A state court stopped a lawsuit by Monsanto giving California the freedom to declare officially that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer causes cancer. There are 100 lawsuits in MDL (multidistrict litigation) overseen by U.S. Judge Vince Chhabria from the Northern District of California. An MDL is when cases with similar complaints are consolidated to take place in one court with one judge. This lowers court costs, allows a faster outcome, and is generally more efficient.
In 2015, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced that it would add glyphosate to its ever-growing list of chemicals known to cause cancer. In January 2016, Monsanto sued to block the listing, maintaining that the state acted unconstitutionally in listing glyphosate. Monsanto also argued that the value of its Roundup trademark would be irreparably damaged, that is First Amendment right to free speech was threatened if the state required warning labels on the company’s glyphosate products.
Glyphosate Adverse Effect on Farm Workers
March 10, State Superior Court Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan ruled that California may add glyphosate to its carcinogen list. Significant health issues have emerged among farm workers due to glyphosate exposure, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma (caner of the lymph nodes).
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In recent decades, the use of Roundup has skyrocketed because of Roundup’s allegedly bogus reputation as “safer than table salt.” In addition, Monsanto sells “Roundup-ready” crops such as soy, corn, alfalfa, and cotton. Farmers spray Roundup on crops, killing the weeds, while leaving the crops unharmed.
Due to the spread of glyphosate-resistant crops, use of the herbicide has increased more than tenfold since 1995.
America’s farming belt, where most of the food in the U.S. is grown, is hit the hardest. The list is long:
- West: California, Washington, Montana, and Texas
- Midwest: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota
- Mississippi River: Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee
- Atlantic seaboard: New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina
Wake-Up Calls from Science Community
The international scientific community sent two very loud wake-up calls last month. First, the UN World Health Organization’s prestigious International Agency for Research on Cancer released a consensus report that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is a “probable carcinogen.” Several days later, a team of international scientists based in New Zealand told that widely available commercial formulations of Roundup, 2,4-D and dicamba can lead to the development of antibiotic resistance in common disease-causing bacteria, according to PAN (Pesticide Action Network).
In addition to these reports, there’s a growing body of evidence on health impacts associated with exposure to glyphosate or Roundup, such as endocrine disruption, organ damage and birth defects.
Exposure to this probable carcinogen is virtually unavoidable at this point. Since Roundup-Ready seeds engineered to be resistant to its top-selling herbicide 20 years ago, herbicide use in this country has gone through the roof. Over 500 million additional pounds, most of it Roundup, have been applied since then. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Geological Survey has found Roundup in our air, rain, streams, and surface water.
Reuters reports it is showing up in our food, including honey, soy sauce, flour and breast milk, for example. The fact that we do not even know what other foods are contaminated or how much glyphosate we have in our bodies is simply because we are not looking for it, remarks Consumer Reports.
Roundup is Not the Only Dangerous Pesticide
It is not just about Roundup. Many other pesticides commonly used in this country’s agriculture have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption, neurological and developmental damage and other harmful health and environmental effects. For example, Atrazine, the second most widely used pesticide in the U.S. is a possible carcinogen, endocrine disruptor and groundwater contaminant. And 2,4-D (the ingredient which along with glyphosate, is in Dow’s Enlist Duo weed killer) is a reproductive and developmental toxicant, suspected endocrine disruptor and possible carcinogen with links to non-Hodgkins lymphoma and birth defects of the heart, circulatory and respiratory systems.
No farmer should have to choose between cancer striking his or her family and making a decent living. However, apparently, EPA and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) have, to date not offered a solution to this predicament. It is believed that it is possible to grow corn, soybeans, small grains and all manner of fruit and vegetable crops in biologically based, diversified farming systems. Agroecological practices such as ecological weed and insect pest management, combined with smart soil and water conservation practices are being employed by innovative farmers all over the country. The problem is not about lack of sustainable solutions, but that large pesticide companies, like Monsanto, seem to put corporations’ profits above people’s well-being, according to PAN.
Legal Help for Roundup Issues
If you or someone you know was injured by the use of Roundup or any chemical product, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman LLP offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For information, we urge you to contact our personal injury lawyers at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).