As by far the largest industry in Virginia, agriculture has an economic impact of about $70 billion per year and accounts for nearly 350,000 jobs across the state. When considered together with the forestry industry, every job in agriculture supports 1.7 jobs in other industries.
While the state has long been known as a major tobacco producer, the crops produced by Virginia’s farmers are actually quite diverse, ranging from fruits and vegetables to cotton to soybeans.
Given the importance of farming to the state’s economy and the lives of everyday Virginians, it’s little wonder why so many people across the state are expressing increasing concern about their exposure to a potentially dangerous agricultural chemical, the popular herbicide glyphosate.
Often known by the brand name Roundup, glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in agriculture today, both in the U.S. and around the world. Roundup is hugely popular despite a growing body of evidence that indicates the chemical is far from safe.
Virginians who have used or been exposed to Roundup should know the background of the issue and understand how state law could limit their ability to seek legal action, as nearly 12,000 other individuals have done all across the country.
Glyphosate Use in Virginia
The U.S. Geological Survey, which estimates the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in the lower 48 states, reported that Virginia farmers used a record amount of glyphosate in 2016, with 2 million pounds being spread on our state’s crops in that year alone. In addition to a record year for glyphosate, Virginia’s use of the weed killer has surged by more than 2,200 percent since 1992.
Nationally, glyphosate is used mostly on corn and soybeans, though several other major crop types are also frequent targets for the herbicide. This usage pattern is largely mirrored when examining which crops received the most glyphosate in Virginia in 2016:
- Corn: 36%
- Soybeans: 56%
- Wheat: 2%
- Cotton: 2%
- Alfalfa: 1%
- All other crops: 3%
Virginia is the fourth largest tobacco-producing state in the nation, but it’s also a top 25 producer of several other crops that are commonly treated with glyphosate both in our state and around the country, including cotton (14th), soybeans (19th), corn (24th) and winter wheat (25th).
The increase detected in glyphosate use in Virginia over the past two decades certainly sends up red flags, but the picture is even worse when you zoom out and realize that the USGS data covers only the glyphosate the federal agency estimates was used in farming. Put another way, those figures are an estimate of an unknown fraction of the total amount of glyphosate used. Roundup and glyphosate are incredibly popular in farming but also in landscaping in general, so it’s widely used by professional gardeners and weekend warriors at home.
Virginia Residents at Risk
People who have used their own hands to apply Roundup or glyphosate to weeds in crops, lawns, parks or other areas are the ones who are most likely to have had direct contact with Roundup. It’s not uncommon for the liquid to drip onto skin or clothing, and proximity to the chemical as it’s being sprayed or otherwise applied increases the chances of accidental ingestion or inhalation.
But personally using Roundup is not the only way to be exposed to it. In fact, the prevalence of glyphosate extends even to the food that is purchased from the grocery store. Multiple rounds of testing, including some done by the federal government itself, has detected varying amounts of glyphosate on diverse food products that include cereal, orange juice, granola, beer, wine and much more.
Plus, before 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not even have a test that could detect glyphosate in food, so it’s truly impossible to know how many people were exposed before the FDA could begin testing.
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of Virginia clearly is impacted by its agricultural application.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in Virginia
A pair of California juries in separate cases have ruled in favor of two men who claimed to have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a direct result of their use of Roundup. In both cases, the men used Roundup extensively and had direct, skin contact with the liquid.
The first verdict, which was announced in the fall of 2018, was reached after a former California groundskeeper convinced jury members that his terminal cancer had been caused by his use of Roundup and that Monsanto, the company that invented Roundup, hid the dangers posed by the product. The second verdict (this case is still ongoing) involved a man who used Roundup for decades to control weeds at the properties he owned over the years.
In addition to those two verdicts, Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer AG, are facing nearly 12,000 lawsuits in which plaintiffs make similar claims about the health effects of Roundup and Monsanto’s culpability in their illnesses.
For people in Virginia who fear for their health thanks to their use of or exposure to Roundup or glyphosate, state law could severely limit the time to seek legal recourse. Virginia statute sets a two-year time limit on product liability cases, and this is among the least consumer-friendly measures in the country.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
The pair of California juries that have found for the plaintiffs in their cases are part of a growing chorus of groups that are questioning the safety of Roundup and glyphosate. A regulatory decision in California placed glyphosate on that state’s official list of known carcinogens, and a World Health Organization cancer-research agency also lists glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
It’s important to note that while many people believe Roundup and glyphosate are harmful (with much evidence to support that belief), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not believe the herbicide to be harmful and lists it as likely non-carcinogenic.
Still, with evidence and verdicts mounting, it’s becoming more and more clear that much more study is needed to determine whether this chemical should be used at all. Several medical and research studies have tied glyphosate and Roundup to a range of serious health issues, including:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Breast cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Childhood brain cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Thyroid cancer
How to File a Virginia Roundup Lawsuit
Remember that Virginia state law likely severely restricts your rights to seek legal recourse against Monsanto and Bayer for your Roundup-related illness or diagnosis.
Additionally, it’s important to note that so far, the cases that are advancing are not grouped as a class action. This means that while the potential exists for high-value jury verdicts, each case that proceeds will live or die on its merits, so the only shot you have at your day in court is to consult with a qualified Virginia attorney who understands the history and science surrounding this issue.
Virginia Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
The following lawyers handle Roundup lawsuit cancer cases in the state of Virginia.
Marks & Harrison
- Location: Richmond, Virginia
- Website: https://www.marksandharrison.com/personal-injury-attorney/defective-products/roundup/
- Phone number: 800-705-4614
Allen & Allen
- Location: Richmond, Virginia
- Website: https://www.allenandallen.com/monsanto-roundup-linked-to-cancer/
- Phone number: 866-641-4053
- 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 Virginia Agricultural Statistics. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=VIRGINIA
- Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Agricultural Facts & Figures. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/markets-and-finance-agriculture-facts-and-figures.shtml
- 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
- Center for Environmental Health, Getting Toxic Chemicals Off The Menu, A School Guide To Safer Cereals. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://www.ceh.org/wp-content/uploads/Glyphosate-in-Schools-Report.pdf
- Moms Across America, Breakfast Favorite Orange Juice Tainted by Glyphosate Herbicide. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.momsacrossamerica.com/orange_juice_postive_for_glyphosate_again
- National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines. (2009.) Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19539684
- 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