Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is the most applied weed killer in the world. Formally known as glyphosate, it is the most-used agricultural chemical ever. Nearly 300 million pounds of glyphosate are used on crops worldwide each year.
The safety of Roundup is questionable at best. Some researchers believe the product is a carcinogen; it has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among agricultural laborers and gardeners, resulting in multiple lawsuits against the company.
Monsanto’s History Includes Agent Orange and GMOs
Even before glyphosate research emerged, Monsanto didn’t have a glowing reputation. The agricultural company manufactured Agent Orange during the Vietnam war and the environmentally harmful insulation chemical PCB until the 1980’s, which they are still handling legacy liabilities for.
Monsanto started selling glyphosate in the 1970’s. Its popularity, however, emerged alongside the introduction of genetically modified crops (GMOs) in the late 1990’s, which were designed to resist glyphosate. Through these “Roundup Ready” seeds, Monsanto has been able to control the agricultural industry, cementing glyphosate within the larger GMO debate.
The company’s credibility continues to erode worldwide as more and more activists rail against it each year. In 2013, annual March Against Monsanto events started to protest glyphosate and GMOs—400 marches across 40 countries happened for the 2015 event alone.
Monsanto’s reputation is so damaged that after their merger with Bayer in September 2016 (making it the biggest agrochemical company in the world), there were discussions that the German company would drop the Monsanto name in an attempt to save its brand.
Glyphosate is More Common Today than Ever Before
Glyphosate is an herbicide that targets a particular enzyme to prevent plant growth. Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds are resistant to its effects, causing only the weeds to die in its wake. They allege that the chemical is safe because this enzyme is only found in plants—not in humans nor animals.
Because the chemical has been used widely for 40 years, though, it has led to the creation of glyphosate-resistant superweeds. To date, as many has 263 glyphosate-resistant species have been reported around the world. In order to kill these unwanted plants, even stronger herbicides must be used on crops.
Worldwide, glyphosate usage is increasing. Seventy-five percent of all glyphosate sprayed since the 1970s occurred in the last 10 years alone. Though some countries are starting to restrict its use, these statistics suggest that glyphosate’s effects on environmental and human health will be present for years to come.
93% of People Have Traces of Glyphosate in their Bodies
The spike in glyphosate usage makes the chemical almost impossible to avoid, even for those who don’t directly handle Roundup. Traces of glyphosate have been found in oatmeal, honey, wine, and even baby food.
What’s more, even those who try to minimize their exposure by purchasing organic products are still at risk. Runoff from Roundup crops feed glyphosate into neighboring streams and rivers; animals, too, have been discovered to carry traces of glyphosate, making it a difficult chemical to contain.
In a study conducted by the Detox Project, 93% of volunteer test participants were discovered to have traces of glyphosate. Even more scary, children were discovered to have on average higher percentages of the chemical.
Glyphosate Linked with Health Complications Like Celiac Disease
As more glyphosate is sprayed, more people suffer from a host of health complications, like digestive diseases and food allergies.
A 2015 study found that rats who were exposed to Roundup in low doses suffered kidney and liver damage. In humans, MIT professor Stephanie Seneff found a correlation between the rise in glyphosate usage and celiac disease. Especially alarming, it has also been linked to cancer (celiac patients have an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, specifically).
W.H.O. and California Declare Glyphosate a Carcinogen
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO), says that the chemical is “probably carcinogenic.” This report led to California listing glyphosate as a carcinogen under its Prop 65 law in 2016. With more than 250 crop systems that use glyphosate in the state, this could lead to a significant decrease in its usage.
Monsanto is trying to fight back though. They filed a complaint against California, arguing that the IARC’s report was inaccurate. Monsanto points to governing bodies like the E.U. and the EPA for support, who have been slow to acknowledge the risks of glyphosate.
However, these governing bodies aren’t completely deluded. Though the E.U. recently extended glyphosate’s product license by 18 months, delegates did so under the wire and after voting against a 15-year extension, suggesting a recall may come soon. The EPA was similarly hesitant: After posting a report that said glyphosate does not cause cancer in May of 2016, they quickly took it down, stating that their assessment wasn’t final.
In response to these reports, several countries have banned glyphosate-based herbicides, including the Netherlands, France, and Sri Lanka.
Farmers File Lawsuits in Hawaii, California, and Nebraska
From Nebraska to Hawaiian Kona Coffee farms, dozens of lawsuits have emerged since scientists discovered that Roundup was potentially carcinogenic. Plaintiffs regularly used the herbicide and were later diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Complaints accuse the company of more than just manufacturing and selling a harmful product. A wrongful death lawsuit filed by attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., on behalf of a Californian widow, alleges that Monsanto intentionally misinformed government agencies and the public of the safety of Roundup.
“Mounting evidence suggests that Monsanto knew about the hazards posed by glyphosate exposure, but failed to disclose this information to the public.”
“Mounting evidence suggests that Monsanto knew about the hazards posed by glyphosate exposure, but failed to disclose this information to the public,” said Kennedy.
With warning labels in only one state and agencies like the EPA silent on glyphosate’s effects, Monsanto’s legal troubles will likely continue.
ClassAction.com Will Fight For You
ClassAction.com attorneys are fighting to hold Monsanto accountable for their hazardous product. If you used Monsanto’s Roundup Weed Killer and were diagnosed with a lymphatic cancer like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, we want to hear from you. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review. You may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.