Agriculture contributes billions of dollars every year to the economy of Maryland, accounting for thousands of jobs and providing a way of life for many people across the state. The total value of agriculture to the state’s economy is upwards of $10 billion per year.
The importance and impact of farming to our state are big reasons why there’s a growing concern, especially among those directly involved in agriculture, over a highly controversial chemical used to kill weeds — Roundup.
Roundup’s manufacturer is facing about 12,000 lawsuits alleging that the weed killer and its active ingredient, glyphosate, cause cancer, and two juries already have agreed with that sentiment. That argument is bolstered by a growing body of medical and scientific research that’s tying Roundup not only to cancer but a host of other health problems, from obesity to autism spectrum disorder.
For Maryland residents who have personally used glyphosate, whether for agriculture or to kill weeds around their own yards, the time to act could be limited, so it’s important to understand the issues surrounding this weed killer and what your rights might be to seek legal action.
Glyphosate Use in Maryland
Maryland’s farming operations used a combined 1.7 million pounds of glyphosate in 2016, according to estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey, which maintains a database of herbicide, pesticide and fungicide use in the lower 48 states. The level of glyphosate use in Maryland in 2016 marked a record high, and the state’s use of the herbicide has surged by more than 2,100 percent since 1992.
Nationally, glyphosate is used to kill weeds in a diverse range of crop types, from cotton to hay, but it’s use across the nation is strongest in just two crops — corn and soybeans — and Maryland’s data largely mirrors that usage pattern with those two crops accounting for upwards of 90 percent of the state’s use in 2016. Here’s a closer look at how Maryland’s glyphosate usage was sorted in 2016:
- Corn: 42%
- Soybeans: 53%
- Wheat: 4%
- All other crops: 1%
Maryland is a top 25 producer of several of the crops that are most frequently targeted by glyphosate across the country, including corn (23rd) and soybeans (21st).
While it’s a shock to the system to see a 2,100 percent increase in glyphosate use in Maryland over the past couple of decades, you should note that the USGS data presents only one part of the picture and the truth is that we don’t actually have the full picture. That’s because while glyphosate is very widely used in agriculture (in fact, it’s the most common such chemical used in farming), it’s also a best-selling weed killer for non-farming uses, including in residential yards, business grounds and public spaces, such as schools and parks.
Featured Glyphosate Graph
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of Maryland clearly has some agricultural application.
Maryland Residents at Risk
Maryland residents who have hands-on experience with glyphosate or Roundup are likely those at the highest risk of potentially developing health problems as a result of their exposure. After all, they are the ones most likely to have some of the substance drip onto them or to accidentally inhale or even ingest it during application of the chemical to weeds or other vegetation.
But the ubiquity of this weed killer also means that even those who have never picked up a bottle of Roundup could potentially also have been exposed to it. Several rounds of independent testing, including some done by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have revealed that glyphosate is present in dozens of food products that can be purchased at the grocery store. Testing has found glyphosate in beer, wine, orange juice, cereal, oats, snack bars and many more products. In fact, the FDA’s most recent tests turned up glyphosate in about half of the samples tested.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in Maryland
With 12,000 lawsuits pending or underway against Monsanto and its new parent company, Bayer AG, there’s no doubt that Roundup’s alleged safety is seriously in question. Two verdicts already have been reached in separate California cases in which two men alleged they developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a direct result of having used Roundup for years.
The first such case ended in a $78 million damage award for the plaintiff, though the jury in that case issued a $289 million verdict that later was reduced to $78 million by a judge. In addition to jury members in that case agreeing that the plaintiff, a former school groundskeeper, got terminal cancer because he used Roundup, they further agreed that Monsanto hid the dangers of its product from consumers. The second California trial, which is still underway, centers on a California resident who says he’s used Roundup for decades to control the growth of weeds on various properties he’s owned over the years.
No checks have been cut yet to the plaintiffs in either case, with the second case not yet completed and the first one under appeal, but both cases are helping raise awareness of the potential risks of Roundup. For Maryland residents, it’s important to understand state law, as it could limit your window to seek justice. Maryland statute sets a three-year time limit for product liability cases, which means that you could have as little as 36 months from the date you are diagnosed with a Roundup-related disease, including cancer, to begin legal proceedings.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
The California juries that have voted in favor of the plaintiffs in their respective cases are adding to the growing chorus of voices calling Roundup and glyphosate into serious question. Both the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as well as the state of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment list glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.
That view is increasingly being supported by an expanding collection of medical and scientific studies that link glyphosate and/or Roundup to many different major health problems and diseases that impact thousand of people across Maryland. This includes:
- Childhood brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Celiac disease
How to File a Maryland Roundup Lawsuit
Remember that your time to have your day in court could be limited by Maryland state law, which allows three years for product liability lawsuits. Your best bet at seeking justice for the illness you or a loved one have been diagnosed with as a result of your use of or exposure to Roundup is to consult with a qualified local attorney who is well-educated on the issues surrounding this weed killer.
Maryland Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
Saiontz & Kirk
- Location: Maryland
- Website: https://www.youhavealawyer.com/roundup/
- Phone number: 800-522-0102
Miller & Zois
- Location: Maryland
- Website: https://www.millerandzois.com/roundup-cancer-attorneys.html
- Phone number: 800-553-8082
- 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 Maryland Agricultural Statistics. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=MARYLAND
- University of Maryland, The Impact of Agriculture on Maryland’s Economy. (Undated.) Retrieved from http://agresearch.umd.edu/sites/agresearch.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/canrp/Summary%20Value%20of%20Ag.pdf
- 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
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Questions and Answers on Glyphosate. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/foodborneillnesscontaminants/pesticides/ucm583713.htm
- National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines. (2009.) Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19539684