commodity Output by California Region
|Rank||County||$1,000 value||Leading commodities|
|1||Kern||7,254,004||Grapes (Table), Almonds, Milk, Pistachios|
|2||Tulare||7,039,709||Milk, Grapes (Table), Cattle & Calves, Oranges|
|3||Fresno||7,024,915||Almonds, Poultry, Pistachios, Milk|
|4||Monterey||4,425,425||Strawberries, Lettuce, Broccoli, Grapes (Wine)|
|5||Stanislaus||3,648,192||Almonds, Milk, Chickens, Nursery (Fruit/Vine/Nut, non-bearing)|
|6||Merced||3,409,518||Milk, Almonds, Chickens, Cattle & Calves|
|7||San Joaquin||2,527,966||Grapes (Wine), Milk, Almonds, Walnuts|
|8||Ventura||2,099,889||Strawberries, Lemons, Celery, Raspberries|
|9||Kings||2,066,329||Milk, Cotton (Pima), Cattle & Calves, Almonds|
|10||Imperial||2,065,599||Cattle & Calves, Lettuce, Hay (Alfalfa), Broccoli|
|11||Madera||1,973,067||Almonds, Milk, Pistachios, Grapes (Wine)|
|12||San Diego||1,774,192||Nursery (Woody Ornaments), Flowers, Nursery (Plants), Avocadoes|
|13||Santa Barbara||1,590,351||Strawberries, Broccoli, Grapes (Wine), Vegetables|
|14||Riverside||1,219,097||Milk, Nursery (Woody Ornaments), Grapes (Table), Lemons|
|15||San Luis Obispo||924,743||Grapes (Wine), Strawberries, Vegetables, Cattle & Calves|
|16||Colusa||901,778||Almonds, Rice, Walnuts, Tomatoes|
|17||Sonoma||894,183||Grapes (Wine), Milk, Poultry, Livestock Products|
|18||Glenn||839,628||Almonds, Walnuts, Rice, Milk|
|19||Napa||757,116||Grapes (Wine), Cattle & Calves, Livestock Products, Nursery Products|
|20||Butte||684,231||Walnuts, Rice, Almonds, Plums|
|21||Yolo||635,246||Almonds, Tomatoes, Grapes (Wine), Field Crops|
|22||Sutter||584,020||Rice, Walnuts, Plums, Nursery (Fruit/Vine/Nut, non-bearing)|
|23||Santa Cruz||574,123||Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Vegetables, Nursery Products|
|24||Sacramento||495,756||Grapes (Wine), Milk, Poultry, Pears (Bartlett)|
|25||San Bernardino||464,742||Milk, Cattle & Calves, Eggs (Chicken), Nursery (Woody Ornaments)|
|26||Tehama||381,725||Walnuts, Almonds, Olives, Plums|
|27||San Benito||367,453||Vegetables, Lettuce, Peppers (Bell), Grapes (Wine)|
|28||Solano||362,822||Walnuts, Nursery, Almonds, Tomatoes|
|29||Santa Clara||315,456||Mushrooms, Nursery (Products), Nursery (Woody Ornaments), Lettuce|
|30||Siskiyou||277,524||Nursery Plants, Hay (Alfalfa), Cattle, Potatoes|
|31||Humboldt||255,681||Cattle & Calves, Milk, Nursery Products, Cheese (Goat)|
|32||Yuba||226,727||Walnuts, Rice, Plums, Peaches (Clingstone)|
|33||San Mateo||138,995||Nursery (Plants), Brussels Sprouts, Flowers (Cut), Vegetables|
|34||Mendocino||138,185||Grapes (Wine), Pears (Bartlett), Cattle & Calves, Pasture|
|35||Los Angeles||137,868||Nursery Products, Vegetables, Field Crops, Livestock Products|
|36||Contra Costa||120,441||Cattle & Calves, Tomatoes, Corn (Sweet), Grapes (Wine)|
|37||Lassen||117,027||Hay (Alfalfa), Hay (Other), Vegetables, Cattle|
|38||Orange||113,238||Nursery (Woody Ornaments), Strawberries, Vegetables, Citrus|
|39||Lake||108,730||Grapes (Wine), Pears (Bartlett), Walnuts, Cattle & Calves|
|40||Marin||87,198||Milk, Poultry, Pasture, Cattle & Calves|
|41||Shasta||84,738||Hay (Other), Nursery Products, Cattle, Rice|
|42||El Dorado||60,856||Apples, Grapes (Wine), Cattle & Calves, Pasture|
|43||Placer||52,176||Cattle & Calves, Nursery, Rice,Walnuts|
|44||Alameda||47,702||Grapes (Wine), Cattle & Calves, Nursery (Woody Ornamental), Pasture|
|45||Del Norte||47,644||Milk, Cattle, Nursery, Manufactured Dairy|
|46||Amador||43,786||Grapes (Wine), Cattle & Calves, Pasture, Fruits & Nuts|
|47||Mariposa||42,218||Cattle & Calves, Pasture, Livestock Products, Poultry|
|48||Tuolumne||31,907||Livestock, Cattle, Pasture, Forest Products|
|49||Mono||31,269||Cattle & Calves, Hay (Alfalfa), Sheep & Lambs, Field Crops|
|50||Plumas||29,225||Cattle, Pasture, Hay (Alfalfa), Hay (Wild)|
|51||Calaveras||21,643||Cattle & Calves, Poultry, Pasture, Grapes (Wine)|
|52||Nevada||19,506||Cattle (Heifers), Cattle (Milk Cows), Vegetables, Grapes (Wine)|
|53||Inyo||18,957||Cattle, Hay (Alfalfa), Field Crops, Pasture|
|54||Sierra||9,980||Cattle, Pasture, Hay (Alfalfa), Hay (Grain)|
|55||Alpine||5,549||Pasture (Range), Cattle, Hay, Pasture (Irrigated)|
|56||Trinity||4,913||Pasture (Range), Cattle, Pasture (Irrigated), Grapes (Wine)|
|57||San Francisco||299||Field Crops, Apiary Products|
California Residents at Risk
Californians who make a living in farm fields and other agricultural operations are, of course, most likely to come into direct contact with glyphosate, both through inhalation and contact with the skin. These workers include groundskeepers, professional gardeners, landscapers, farm laborers and supervisors and others. But the 400,000-plus people who work directly in farming and ranching are far from the only California residents who could be concerned about their contact with glyphosate.
As the state’s effort to require warning labels on foods with glyphosate residue indicates, many foods have been tested and found to contain residue of Roundup and glyphosate. Recent testing has found such chemicals in foods like breakfast cereal, orange juice, oatmeal, granola and much more. In fact, just a few years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not even have an effective way to check for glyphosate residue in food.
It’s difficult to impossible to discern how long and to what degree California residents have been exposed to glyphosate throughout the years.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in California
Just last fall, a California jury ruled that Roundup caused a groundskeeper to develop terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that attacks the lymph system of the human body. The man was initially awarded $289 million, but that amount was eventually reduced to $78 million as part of an agreement.
In February, a second potential blockbuster trial got underway in the state in which Bayer AG, which owns Monsanto, the inventor of Roundup, is accused of selling a product that causes cancer. But that case is far from the only one, as more than 9,000 Roundup cases have been filed across the country in recent months, as of late February 2019.
California has some of the most consumer-friendly laws in the country when it comes to seeking damages over defective and dangerous products. California residents have two years from the date they discovered a product was dangerous or defective to file a lawsuit seeking damages. For those considering Roundup cases in which cancer or other health problems was caused by glyphosate, an individual would have as much as two years from the date they were diagnosed to file their lawsuit.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
Despite the state of California and the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declaring that glyphosate is a cancer-causing agent, Roundup and other glyphosate-containing weed killers are in very wide use.
The danger to humans is a matter of great dispute and controversy. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) once classified glyphosate as a potential carcinogen before shifting positions and declaring that it was most likely not a carcinogen in 1991.
More recent years have seen several analyses link glyphosate and Roundup to several serious health problems that are very common in the state of California.
- Glyphosate disrupts gut health, creating digestive problems.
- A French study found Roundup kills liver cells.
- Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders have risen in a similar pattern to how much glyphosate has been used on soy and corn crops throughout the U.S.
- A study found glyphosate spurred growth of breast cancer. More new cases of breast cancer are reported every year in California than any other type of cancer.
- Parental exposure to Roundup was linked in a study to childhood brain cancer.
- Parkinson’s disease has been linked to glyphosate in studies. More Parkinson’s disease deaths occur in California than any other state.
- As national rates of Alzheimer’s deaths have risen, use of glyphosate on corn and soybeans has jumped in a similar pattern. The state’s rate of Alzheimer’s deaths is one of the 15 highest in the nation.
How to File an California Roundup Lawsuit
If you or someone you know was regularly exposed to Roundup or glyphosate and has since developed cancer or another serious disease, you should know your options. The best way to do that is to contact a qualified California attorney who can help you determine if you should seek damages that you may be entitled to.
The lawsuits against Bayer AG/Monsanto are not categorized as a class action, so each individual lawsuit will be evaluated, tried and deliberated on its merits, meaning each case’s unique nature will be revealed. Remember that because of the state’s product liability laws, your time to seek justice and file a lawsuit may be limited.
California Roundup Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, PC
- Location: Los Angeles, California
- Website: https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/
- Phone number: 310-207-3233
Berg Injury Lawyers
- Location: Alameda, California
- Website: https://www.berginjurylawyers.com/cases-we-handle/defective-product/roundup-weed-killer-cancer/
- Phone number: 800-400-BERG
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