Multinational agrochemical corporation Monsanto is facing legal action regarding its popular weed killer RoundUp and its alleged causal connection to cancer. Two new lawsuits were brought on September 22, 2015 against the publicly traded company, with both plaintiffs contending they developed cancer after exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp.
Enrique Rubio filed his claim in California District Court, and plaintiff Judi Fitzgerald brought her RoundUp cancer lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York. Both assert that Monsanto failed to provide adequate warnings about the potential health complications associated with moderate to heavy exposure to the herbicide.
Glyphosate and cancer risk
For years, Monsanto and other industry professionals have claimed that glyphosate is non-hazardous and has a better safety profile in terms of environmental impact compared to other widely used chemicals. Often used on large crops, household lawns and golf courses, RoundUp was first launched in the 1970s.
However, recent research on the human health hazards of glyphosate has shown that the chemical has been linked to a host of problems including cancer, Parkinson’s and infertility in women. In 2013, a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Entropy found that glyphosate residues had been identified in food.
The study concluded that the “negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.”
And in March of this year, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a warning about possible adverse side effects of glyphosate in humans.
RoundUp lawsuits filed against Monsanto
In the case of 58-year-old Enrique Rubio, a resident of Colorado, the plaintiff contends that he was diagnosed with bone cancer after nearly a decade’s exposure to RoundUp. Rubio used a hand pump to spray the weed killer on fruit and vegetable crops, completely unaware of the risks posed to his health. Like others who may be pursuing litigation, Rubio argues that he was unaware of the potential link between the herbicide and cancer until the IARC’s recent assessment.
Plaintiff Judi Fitzgerald was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in 2012. The 64-year-old New York resident never sprayed the weed killer personally, but was in close proximity to greenhouse plants that were doused in the chemical for a period of four years. Her lawsuit states that several times she became very ill within hours of RoundUp exposure during her work as a Growers Assistant.
Monsanto accused of failure to warn
Monsanto stands accused of failing to warn about RoundUp’s alleged carcinogenic effects, which according to both complaints, the company knew about for years. In 1996, the New York Attorney General’s office sued Monsanto for allegedly making misleading claims concerning the safety of RoundUp.
Given that glyphosate has been labeled a potential carcinogen, and nearly 200 million pounds of the chemical is used by U.S. farmers annually, Monsanto may be exposed to increasing numbers of product liability claims in the coming months.
If you or a loved one has suffered health complications or injury following toxic exposure, we invite you to call The Jeffcoat Firm for a free case evaluation. Speak to a leading South Carolina environmental lawyer today by calling (803) 200-2000