Agriculture and related industries contribute more than $30 billion per year to the economy in the state of Washington, and these industries employ nearly 175,000 people all around the state. With a diverse agricultural portfolio that includes more than 300 types of crops, Washington is a leading producer of several crops that are grown all over the state.
The impact of farming and related industries is wide and deep in our state. This is a key factor in the growing concern across Washington over individuals’ exposure to Roundup and its controversial key ingredient, glyphosate. As the most popular weed killer in the world, Roundup is used widely for commercial and non-commercial applications despite being the target of thousands of lawsuits and the focus of a growing body of medical evidence that’s seriously questioning its safety.
At least one Washington resident already has filed a suit against Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer AG, alleging that a Duvall, Washington landscaper got non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a direct result of his use of Roundup. Two California juries already have agreed that Roundup causes cancer, and several more trials are expected to get underway this year across the country.
For Washington residents who are fearful for their health because of their use of or exposure to glyphosate, it’s important to understand state laws as well as the data surrounding glyphosate and Roundup.
Glyphosate Use in Washington
Washington farmers used a state record 2.6 million pounds of glyphosate in 2016 alone, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Not only did the state record more glyphosate use in that year than in any other, usage has surged by more than 250 percent since 1992.
Glyphosate is the chosen herbicide in agriculture partially because so many different types of seeds are now Roundup-ready, meaning farmers can spray their entire field with weed killer without worrying that their crops will die, too. While it’s a widely used herbicide, there are a few crop types that see treatments from glyphosate more frequently than others in Washington. Here’s a look at how usage broke down in our state in 2016:
- Corn: 6%
- Wheat: 19%
- Fruits & veggies: 17%
- Orchards & grapes: 14%
- Pasture & hay: 41%
- All other crops: 3%
Washington is a key producer of several crops that are commonly treated with glyphosate whether in our state or around the country, including cotton (3rd), hay (8th) and wheat (7th).
It’s important to note that while we know from the USGS data how much glyphosate is used for farming operations in Washington, we don’t know how much is used for other purposes. Not only is glyphosate the most popular herbicide in farming, it’s also the go-to product for killing weeds and vegetation among many professional landscapers and groundskeepers as well as many home gardeners. Additionally, many municipalities across the country use the herbicide to kill weeds in public spaces, such as parks and sports fields.
Washington Residents at Risk
If you have personally used Roundup or glyphosate to destroy weeds on agricultural crops, in your own yard or in public/private yards as part of your job, you are more likely to have experienced potentially dangerous exposure. Such people are more likely to have inhaled the herbicide vapors or accidentally ingested it, and they’re much more likely to have gotten the substance on their clothing or skin.
But even if you’ve never personally used Roundup or glyphosate, your potential for exposure is probably higher than zero. That’s because multiple rounds of testing, including some done by the federal government, have turned up glyphosate residue in dozens of food products that can be purchased at the grocery store, from beer to breakfast cereal.
Plus, up until just a few years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not been able to develop an effective test for glyphosate on food products.
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of Washington clearly is impacted by its agricultural application.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in Washington
Just this year, a 61-year-old Washington man who owned a landscaping company sued Monsanto, claiming that Roundup gave him non-Hodgkin lymphoma and that Monsanto’s product labeling was insufficient because it did not list the risks of Roundup. The Duvall man, Leonard Tierney, says that he often used Roundup via a backpack-style container that leaked the weed killer down his back and that the sprayer with the container often caused the liquid to get onto his face.
Tierney’s case is not the only connection our state has to the chorus growing against Monsanto and its new parent company, Bayer AG. as a University of Washington study released in early February, just a couple of weeks before Tierney filed his lawsuit, reported that the medical literature strongly indicates a clear connection between glyphosate use and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Tierney’s lawsuit is just one of nearly 12,000 that have been filed, and comes amidst an ongoing trial in California in which the jury has already agreed that Roundup caused a man to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. While that jury decides whether Monsanto is liable for the man’s illness and what, if any, damages the man should receive, this expanding controversy means that new cases are being filed every day.
For Washington residents, it’s important to note that state law sets a two-year time limit in product liability cases. Also, so far, the cases proceeding against Monsanto and Bayer have not yet been grouped as a class action, which means that each individual case would proceed on its own merits.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
The body of medical and scientific evidence against Roundup and glyphosate is growing, but the U.S. government, via the EPA, has officially ruled that glyphosate is most likely not carcinogenic. That determination is quite controversial, though, and scientific evidence has linked glyphosate and/or Roundup to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and many other serious health concerns, including:
- Celiac disease
- Thyroid cancer
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Breast cancer
- Childhood brain cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization agency, officially lists glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, as does the state of California. Glyphosate is currently in the midst of its regularly scheduled review under EPA guidelines, but it’s not expected that the agency will change its view of the herbicide despite recent developments.
How to File a Washington Roundup Lawsuit
Washington residents who have used or been exposed to glyphosate may have a limited period time in which they can file a lawsuit. A consultation with a qualified local attorney is the only way for you to have your case reviewed by an expert who is educated in the issues and the science surrounding them.
Washington Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
The following attorneys handle Roundup cancer lawsuit cases in the state of Washington.
Schroeter Goldmark Bender
- Location: Seattle, Washington
- Website: http://sgb-law.com/
- Phone number: 206-622-8000
Corrie Yackulic Law
- Location: Seattle, Washington
- Website: https://www.cjylaw.com/practice-areas/roundup-related-cancer/
- Phone number: 206-787-1915
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Wash. man files lawsuit against Monsanto claiming exposure to Roundup caused cancer. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.seattlepi.com/local/crime/article/Monsanto-Roundup-Washington-man-cancer-lawsuit-13631501.php
- University of Washington, ScienceDirect, Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1383574218300887
- 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 Washington Agricultural Statistics. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=WASHINGTON
- Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington Agriculture Snapshot. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://agr.wa.gov/aginwa/docs/641-WSDAAgInfographic-WEB.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
- 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