Agriculture is hugely important to the economy of Michigan. In fact, agriculture and food production combine for more than $100 billion in annual impact across the state, and nearly 1 in 4 jobs is centered around food and farming.
So it’s understandable that in many places across the state of Michigan, those involved in farming, food production and related industries are expressing concern about the possible harm from a popular weed killer. Roundup and its key ingredient, glyphosate, are at the center of thousands of lawsuits alleging that the product is harmful, even that it causes cancer.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, about 5.3 million pounds of glyphosate was used in our state in 2016, putting Michigan in the top 20 nationally in terms of total pounds of glyphosate used in farming.
For people who work in farming or who may have used Roundup for controlling weeds on their properties, it’s important to understand the controversy surrounding this herbicide and the rights Michigan consumers may have to seek legal relief.
Glyphosate Use in Michigan
Agricultural producers throughout Michigan, much like those in the rest of the nation, have largely embraced the use of glyphosate over the past 25 years. In fact, Michigan’s usage of the weed-killing chemical surged an eye-popping 889 percent between 1992 and 2016. The state recorded a glyphosate-use high in 2014, but the use of the substance in 2016 rose from the previous year’s level, so usage seems to be back on the upswing in Michigan.
Michigan is a leading producer of several fruit and vegetable crops, including asparagus, cucumbers, cherries and squash and is among the nation’s top 10 in silage corn and oats, which are both crops that receive large amounts of glyphosate nationally. So in Michigan, how does glyphosate use break down by crop?
- Corn: 40%
- Soybeans: 50%
- Fruits & vegetables: 2%
- Wheat: 1%
- All other crops: 7%
Michigan is a top 15 producer of soybeans, and it’s that crop that drew half the glyphosate used in the state in 2016, followed closely by corn, another glyphosate-heavy crop. While Michigan isn’t among the very biggest corn or soybean producers in the nation, those two crops account for major shares of Michigan’s overall cash farm receipts.
Total employment in farming and related industries accounts for 923,000 jobs in Michigan, or about 22 percent of the jobs in the state. Michigan has about 10 million acres of farmland spread among more than 52,000 farms across the state.
With such a rich agricultural tradition, it’s easy to understand why so many in the state are concerned about their exposure to Roundup and glyphosate. For those working directly in agriculture, it’s quite possible they’ve had skin contact with the substance or have accidentally inhaled or even ingested it while applying the weed killer to their fields. But Roundup and glyphosate are also incredibly popular products for use at home.
Roundup is one of the most commercially successful herbicides in the residential market, with millions of people, and likely thousands across Michigan, using the substance to control weeds around their lawns and other properties, and those who are professional landscapers, gardeners, groundskeepers and others are also routinely exposed to Roundup.
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of Michigan clearly is impacted by it’s agricultural application.
Michigan Residents at Risk
While people employed in farming, food production, landscaping, groundskeeping and other related fields have the highest chances of being exposed to Roundup and glyphosate on a regular basis, the widespread adoption and use of the chemical mean that even if you haven’t come in direct contact with it, it’s possible you could have contacted it inadvertently and completely unknowingly.
As shown in several rounds of food testing, including tests conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, glyphosate residue is present in a disturbing number of consumer food products, from snack bars and cereals to beer and wine. In fact, the FDA only began testing for glyphosate in the food supply a few years ago, and the agency’s most recent tests did not include wheat or oats, which are major glyphosate targets, so what little we do know about glyphosate residue in food pales in comparison to what’s unknown.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in Michigan
Bayer AG, the parent company of Roundup inventor Monsanto, has confirmed that it’s facing nearly 12,000 roundup lawsuits across the country stemming from Roundup and glyphosate. These cases follow closely on the heels of a blockbuster trial in California last fall that saw a jury award a $289 million verdict for a man who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after years of using Roundup in his job as a groundskeeper. A judge later reduced the award to $78 million, and the case is under appeal, but the jury’s decision has created shockwaves and is serving to increase awareness of the risks of Roundup.
With a second trial getting underway in February 2019 and several about to kick off around the country, many in Michigan may be wondering if their exposure to Roundup and subsequent illness could be connected. Michiganders who have worked directly in farming or other agricultural roles or who have used Roundup for extended periods, especially those who might have inhaled or otherwise contacted the liquid, should know the rights they have to seek legal recourse.
The state of Michigan limits consumers to two years from the date of injury to bring a product liability lawsuit, meaning that for Michigan residents who used glyphosate and regularly became sick, they have just 24 months from the time they learned of their illness and its connection to Roundup to begin legal proceedings against Monsanto and Bayer.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a serious illness, including cancer, after using Roundup, whether for your job or around your yard, it’s important to consult with a qualified Michigan attorney who can help you navigate the legal system. Most of the cases against Monsanto and Bayer are not classified as class actions, which means that only a consultation with a qualified local attorney can help you determine whether to seek damages against the companies.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
Until 1991, the U.S. government had determined that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen, but since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed its position, glyphosate use has been largely unchecked in the United States. That trend is changing, though. Both the state of California and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer have ruled glyphosate causes cancer in humans, and a growing body of scientific evidence points to glyphosate not only causing cancer but other serious illnesses as well.
The issue is especially noteworthy in Michigan, where the former attorney general, Bill Schuette, was one of several attorneys general around the nation to lend their support to California’s proposed glyphosate ban, which is currently held up in the court system.
Several serious health problems have been linked to glyphosate and/or Roundup, either through medical studies or scientific analysis projects, including:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Death of liver cells
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Breast cancer
- Childhood brain cancer
- Thyroid cancer
How to File a Michigan Roundup Lawsuit
If you are a Michigan resident who regularly used Roundup or glyphosate and you are now seriously ill, including being diagnosed with any type of cancer, it’s important that you contact a qualified Michigan attorney.
With the relatively strict product liability laws in the state, your time to file is most likely limited, and with new cases being added against Monsanto every day, the time to act is now. An expert attorney can help you determine the strength of your case and plan the best way forward.
Michigan Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
Neumann Law Group
- Location: Detroit, Michigan
- Website: https://www.neumannlawgroup.com/roundup.html
- Phone number: 800-525-6386
Weitz & Luxenberg
- Location: Detroit, Michigan
- Website: https://www.weitzlux.com/contact-us/detroit-mi-attorneys/
- Phone number: 855-977-9411
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Memorandum: Second Peer Review of Glyphosate. (1991.) Retrieved from https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/cleared_reviews/csr_PC-103601_30-Oct-91_265.pdf
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