Thousands of people in Mississippi, possibly tens of thousands, have used glyphosate based weedkillers in their jobs or around their homes over the last few decades. These weedkillers, when first introduced on to the market in1974 by agrochemical giant Monsanto, were hailed as revolutionary. They are a very effective herbicide and are touted as helping to increase the yield of many agro crops and forestry products the world over.
Roundup may be carcinogenic
Monsanto has recently been bought by an even bigger giant, German based Bayer AG. Its main glyphosate containing brand, Roundup, has long since passed the end of any patent protection. This means that not all glyphosate based products (GBHs) on the market around the world are made by Monsanto, even though the brand name “Roundup” is still the most easily recognized herbicide. More seriously, GBHs have been implicated in an increased risk of some cancers, specifically non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Considering the huge profits made by Monsanto and now Bayer from selling Roundup, it is probably not surprising that the manufacturers of the product are not very keen on admitting that their product might be carcinogenic.
Bayer may be ready to settle
Moving on to February2020 and there are now probably 9,000 lawsuits outstanding against Monsanto / Bayer alleging that prolonged use of Roundup has caused NHL. Three lawsuits have already been successful, with Bayer paying out millions of dollars in settlement. The fourth lawsuit, Wade vs. Bayer, to be heard in St. Louis, Missouri, has just been suspended. It’s not the only case that has been put on hold. At least half a dozen lawsuits that had been scheduled to be heard in February and March have also been suspended, with lead mediator, Kenneth Feinberg, indicating that Bayer may be soon ready to settle. The total bill to settle the number of outstanding lawsuits may amount to as much as 12 billion dollars. Considering Bayer paid 68 billion dollars for Monsanto in 2016, this figure may not be as much as you might think.
Even if a massive settlement is in the offing, it doesn’t mean that Bayer is backing down from its assertion that the use of Roundup is safe as long as certain safeguards are maintained. Bayer’s executives point to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessment of the link between GBHs and cancer as unproven. Are they right? Not according to a number of research findings. The evidence suggesting that GBHs, especially when bound up in a product like Roundup, which contains other chemicals that facilitate the carcinogenicity of glyphosate, has been sufficient to persuade three courts so far in different parts of the U.S. to award damages against Monsanto / Bayer.
The very first successful lawsuit was brought by Dewayne Johnson in California. He had been diagnosed as having terminal non Hodgkin’s lymphoma and by the time his case against Monsanto had been settled, he had only months expected to live. He alleged that he developed NHL after prolonged exposure to the weedkiller while working as a school groundsman for many years. The case was awarded to Johnson after the court weighed up the often complex and contradictory scientific research on the health effects of Roundup.
The most damning was the 2014 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) which concluded that the product was “probably carcinogenic.” More recently, research by the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences department at the University of Washington has concluded that prolonged use of GBHs could increase the risk of developing NHL by as much as 41%. These findings directly contradict assurances made by the EPA.
Has Monsanto known all along about the link between Roundup and cancer?
Perhaps even more damaging is evidence that Monsanto has been implicated in manipulating the results of previous studies on glyphosate and may have known for a long time that their product could be harmful. The parallel with the long struggle to get tobacco giants to admit liability for lung cancer should be obvious.
Even if Bayer does settle existing lawsuits in coming weeks, it’s unlikely that they are ready to admit that their acquired product is responsible for the thousands of cases of incurable cancer in the U.S., and potentially around the world. If you have a strong suspicion that your health has been seriously compromised by prolonged exposure to Roundup, you should contact the Diaz Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your legal options in light of other recent and impending successful cases against Monsanto / Bayer. You can contact the Diaz Law Firm at 601-607-3456.