Agriculture is big business in the state of Utah. Farming and agricultural processing have an annual impact of more than $20 billion, and thousands of jobs all across the state rely on agriculture.
While the state is well-known as a major livestock producer, Utah is no slouch when it comes to crop production, as a top producer of things like corn and hay. It’s because farming is so central and so common across Utah that many people are growing more and more concerned over their exposure to a controversial weed killer that’s being challenged in courts around the country.
Glyphosate, often referred to by the brand name Roundup, is the most commonly used herbicide in farming, and it’s hugely popular for non-farming applications. The weed killer is very widely used despite evidence mounting that it causes or contributes to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other forms of cancer.
For those in Utah who may have become sick after exposure to or use of Roundup, it’s important to know the background of this issue and understand what rights you may have to seek damages for yourself or a loved one. Nearly 12,000 cases are pending or underway already.
Glyphosate Use in Utah
According to estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey, more than 200,000 pounds of glyphosate were used for agriculture in Utah in 2016 alone. While that number reflects a drop from the high recorded in 2013, it still equates to a huge 374 percent increase in glyphosate use over the past couple of decades.
On a national level, glyphosate is by far the most widely used herbicide in farming, being sprayed on a range of crops from corn to cotton. The diverse nature of the product largely tracks with how the weed killer was used in Utah in 2016:
- Corn: 25%
- Wheat: 4%
- Orchards & grapes: 1%
- Alfalfa: 60%
- Pasture & hay: 6%
- All other crops: 4%
Utah is a hugely important livestock-producing state, ranking near the top in turkeys (12th) and hogs (15), but it’s also a major producer of a number of crops that are commonly treated with glyphosate, including silage corn (24th), hay (26th) and wheat (32nd).
The numbers we’ve explored from the USGS cover only the glyphosate used to increase agricultural yields, meaning despite seeing a huge increase in the use of glyphosate between 1992 and 2016, that’s just a portion of the total Roundup used in our state during that time. That’s because those figures account only for the herbicide used in farming operations and does not cover Roundup used for any other purpose.
Featured Glyphosate Graph
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of Utah clearly is impacted by its agricultural application.
Utah Residents at Risk
Roundup and glyphosate are used very liberally for agriculture, but Roundup is an incredibly popular weed killer used by homeowners, landlords, professional gardeners, landscaping companies, groundskeepers, parks departments and many others to control weeds in lawns, parks, school grounds, sports fields, forests and dozens of other locations that are prone to overgrowth of weeds. Those who have been personally involved in applying Roundup in any of those situations are those most likely to be at a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma or another serious illness as a result of their exposure to Roundup and glyphosate.
But those who have never touched a bottle of Roundup may not be in the clear thanks to the weed killer’s presence in the food supply. Several rounds of testing, including some done by the federal government itself, have found glyphosate residue in dozens of food products that can be purchased at your local grocery chain. Plus, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not even have a way to test for glyphosate residue before 2016, it’s truly impossible to quantify the risk to food consumers.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in Utah
Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer AG, are facing nearly 12,000 lawsuits that allege that Roundup causes cancer, and many of the suits further claim that Monsanto has long known of the risks of the product and either hid them from consumers or actively worked to discredit those who raised objections to the product’s alleged safety.
Several of those trials are currently underway or are expected to begin in the first half of 2019, but already juries are beginning to agree with those making claims against Monsanto. A California jury in fall 2018 issued a $289 million decision in favor of a former school groundskeeper who developed terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a result of years of Roundup use, and in March 2019, a separate California jury ruled with the plaintiff in a case in which another longtime Roundup user was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. That case was divided into two phases and is still ongoing, so the plaintiff has not been awarded a dollar amount as of yet.
Utah residents who have become seriously ill or have been diagnosed with a major health condition, including any form of cancer, should know what rights they have to sue in our state. Utah’s product liability statute is among some of the least consumer-friendly in the country, with the state establishing a two-year time limit in such cases. What that means is that you could have as little as 24 months from the time you are diagnosed with a Roundup-caused illness to seek legal recourse.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
The groups of jury members in California are not the first people to come to the conclusion that glyphosate is unsafe. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency itself formerly was among that group, but the agency reversed its position in the early 1990s, a decision that many people claim was unduly influenced by Monsanto.
Today, the EPA lists glyphosate as likely non-carcinogenic, but the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer list the substance as a probable carcinogen.
In addition to the regulatory and legal questioning of glyphosate, several medical and scientific research projects have tied the herbicide to a host of serious illnesses that impact thousands across our state every day, including:
- Breast cancer
- Childhood brain cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Autism spectrum disorder
How to File a Utah Roundup Lawsuit
Utah residents who have been diagnosed with a major health condition, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma or other types of cancer, after having used or been exposed to Roundup for years should consult with a qualified local attorney who can review their case. Only an expert attorney educated in the background of this issue and the science surrounding it can properly evaluate your situation and determine the strength and validity of your case against Monsanto and Roundup.
Utah Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
Wall & Wall
- Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
- Website: https://walllegalsolutions.com/PracticeAreas/Products-Liability.html
- Phone number: 801-948-2188
Christensen & Hymas
- Location: Bountiful, Draper and Orem, Utah
- Website: https://christensenhymas.com/products-liability-malfunction-accidents/
- Phone number: 801-639-0581
- 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 Utah Agricultural Statistics. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=UTAH
- Utah State University, Department of Applied Economics, The Economic Contribution of Agriculture to the Utah Economy. (2016.) Retrieved from http://www.ag.utah.gov/documents/Economic%20Contribution%20of%20Agriclture%20to%20the%20Utah%20Economy%202014.pdf
- 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