Monsanto faces Roundup lawsuits over weedkiller cancer link
September 23, 2016
The agricultural giant Monsanto is facing lawsuits alleging that the weedkiller Roundup may cause an increased cancer risk. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto by farm workers and others who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup.
A 2015 study published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization, found that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, was “probably carcinogenic”. The study found that glyphosate caused cancer in laboratory animals and damaged DNA in humans. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing the safety of glyphosate.
Attorneys representing Roundup users who were diagnosed with cancer say that there are more studies pointing to a link between Roundup and cancer, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lawsuits filed on behalf of Roundup users allege that Monsanto has known about the cancer risk of the weedkiller for decades, but failed to properly warn consumers about the dangers of the product.
Some of the Roundup lawsuits against Monsanto were filed on behalf of migrant farm workers who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup in Texas, California, or other states. Other lawsuits over Roundup have been filed by farmers who were exposed to glyphosate or consumers who used the weedkiller in their backyard or home garden. In July, a federal judge in Hawaii rejected a motion filed by Monsanto to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the company by a coffee farm owner who was diagnosed with lymphoma after years of exposure to Roundup.
In January 2016, Monsanto filed a lawsuit in California to prevent glyphosate from being added to a state list of known carcinogens. California state law requires health officials to maintain a list of cancer causing chemicals and to inform residents about their risks. The lawsuit would prevent California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment from adding glyphosate to this list.
Monsanto is also facing hundreds of lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who allege that they were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a result of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs, which were once widely used as a coolant in electrical equipment, copy paper, and heat transfer fluids, were later declared to be a known carcinogen by the WHO. Monsanto is facing at least 700 lawsuits filed by individuals who allege that they were diagnosed with lymphoma after being exposed to PCBs.
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