Agriculture is a crucial industry in Tennessee. Along with forestry, agriculture has a nearly $75 billion impact on the state’s economy every year. The state is a top 20 producer of several crops and is home to a diverse range of agricultural commodities, including crops like soybeans, corn, wheat and cotton.
Given farming’s spot as a pillar of the Tennessee economy, it’s little wonder why so many across the Volunteer State are expressing concern over their potential exposure to a controversial weed killer. Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, are at the heart of heated debate and thousands of roundup lawsuits surrounding the alleged safety of the products.
In fact, nearly 12,000 lawsuits are currently pending or underway in which plaintiffs argue they’ve become seriously ill as a result of their use of glyphosate and/or Roundup. A jury in 2018 determined that a former California groundskeeper developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a result of his exposure to Roundup, and that verdict has helped raise awareness of the dangers of glyphosate.
Tennessee residents who have used or been exposed to Roundup should know the issues surrounding the use of the weed killer in our state and what their rights may be to seek damages in a court of law.
Glyphosate Use in Tennessee
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that about 5.1 million pounds of glyphosate were spread on Tennessee crops in 2016, which is down slightly from the record high recorded in 2015. Tennessee ranks 19th among all states in the USGS data, which includes only the 48 continental states. While 2016 marked a slight drop from the previous year, usage has surged since 1992, rising nearly 1,950 percent over the past two decades.
Nationally, glyphosate is used most heavily on corn, soybeans, wheat and oats, and that split is largely mirrored in the data detailing how Tennessee farmers used the herbicide on their crops in 2016:
- Corn: 29%
- Soybeans: 61%
- Cotton: 8%
- Wheat: 1%
- All other crops: 1%
Tennessee is a top 20 producer for several crops, including hay (12th), soybeans (17th), grain corn (17th) and cotton (6th). The state boasts more than 65,000 farms that cover 10 million acres of the state, which accounts for about 80 percent (including forestry acres).
While the USGS data gives us an estimate of how much glyphosate has been used for farming in Tennessee over the past 20+ years, it’s important to note that those figures cover only what was used for farming and do not take into account non-farming commercial use of Roundup, such as the amount used by professional landscapers and groundskeepers, and it does not cover non-commercial usage, which is likely to be substantial, since Roundup is a very popular weed killer among everyday Tennesseans.
Featured Glyphosate Graph
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of Tennessee clearly is impacted by it’s agricultural application.
Tennessee Residents at Risk
The plaintiff in the blockbuster California verdict in 2018 had worked as a school groundskeeper and used Roundup frequently as part of his job. He’s one example of the individuals who use Roundup or glyphosate routinely as required by their job; others in similar positions include landscapers, farm workers and food production employees. These individuals are the most likely among all those in Tennessee to have regular exposure, since they are going to work every day.
But they aren’t the only people in the state who are likely to have come into contact with Roundup or glyphosate. A second trial is getting underway this year in which a couple both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup at home, and many people across the state of Tennessee no doubt have used the weed killer to control vegetation around their properties.
While those who have personally applied Roundup or been exposed to it in the workplace are most at risk, the truth is that all Tennessee residents are potentially at risk thanks to the presence of glyphosate residue in the food supply, as has been established by multiple rounds of public and private testing, including tests conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in Tennessee
Nearly 12,000 lawsuits are pending or underway against Monsanto and its new parent company, Bayer AG. So far, the cases are not being organized as a class action, meaning that those cases that proceed will do so on their own merits.
The increased awareness of the potential dangers of glyphosate received a huge boost in the fall after Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, the former California school groundskeeper, was awarded a $289 million verdict in a jury trial. While a judge later reduced the award amount to $78 million and the case having been appealed, the impact is undeniable.
Consumers in Tennessee who are concerned about their exposure to Roundup or glyphosate may have a limited window in which to seek justice. The state of Tennessee has some of the most consumer-friendly product liability laws in the U.S., but there are limits nonetheless. Lawmakers have set a four-year time limit for product liability lawsuits, meaning that individuals who became seriously ill as a result of their use of or exposure to Roundup or glyphosate have less than five years from their diagnosis of a Roundup-caused illness to begin legal proceedings.
What this means is that if you suspect that yourself or a loved one became seriously ill because of Roundup, you should consult with a qualified local attorney who can review your case.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
Glyphosate is a hugely controversial ingredient, and Roundup is the subject of a great deal of debate in scientific and legislative circles. While the weed killer is classified by the U.S. government as most likely non-carcinogenic, both the state of California and the World Health Organization’s International Center for Research on Cancer list the ingredient as a probable human carcinogen.
Adding to the growing chorus against glyphosate and Roundup are a host of academic and medical research that has linked the herbicide to several major health problems that plague people across our state, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Childhood brain cancer
- Celiac disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Thyroid cancer
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Breast cancer
How to File a Tennessee Roundup Lawsuit
If you or a loved one have regularly used or been exposed to Roundup or its active ingredient, glyphosate, your time to seek legal recourse may be limited by Tennessee law. You should meet with a qualified local attorney who can review your case and help you determine whether to pursue legal action.
Keep in mind that while the lack of class action approvals in these cases could be a benefit to consumers, as it increases the potential for high-sum jury verdicts, each case being considered individually also means that the only way to claim the damages to which you may be entitled is to consult with an attorney in your area.
Tennessee Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
The following attorneys handle roundup cancer lawsuit cases in Tennessee:
The Higgins Firm
- Location: Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Website: https://www.thehigginsfirm.com/
- Phone number: 800-705-2121
Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers
- Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Website: https://www.summersfirm.com/Personal-Injury/Products-Liability/Glyphosate-Liability.shtml
- Phone number: 423-933-2738
- 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 Tennessee Agricultural Statistics. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=TENNESSEE
- Tennessee Farm Bureau, Tennessee Farm Facts. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://www.tnfarmbureau.org/tennessee-farm-facts
- 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
- National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. (2013.0 Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/
- 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/