Roundup is a common weedkiller produced by Monsanto and its new owner Bayer AG. It is regularly used to farmers, landscapers, gardeners, and homeowners throughout the world to control weeds. But in recent years, strong evidence has been revealed that there are important safety links between Roundup and cancer, especially Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a serious cancer of the lymph system.
Glyphosate – The Active Ingredient in Roundup – A Possible Killer
Glyphosate has been used for decades as a strong and effective herbicide by Monsanto and has been marketed as Roundup. Farmers have long preferred to use glyphosate on their crops because it kills weeds without damaging crops.
In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which is part of the World Health Organization, classified the active ingredient of Roundup as a possible carcinogen. (1). The report from IIARC stated that glyphosate could cause cancer in laboratory tests involving mice and other animals.
Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Lawsuits in Process
Many lawsuits against Monsanto and Beyer AG are in process today by farm workers, farmers, and homeowners who had regular contact with glyphosate and been diagnosed with non-Hodkin lymphoma. The roundup cancer lawsuits generally argue that Monsanto knew of the toxicity of the ingredient to humans and did not warn of the dire risk.
Dewayne Johnson Cancer Lawsuit
In one of the most publicized cases so far, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay a former groundskeeper named Dewayne Johnson $289 million in damages in San Francisco, as the company was found liable for the man’s terminally ill cancer. The jury found that the glyphosate-based weed killer was a ‘substantial factor’ in causing his rare cancer. (2).
This is the first of thousands of lawsuits (3) that are working their way through district courts across America. By some estimates, there are 8,000 cancer-related lawsuits working through the system right now related to Roundup. (4).
Johnson told the media after the August 2018 verdict that he started the lawsuit as a stark warning of the possible danger of chemicals that authorities tell you are safe.
Johnson’s ordeal started when he took his job as the pest control manager for a school district in San Francisco in 2012. Part of this job was to spray glyphosate-based weed killers made by Monsanto. His trainers repeated told him the chemicals were safe.
Johnson said they told him the chemical was so safe that one could actually drink it. Johnson never did any such thing, but he was sure to wear his protective gear while spraying the grass 20 to 30 times per year for up to five hours per day. Even though he took necessary precautions, he still got the chemical on his body. Sometimes a hose will come loose and would spray the chemical inside his suit. After a few months, he developed a rash. He noted that the rash would never go away and would continue to get worse.
Late in 2017, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma. Later, he called Monsanto. They had to know that if someone gets this on their skin, it is possible for them to develop rashes and even lymphoma. The company promised that someone would call him about it but never did.
During the cancer trial, an email was introduced that showed a Monsanto executive was informed and told the should call Johnson back, But in a later deposition, the executive admitted that he did not recall if he had ever spoken to the groundskeeper.
So a little over a year later, with his cancer advancing rapidly, Johnson sued. After a few days of deliberation, the jury shocked the world with the $289 million verdict. It found that the company had not properly warned the man of the dangers of non-Hodgkins lymphoma from the product. (5).
- (1) Guyton, Kathryn, Straif Kirt (2018). International Agency for Research on Cancer – Worth Health Organization. IARC Monograph on Glyphosate.
- (2) Monsanto Plaintiff Dewayne Lee Johnson’s Cancer Lawsuit Wasnt in Vain. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/monsanto-plaintiff-dwayne-lee-johnson-says-cancer-lawsuit-wasnt-in-vain/
- (3) Monsanto Trial Cancer Dewayne Johnson Ruling (2018). Retreived from https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/aug/10/monsanto-trial-cancer-dewayne-johnson-ruling
- (4) Monsanto To Get Flooded With Thousands of Cancer Related Lawsuits. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/monsanto-to-get-flooded-with-thousands-of-cancer-related-lawsuits
- (5) Bayer’s Monsanto Faces 8,000 Lawsuits on Glyphosates. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuits/bayers-monsanto-sued-by-8000-plaintiffs-on-glyphosate-idUSKCN1L81J0