Agriculture is a huge industry in the state of Georgia, contributing upwards of $70 billion to the state’s economy annually and, along with forestry, accounting for 1 in 7 jobs. While peaches and peanuts are what the state is most known for, the truth is that Georgia’s crop production is incredibly diverse and the commodity value produced by Georgia farmers is among the top in the nation for a variety of crops.
The importance of farming to our state is a big reason why many people across the state are concerned over their exposure to a controversial chemical used widely in agriculture, including millions of pounds of usage in our state. Glyphosate, often referred to by the brand name Roundup, is the most widely used herbicide in modern farming, but the weed killer is also the subject of debate over its safety that has spilled into the legal, legislative and regulatory spheres.
Two separate juries have ruled that Roundup has caused or contributed substantially to two men’s cancer diagnoses, and for those in Georgia who have used this popular weed killer or otherwise been exposed to it, it’s helpful to understand the background of the issue and what limitations could exist on your rights to seek legal recourse.
Glyphosate Use in Georgia
In 2016, Georgia farmers used about 3 million pounds of glyphosate to kill weeds on their crops, according to estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey, which maintains a database of herbicide used in agriculture in the lower 48 states. While the use recorded in 2016 is down from Georgia’s record high in 2014, the amount of glyphosate used has risen by more than 1,000 percent in Georgia over the past two decades.
Nationally, glyphosate use has surged at nearly double Georgia’s increase since 1992, and that’s owing largely to the number of crops that are grown using Roundup-ready seed, including many crops grown widely in Georgia. Here’s a look at the proportions of glyphosate spread on various crops in Georgia in 2016:
- Corn: 8%
- Soybeans: 6%
- Wheat: 1%
- Cotton: 74%
- Fruits & veggies: 1%
- Orchards & grapes: 7%
- All other crops: 3%
Georgia is well-known as the nation’s largest producer of peanuts, but it’s also a top 25 producer of some crops that are commonly treated with glyphosate, such as cotton (2nd) and corn (25th).
The USGS numbers on how glyphosate use has surged in our state over the past two decades are difficult to digest, but it’s important to keep in mind that those figures account for an unknown fraction of the overall glyphosate and Roundup used in the state. That’s because not only is glyphosate the most widely used herbicide in farming, it’s also incredibly popular for professional landscapers and home gardeners.
Georgia Residents at Risk
Those who have had hands-on experience with Roundup or glyphosate are the Georgians most at risk for potential health problems due to their exposure. After all, they’re much more likely than others to have gotten the substance on their skin, in their noses and even in their mouths. This obviously includes farmers and farm laborers, but the list also extends to landscapers, professional groundskeepers and even homeowners who have used Roundup to control weeds and vegetation around their properties.
But because glyphosate use is so widespread, it’s quite difficult to know for sure whether you’ve avoided exposure. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s most recent testing of samples of the food supply found that glyphosate was present in nearly half the samples tested, but notably the FDA’s testing did not cover wheat or oat products, and those who crops are largely treated with glyphosate. Other, private testing has mirrored those results, and various groups have detected glyphosate in foods ranging from beer and wine to breakfast cereal and orange juice.
It’s also noteworthy that until a few years ago, the FDA did not even have a reliable test for glyphosate residue in food, so it’s quite impossible to gauge consumers’ exposure over the past couple of decades via food products.
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of Georgia clearly is impacted by its agricultural application.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in Georgia
Two juries have sided with plaintiffs in separate California cases in which two men alleged that they became sick with non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a direct result of their use of Roundup. The first man, who was the beneficiary of a $289 million jury verdict, had worked as a school groundskeeper, and the second man, whose trial is still ongoing, is a property owner who had used Roundup around his land for years. Both of the juries who heard evidence in the men’s cases agreed that Roundup was a cause of their cancer diagnoses.
About 12,000 other cases are pending or set to get underway this year, according to Bayer AG, which recently purchased Monsanto, the company that invented Roundup. Georgia residents who have health concerns as a result of their exposure to Roundup and/or glyphosate should know their rights. State law sets a two-year time limit for product liability cases, which means that you potentially have just 24 months to bring legal action from the time you are diagnosed with a serious illness connected to your use of or exposure to Roundup.
Thus far, the pending cases have not been grouped together as class actions, which means that each individual case will be heard, if it proceeds, on its own merits. While this presents the potential for large jury verdicts, such as the nine-figure decision in California, it also means that the only way to ensure you can have your day in court is to consult with an attorney who can examine the unique nature of your situation and determine how strong your claim is.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, glyphosate probably does not cancer, but the two California juries aren’t the only groups of people to take issue with that finding. The state of California officially lists the herbicide as a probable carcinogen, as does the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer on Research. And, in fact, the EPA formerly listed the substance as a possible carcinogen before reversing its position in 1991.
One reason why the weed killer is causing such grave concerns across the U.S. and the world is that a growing body of medical and scientific evidence is making a clear link between glyphosate and/or Roundup and serious health problems that impact people across our state every day. These include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Breast cancer
- Childhood brain cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Thyroid cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Autism spectrum disorder
How to File a Georgia Roundup Lawsuit
If you are a Georgia resident who has become seriously ill, including being diagnosed with any form of cancer, after regular use of or exposure to Roundup or glyphosate, your time to pursue legal action in your case is most likely strictly limited by state law.
A consultation with a qualified local attorney is the best way to have your case and your medical situation evaluated by an expert who can help you build your case and decide what to do next.
Georgia Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
John Foy & Associates
- Location: Georgia
- Website: https://www.johnfoy.com/roundup-cancer-lawsuit-lawyer/
- Phone number: 404-620-6012
Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays
- Location: Atlanta, Georgia
- Website: https://www.garymartinhays.com/personal-injury/product-liability/roundup-weed-killer/
- Phone number: 800-898-HAYS
- U.S. Geological Survey, Estimated Annual Agricultural Pesticide Use. (2017.) Retrieved from https://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/pnsp/usage/maps/county-level/StateLevel/LowEstimate_AgPestUsebyCropGroup92to16.txt
- Reuters, U.S. trial tests claims Roundup weed killer caused cancer. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuit/us-trial-tests-claims-roundup-weed-killer-caused-cancer-idUSKCN1QD0I8
- The Associated Press, Jury: Roundup weed killer is major factor in man’s cancer. (2019.) Retrieved from https://apnews.com/1f0ecf279c1b4a0c941506e4c255bbd8
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2018 Georgia Agricultural Statistics. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=GEORGIA
- Georgia Farm Bureau, About Georgia Agriculture. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://www.gfb.org/education-and-outreach/about-ga-agriculture.cms
- FindLaw.com, Time Limits for Filing Product Liability Cases: State-by-State. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://injury.findlaw.com/product-liability/time-limits-for-filing-product-liability-cases-state-by-state.html
- National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors. (2013.) Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23756170
- National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Glyphosate induced cell death through apoptotic and autophagic mechanisms. (2012.) Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22504123