Agriculture remains the single biggest industry in North Carolina, with an annual economic impact approaching $85 billion and projections that indicate farming, along with forestry and other related industries, will contribute $100 billion to the state by 2020. Nearly 1 in 5 individuals in North Carolina are employed in agriculture-related roles.
Farming’s roots run deep in our state, and North Carolina is a top 20 producer of several key crops, including corn, soybeans and wheat, and the state remains the nation’s leader in tobacco farming.
The rich agricultural heritage of North Carolina is a major reason why concern is growing across the state over a contentious but popular weed killer, Roundup. Along with its active ingredient, glyphosate, Roundup is the subject of academic and medical research, regulatory debate and even widespread legal action against the company that makes the product.
For those in North Carolina who work in farming, gardening or other jobs where they have had regular exposure to Roundup or glyphosate, or for those who have used the product to control weeds around their private property, it’s helpful to know the background of the issue and how glyphosate is used in our state.
Glyphosate Use in North Carolina
North Carolina ranked 20th among all states included in the U.S. Geological Survey’s estimates of herbicide use among the 48 continental United States. Our state’s farmers used about 5 million pounds of glyphosate to treat their crops in 2016, which marks a record level of usage in North Carolina. The state’s use of glyphosate has surged by about 2,600 percent since 1992, which is higher than the overall national increase of around 1,900 percent.
While North Carolina leads the nation in tobacco production, it’s also a key producer of several of the crops that are popular targets nationally for glyphosate. Here’s a look at how North Carolina farmers divided the glyphosate they used on their crops in 2016:
- Corn: 33%
- Soybeans: 46%
- Cotton: 13%
- Wheat: 2%
- Pasture & hay: 5%
- All other crops: 1%
North Carolina is among the 20 biggest producers of several of the crops that most frequently are treated with glyphosate across the nation, including grain corn (18th), soybeans (15th) and grain wheat (13th).
Thanks to the USGS data, we have an idea of how much glyphosate has been used for farming in North Carolina over the past two decades, but that data is limiting in many ways. For instance, it counts only the glyphosate used in farming operations and does not include glyphosate used for other commercial endeavors, including professional gardening, landscaping and groundskeeping. Plus, many of us have used Roundup around our own yards to control pesky weeds, and the USGS data does not capture any of that usage.
Featured Glyphosate Graph
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of North Carolina clearly is impacted by it’s agricultural application.
North Carolina Residents at Risk
North Carolina residents most at risk no doubt are those who have been personally involved in applying glyphosate or Roundup, whether as part of their jobs or for personal use. These are the individuals who are most likely to have gotten the herbicide on their skin, to have inhaled the vapors or even to have accidentally ingested some of the substance. This includes those who work as farmers, farm laborers, landscapers, groundskeepers or professional gardeners as well as residents who have used Roundup at home.
But given the incredibly widespread use of glyphosate all across our state, the substance is even turning up in the food supply, which potentially puts everyone at risk. According to several rounds of public and private testing, glyphosate residue has been detected in a wide range of food products purchased at grocery stores, from orange juice to breakfast cereal to wine and beer to granola.
Testing conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which only recently even began checking for this residue, detected glyphosate residue in about half of the products monitored.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in North Carolina
Bayer AG, the parent company of Monsanto, which invented Roundup back in the 1970s, has reported that it’s facing about 12,000 roundup cancer lawsuits from all around the country, and multiple trials are currently underway in which plaintiffs allege that they became sick as a result of their use of glyphosate.
The scary legal outlook Bayer is facing got much worse in the fall of 2018, when a California jury ruled in favor of a former school groundskeeper who was diagnosed with terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma after regularly using Roundup for his job. Since that verdict, in which jury members decided the man should receive $289 million, the legal floodgates have opened.
Many people across North Carolina who have regularly used or been exposed to Roundup or glyphosate should know their rights. The state of North Carolina permits six years from the date of purchase to bring a product liability lawsuit, which is among the least consumer-friendly statutes in the nation. This means that if you are a North Carolina consumer who became sick after using Roundup, your time to file is seriously limited.
Any North Carolina resident who has used Roundup or otherwise been exposed to it, or who suspects a loved one has become ill after using the product should consult with a qualified local attorney who can review their case.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
Glyphosate is officially classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a likely non-carcinogenic chemical, but this is far from a consensus opinion. A growing body of medical evidence indicates the substance can contribute to many health issues, and both the state of California and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer have officially listed glyphosate as a cancer-causing agent.
Researchers have tied glyphosate and/or Roundup to several serious health problems that are major concerns for thousands across the state of North Carolina, including:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Childhood brain cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Thyroid cancer
- Breast cancer
How to File a North Carolina Roundup Lawsuit
North Carolina residents who have been diagnosed with a serious illness, including any form of cancer, after using Roundup or glyphosate or otherwise being exposed to it should consult right away with a qualified local attorney.
The pending cases against Bayer and Monsanto are not currently grouped as a class action, which means that each case that proceeds will do so on its own merits. While this could mean high-sum jury verdicts, it also means that the only way to have your day in court is to consult with a local expert lawyer. Remember that state law severely limits your rights to pursue legal action in the case of faulty products, but only a qualified attorney can review your case.
North Carolina Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
The following attorneys handle roundup cancer lawsuit cases in North Carolina:
Law Offices of James Scott Farrin
- Location: North Carolina
- Website: https://www.farrin.com/roundup-cancer-claim
- Phone number: 866-900-7078
Riddle & Brantley
- Location: North Carolina
- Website: https://www.justicecounts.com/product-liability/roundup-weed-killer/
- Phone number: 866-292-9076
- 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
- World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of
five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides. (2015.) Retrieved from https://www.iarc.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/MonographVolume112-1.pdf
- 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
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2018 North Carolina Agricultural Statistics. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=NORTH%20CAROLINA
- North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Today’s Topic: Economic impact of NC agriculture, agribusiness increases to $84 billion. (2016.) Retrieved from http://info.ncagr.gov/blog/2016/06/07/todays-topic-economic-impact-of-nc-agriculture-agribusiness-increases-to-84-billion/
- 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
- NPR, Groundskeeper Accepts Reduced $78 Million Award In Monsanto Cancer Suit. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2018/11/01/662812333/groundskeeper-accepts-reduced-78-million-in-monsanto-cancer-suit
- 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 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
- WeedKillerCrisis.com, Shocking Report Shows Weedkiller Ingredient Glyphosate Causing Americans to Be Sicker and Dying Younger. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.weedkillercrisis.com/topics/glyphosate-report-2019/