Agriculture is the single highest-impact industry in all of Montana, accounting for a total $4.6 billion annual impact, far higher than any other industry in the state. While Montana is a top 10 state for livestock production, it’s also one of the most productive states when it comes to several crops, including hay, oats and wheat.
That’s why many in Montana are closely following the news surrounding a weed killer used widely across the United States and in our state after a jury ruled in the fall of 2018 that glyphosate, often referred to by the brand name Roundup, caused a California groundskeeper to develop terminal cancer.
Glyphosate is the most widely used agricultural herbicide in the history of farming, and that holds true in Montana, where the state was a top 15 glyphosate user in 2016, according to federal data.
Given the state’s farming heritage and its status as a major agricultural producer today, many people across the state want to learn more about Roundup and glyphosate, the health and legal issues surrounding the herbicide and what their rights may be to seek damages against Monsanto, the company that makes Roundup.
Glyphosate Use in Montana
Montana farming operations used 9.4 million pounds of glyphosate in 2016, placing the state 12th overall, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which estimates usage of pesticide and herbicide in agricultural operations in the continental United States.
While the 9.4 million pounds used in 2016 did mark a slight drop from the high recorded in 2014, the 2016 level was an increase from the previous year, and Montana has seen an incredible 3,075 percent increase in glyphosate used since 1992.
What is glyphosate used for? In Montana, like the rest of the U.S., glyphosate is used largely to control weeds in popular crops, such as corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, rice, hay and grapes. Here’s a look at how Montana’s use of the substance was divided in 2016:
- Wheat: 34%
- Fruits and vegetables: 12%
- Hay: 43%
- All other crops: 11%
Montana is fourth overall in the nation in the production of wheat, 15th in the production of oats and third in alfalfa hay production, all crops that are popular glyphosate targets.
Agriculture’s central position as a pillar of the Montana economy is a major reason why so many across the state are becoming more and more concerned about their potential exposure to glyphosate and Roundup.
It’s important to note that the glyphosate use figures we’ve reported here cover only a small amount of the total used, as not only is glyphosate very popular for farming, but it’s also in wide use for other purposes, such as landscaping, groundskeeping and personal gardening.
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of Montana clearly is impacted by it’s agricultural application.
Montana Residents at Risk
People who use Roundup or glyphosate as part of their jobs, including farmers and farm workers, professional gardeners or landscapers and groundskeepers, are those most likely to have come into direct contact with glyphosate, whether by getting the substance on their skin or clothing, inhaling the fumes or accidentally ingesting it.
But because of how prevalent the herbicide is, it’s also been detected in the food supply, which means that even those with no direct involvement have most likely been exposed to glyphosate and Roundup by ingesting it without their knowledge.
In fact, up until just a few years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, one of the federal agencies responsible for safeguarding the food supply, had not even developed a useful test for checking for glyphosate in food products.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in Montana
While a California jury’s fall 2018 verdict was huge news, as it was the first such verdict and it was a very high dollar amount ($289 million), that trial was just the beginning. Bayer AG, the company that now owns Monsanto and Roundup, has reported that it’s facing around 12,000 more monsanto cancer lawsuits, including several that are getting underway in the early part of 2019.
For Montana residents who have had exposure to glyphosate or Roundup and later become sick, the time to file a legal claim against Bayer and Monsanto is likely limited by state law. Montana sets a limit of three years in product liability cases, meaning that an injured party has only 36 months from the date of the injury to seek a claim. For people who may have been exposed to glyphosate for years and only recently become sick, that means the smartest move is to consult with a qualified local attorney right away. This person can review your case and work with you to determine the next steps.
For the most part, the cases currently pending have not been grouped together as a class action, though some plaintiffs have sought as much. What this means is that so far, each case will be evaluated on its merits, so that means the only way to ensure that you are able to seek justice is by consulting with an attorney.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
While the U.S. government’s official position today is that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, that was not always the case. In fact, until 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency listed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, but the agency reversed its position in that year, which opened the floodgates for use of the herbicide.
Today, the scientific community is hotly debating whether glyphosate is safe, but the evidence is quickly mounting that indicates that not only can glyphosate cause cancer, but that it can contribute to a host of other health problems that are common in our state, such as:
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Childhood brain cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Breast cancer
So while glyphosate is still legal for now, both the state of California and the World Health Organization officially list the substance as cancer-causing, and the research community is adding to the volume of evidence that this is the case.
How to File a Montana Roundup Lawsuit
If you or a loved one have used Roundup or glyphosate or been exposed to it and are now seriously ill or have been diagnosed with a medical condition, your time to file a lawsuit is most likely severely limited by Montana law.
It’s in your best interest and your family’s best interest to consult with a qualified local attorney who is educated on this matter and can help you determine whether you have a strong case against Bayer and Monsanto. Together, you can decide what to do next to ensure you are able to seek the damages to which you may be entitled.
Montana Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
Hoyt & Blewett
- Location: Great Falls, Montana
- Website: https://www.hoytblewett.com/personal-injury/product-liability/
- Phone number: 406-233-1302
Edmiston & Colton
- Location: Billings, Montana
- Website: https://www.yellowstonelaw.com/Product-Liability.shtml
- Phone number: 406-545-0889
- 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
- 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
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