Farming and food processing contribute a combined $10 billion to the New Mexico economy every year, accounting for about one-eighth of the state’s total economic production. While the state is considered a major livestock producer, New Mexico also produces billions of dollars worth of crops every year.
The importance of crop farming to the New Mexico economy is a major reason why concerns are brewing across the state with regard to an herbicide that’s at the center of thousands of lawsuits across the country — Roundup.
Roundup is the most popular weed killer in human history, and it’s widely used across the United States, including in New Mexico. But it’s also a heavily disputed herbicide, as the active ingredient, glyphosate, has been connected to a series of major health problems, including multiple forms of cancer.
New Mexico residents who have health problems connected to their use of Roundup should know what rights they have to seek justice and should understand as much as they can about the data and science behind the herbicide.
Glyphosate Use in New Mexico
Glyphosate use in New Mexico agriculture peaked in 2014, and our state’s farmers used about 400,000 pounds of the weed killer to enhance their yields in 2016. While that usage level is lower than the state’s historic high, it still represents a 1,181 percent increase in total use since 1992, according to information from the U.S. Geological Survey, which estimates usage of chemicals like herbicides and pesticides for farming operations in the lower 48 states.
On a national level, glyphosate is used liberally on a diverse range of crops, from cotton to corn, and that usage pattern largely tracks with how New Mexico farmers used glyphosate for their crops in 2016:
- Corn: 47%
- Wheat: 12%
- Cotton: 6%
- Fruits & veggies: 1%
- Orchards & grapes: 14%
- Alfalfa: 2%
- Pasture & hay: 16%
- All other crops: 2%
New Mexico is a top 10 producer of milk from cows, but it’s also a major producer of crops like pecans (4th), silage corn (22nd) and cotton (16th).
We know from the USGS data how much glyphosate is used in farming in New Mexico every year, and we know which crops were treated with the herbicide. But the USGS data is an unknown fraction of the total glyphosate used in the state. Why is it unknown? Because in addition to Roundup and glyphosate being incredibly popular for farming, the weed killer is also very widely used by home gardeners, professional groundskeepers and landscapers as well as by states and municipalities to control overgrowth in public spaces like parks and sports fields.
Featured Glyphosate Graph
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of New Mexico has very little agricultural application compared to other states.
New Mexico Residents at Risk
Individuals who have had hands-on contact with Roundup or glyphosate by applying it to agricultural crops, vegetation in yards or weeds in public or business spaces are the ones most likely to have developed serious health problems as a result of their exposure. Two jury verdicts have been issued so far that agree with plaintiffs’ assertion that Roundup causes cancer, and in both cases, the men who brought the lawsuits had gotten the liquid on their skin.
But skin contact is not the only way to be exposed to Roundup or glyphosate. That’s because multiple rounds of testing by public and private groups have turned up evidence that glyphosate can be found in the foods that are sold in grocery stores. Dozens of products, including breakfast cereal, orange juice, oatmeal, snack bars, beer and wine, have tested positive for glyphosate residue in independent studies, even by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which only recently even began testing for the residue.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in New Mexico
The two jury verdicts that have been announced both took place in separate California cases in which the plaintiffs both were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the first trial, a former school groundskeeper developed terminal cancer after years of Roundup use as part of his job, and the jury in his case awarded him $289 million damages, though a judge later slashed that to $78 million. In addition to the high-figure award, the jury also found that not only had Roundup caused the man’s cancer but that Monsanto, the company that invented Roundup, attempted to hide the risks it knew were posed by the product.
The second California case, which is still ongoing, also involves a man who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after years of Roundup use, though he used the chemical to clear weeds on property he owned rather than using it for work.
Both verdicts come amid a legal tornado that’s encircling Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer AG, which has confirmed that it’s facing about 12,000 more lawsuits across the country in which many plaintiffs allege that they became seriously ill due to their exposure to Roundup and/or glyphosate.
For New Mexico residents who are concerned for their health because of their Roundup or glyphosate exposure, state law could limit your window to seek legal recourse. New Mexico has set a three-year time limit for product liability lawsuits.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
In addition the pair of California juries who have agreed with evidence presented that Roundup causes cancer, other independent medical and research studies have tied the herbicide to several major health problems that impact people all around our state, including:
- Breast cancer
- Childhood brain cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Autism spectrum disorder
Until 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency listed glyphosate as a possible human carcinogen, but the agency reversed that position and changed the classification of the herbicide to not likely a carcinogen. But this is not a consensus view, and, in fact, both the state of California and the World Health Organization have determined that glyphosate does cause cancer in humans.
How to File a New Mexico Roundup Lawsuit
New Mexico residents who have become seriously ill or been diagnosed with a major health problem, including any form of cancer, should seek immediately to consult with a qualified local attorney who is well-educated in the issues surrounding Roundup and glyphosate.
Remember that state law could be limiting your rights to seek justice, but only an expert local attorney can determine the strength of your case and help you figure out the best way to seek damages for your illness.
New Mexico Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
Branch Law Firm
- Location: Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Website: https://www.branchlawfirm.com/roundup.html
- Phone number: 800-828-4529
Fine Law Firm
- Location: Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, New Mexico
- Website: https://www.thefinelawfirm.com/product-liability/
- Phone number: 505-889-3463
- 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 New Mexico Agricultural Statistics. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=NEW%20MEXICO
- New Mexico State University, Agriculture’s Contribution to New Mexico’s Economy. (2014.) Retrieved from https://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_circulars/CR675/welcome.html
- 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