Roundup Weed Killer Cancer Lawsuits

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer following exposure to Roundup® weed killer, you may be entitled to make a claim.

The World Health Organization has recently reported that the popular glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup® manufactured by Monsanto probably causes cancer.  Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and B-cell lymphomas are among the cancers related to Roundup. 

For over 40 years, Roundup has been advertised by Monsanto as a safe and effective industrial and household weed killer. Roundup has been widely used throughout the world by farmers and other agricultural workers, gardeners, landscapers and homeowners who inadvertently exposed themselves to the probable carcinogenic chemical glyphosate. In fact, more than 18,000 lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto so far, alleging that Roundup is a carcinogen that caused each plaintiff’s cancer.

In three bellwether Roundup cancer lawsuits, juries awarded plaintiffs hundreds of millions of dollars in recoveries following verdicts that found that each plaintiff’s exposure to Roundup led to their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis.

Wilentz, Goldman, & Spitzer, P.A. is accepting cases from patients who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, leukemia, or another circulatory cancer after being exposed to Roundup. If you or a loved one has suffered a cancer diagnosis following Roundup exposure, you may be eligible to file a Roundup cancer lawsuit. Call us today for a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options.

Roundup and Glyphosate

Roundup is a popular brand name of glyphosate-based herbicide manufactured by Monsanto, an agrochemical company wholly purchased by Bayer in 2018. Over the years, Monsanto (now, Bayer) has produced various formulations of Roundup marketed under brand names that have included:

  • Roundup Weed & Grass Killer
  • Roundup For Lawns
  • Roundup Max
  • Roundup Concentrate
  • Roundup Extended Control
  • RoundupPro
  • Roundup WeatherMAX
  • Roundup Xtend
  • Roundup Transorb HC

Glyphosate Linked to Cancer in Humans

Exposure to glyphosate on a chronic basis has been linked to cancer of the lymphatic system or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Glyphosate is the main chemical used in the brand name Roundup that has been linked to cancer. Glyphosate kills weeds by inhibiting the weed’s production of a specific enzyme (EPSP synthase) that allows the weed to break down food. Without the ability to break down food, the weed starves, wilts, dies, and then degrades into the soil.

Glyphosate is a “non-selective herbicide” that will kill almost any plant. However, glyphosate is also acutely toxic towards humans and other mammals, especially through exposure to  a person’s skin, eyes, nose, or mouth.

Glyphosate contact has been reported to cause:

  • Burning of the skin
  • Oral or nasal discomfort
  • Unpleasant taste
  • Tingling and irritation of the throat

Direct ingestion of Roundup may cause internal organ failure, kidney or live damage, and in extreme cases, death.

What is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system and weakens the body’s ability to fight diseases. The lymphatic system is part of the vascular system, which allows blood, nutrients, and oxygen to move throughout the body.  According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma may include:

  • Painless, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits or groin
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Chest pain, coughing or trouble breathing
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss

These symptoms may be indicators of other common types of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, including:

  • Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma
  • Follicular Lymphoma
  • Mantle Cell Lymphoma
  • Burkitt’s Lymphoma
  • Cutaneous T-cell Lymphomas
  • CNS Lymphoma

Does Roundup Cause Cancer?

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has classified glyphosate as a substance that probably causes cancer. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that glyphosate does not cause cancer.

According to the journal of Environmental Sciences Europe, the WHO and EPA reach different conclusions because the EPA focuses on the average person, who faces minimal exposure, whereas the WHO focuses on everyone’s exposure – high and low exposure. Read the case study here.

According to the journal of Mutation Research, high exposure to glyphosate – such as that of a daily Roundup user – increases the likelihood of a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis by 41%. Read the case study here.

Direct and Indirect Roundup Exposure

High exposure to glyphosate through usage of Roundup results from both direct and indirect exposure to the chemical.

Direct Roundup Exposure

Direct exposure results from spraying Roundup without adequate protection to the body. One should avoid all exposures to Roundup, including inadvertent exposure such as contact with the skin from splatter, or the mist from the spray that manifests through the air and gets absorbed through the body’s mouth, eyes, and nose. This type of exposure affects everyone who uses Roundup, from the recreational gardener who may seasonally manage weeds on their property to the industrial farmer who is drenched in Roundup after a day in the field spraying crops. These examples exhibit two Roundup uses that may be considered to have had high exposure through chronic low-dose or high-dose in a short-term, respectively.

Indirect Roundup Exposure

Many are indirectly exposed to Roundup on a daily basis. Traces of Roundup have been found worldwide in:

  • Soil
  • Ground water
  • Air
  • Rain
  • Food (Van Bruggen et al., 2018) (internal citations omitted). Read the review here.

In fact, The Annals of Occupational Hygiene reported in 2007 that 60-80% of the general public have traces of glyphosate in their urine. (Curwin et al, 2007). Read the study here.

According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, the prevalence of Roundup in humans that test positive for traces of Roundup has increased 500% within the past two decades. (Mills, Kania-Korwel & Fagan, 2017).  Read the study here.

With traces of Roundup being found in the public at greater quantities, “concerns have emerged about chronic effects of the formulated products on human and animal diseases, in particular various forms of cancers.” (Van Bruggen et al., 2018) (internal citations omitted). Read the review here.

The Monsanto Papers

After 45 years, why are we now discovering that Roundup – the product that WHO declared to be probably carcinogenic – is widely found in people and has caused a multitude of possible biological disruptions?

A good answer lies within The Monsanto Papers – Monsanto’s internal emails, manuscripts, reports, testimonies, text messages, etc. that were made public during a recent lawsuit. This collection of documents revealed that Monsanto was “ghostwriting” articles for scientists, who would earn royalties from Monsanto and publish Monsanto’s work as their own. The International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, concluded that

“Monsanto [sic] has poisoned the well by flooding the scientific journals with ghostwritten articles and interfering in the scientific process at multiple levels. This has enormously complicated the task of discovering the truth. If the company had confidence in the safety of its products, there would be no need for such behavior, but it is obvious that there are problems that Monsanto needs to conceal.” Read the article here.

Monsanto’s ghostwriting has been reverberated in state and federal court. In a judicial opinion by the Honorable Vince Chhabria of the District Court for the Northern District of California, the court held that “… there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead of manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue.” In re Roundup Prod. Liabl. Littig., No. 16-MD-02741-VC, 2019 WL 1084170, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 7, 2019).  Read the opinion here.

This alleged deceit led non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient Dewayne Johnson to file a lawsuit against Monstanto.

Hundreds of Millions Awarded to Roundup Lawsuit Plaintiffs

As of August 2019, only three of 18,000 lawsuits have gone to trial. In all three trials, the jury awarded each plaintiff over $80 million in compensation. Here are their stories:

1. Dewayne “Lee” Johnson v. Monsanto

Dewayne “Lee” Johnson was a groundskeeper and pest manager for the Benicia Unified School District in the California Bay Area. He would wake up at the crack of dawn so he could spray the school grounds with RoundupPro® before the students arrived. This form of Roundup has a friendly citrus-coloring and Johnson innocently referred to it as “juice,” completely unaware of the hidden dangers.

On an average morning, Johnson went to spray “the juice,” but the sprayer broke and drenched him in RoundupPro. He washed off in the sink, changed his clothes and took an especially long shower that night. Shortly thereafter, he got a rash that progressively worsened until his entire body was covered in lesions. Johnson was sent to a few doctors until a biopsy revealed that he had non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. One year later, doctors informed him that the cancer was aggressive and he would likely die within a few years.

Johnson declined to pursue legal action, until he called Monsanto and informed them about his cancer, to which, Monsanto said they’d call him back. Monsanto never called him back and Johnson pursued legal action. A California jury found Roundup to be a substantial factor in Johnson’s cancer and awarded him $289 million. Read more about Johnson here.

As of April 2019, Monsanto has appealed the verdict.

2. Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto

Edwin Hardeman sprayed Roundup on his properties from about the 1980s to 2012. On Christmas Day in 2014, Hardeman discovered that he had a swollen lymph node in his neck. Naturally, he went to a doctor to have it examined and a biopsy revealed Hardeman had stage three B-cell lymphoma – a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When Hardeman was undergoing chemotherapy, he saw a news report about the IARC classifying glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic.”

Shortly thereafter, Hardeman learned that glyphosate was the main ingredient in Roundup and filed a lawsuit in February 2016. In August 2018, Hardeman won his trial and received about $80 million.

As of April 2019, Monsanto has appealed the verdict.

3. Pilliod v. Monsanto

Alva and Alberta Pilliod have been married for over 48 years. Alberta is a retired school principal and teacher, and Mr. Pilliod is an Army Veteran and a Goodyear sales manager. The Pilliods regularly sprayed Roundup at their home and rental properties – wholly believing the product was safe for use in shorts and a t-shirt – as Monsanto has portrayed in advertisements. After 30 years of use, both Pilliods were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma:  Mr. Pilliod was diagnosed in 2011 of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and Mrs. Pilliod was diagnosed in 2015 of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the central nervous system.

The Pilloids filed suit in May 2019 and were collectively awarded $87 million by a jury two months later.

Have you suffered a cancer diagnosis following exposure to Roundup?

Wilentz, Goldman, & Spitzer, P.A. is accepting cases from individuals who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, leukemia, or another circulatory cancer after being exposed to Roundup. If you or a loved one has suffered a cancer diagnosis following Roundup exposure, you may be eligible to file a Roundup cancer lawsuit. Call us today for a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options.