Below, we discuss some updates to the more than 9,300 lawsuits that have been filed against Monsanto Co. and its owner Bayer AG over health concerns, including cancer, associated with its Roundup weed killer product. In addition, we provide information on a number of additional concerns related to its use outside of agricultural products, including the use of the product on playgrounds and athletic fields:
Plaintiffs Experience Litigation Setbacks in December & January
In December, Judge Chhabria proposed bifurcation of the upcoming bellwethers into separation causation trials. If, in the first part of the trial, it is determined that glyphosate caused the plaintiff’s cancer and the trial proceeds, in the second phase, evidence of Monsanto’s misconduct will be allowed in determining the company’s liability. Bayer currently faces more than 9,300 lawsuits over health impacts of Roundup.
On January 2, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that class action certification was inappropriate concerning allegations that Bayer AG and Monsanto Co. allegedly falsely advertised that its main ingredient, glyphosate, did not negatively impact humans or pets.
In furtherance of the companies’ efforts to hide as much scientific information as possible from the trial proceedings, on January 4, U.S. District Judge Chhabria declined to reconsider a ruling that limits what evidence plaintiffs can rely on in their case. Specifically, his court order bars plaintiffs’ attorneys from introducing evidence that Monsanto Co. And Bayer AG purposely attempted to influence regulators and manipulate the public in the first half of the case. This evidence includes crucial information concerning the link between glyphosate and cancer and internal documents from Monsanto relevant to demonstrating that the company was involved in misconduct.
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Who Else Is Affected?
The August 2018 $289 million verdict for one man who regularly worked with Roundup as part of his job was groundbreaking, but what about the millions of others who have used Roundup in other capacities; for example, occasionally in their yards? There is no question that exposure to glyphosate is especially harmful to children. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, children between ages one and two face a much higher exposure than adults.
The $289 million verdict not only had to do with glyphosate being dangerous, but also that cancer can result from glyphosate interacting with other chemicals in Roundup. Still, unfortunately, a number of experts have pointed out that, when it comes to determining the specifics, we simply need more data when it comes to the effects of Roundup on users like these, and how much protection, exactly, we need from it. Regardless, when it comes to commercial chemicals, relying on the precautionary principle in the face of the unknown is always wise. According to non-industry scientists, the overall consensus is that “there is no safe level of exposure to glyphosate.”
Roundup Continues To Be Found in More & More Food Products
According to studies conducted by the Environmental Working Group, glyphosate isn’t just found in Cheerios, but also in a number of oat-based products such as Kind Bars, Lucky Charms, and Nature Valley granola bars. All were found to contain levels of glyphosate due to the use of Roundup in modern agriculture. Specifically, in 43 out of 45 samples of conventionally grown oats tested, glyphosate was detected, and in 31 of these cases, levels were above the existing limit of 160 parts per billion (ppb). Perhaps most alarming were products like Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, which contained levels higher than 1,000 ppb. It is important to note, however, that the results were significantly better when it came to testing organic products.
In addition, accumulation of the chemical in drinking water is a significant issue in farming areas, especially when it comes to accumulating in our tissues over time. Plants reportedly starting developing resistance to Roundup around 1994, which led farmers to use more and more to kill weeds, allowing more glyphosate to make its way into our bodies. According to urine samples screened, one-third to one-half of people tested contain levels of glyphosate in their urine. These levels have reportedly more than doubled in two decades. And, according to the studies done thus far, indirect, chronic exposure is just as important as direct exposure.
What about Schools, Parks & Sports Fields?
There are currently a number of efforts underway to ban the use of Roundup in county parks, schools, athletic fields, and playgrounds due to concerns over its ability to cause cancer. In fact, some schools boards have already voted to look into alternatives after hearing concerns from employees and parents about the long-term health impacts of Roundup. Some of these entities took action after organizations collected hundreds of signatures from parents concerned about the use of Roundup on athletic fields and playgrounds. Many officials around the country aren’t waiting for scientists to “gather more data,” but rather, have pointed out that enough is already known to make a clear choice between “having weeds or having cancer.” Some of these officials are also concerned that it is only a matter of time before counties are sued for placing employees, visitors, and others who frequent the parks in harm’s way.
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Contact Our Roundup Weed Killer Injury & Recovery Attorneys
Unfortunately, Roundup is still the most heavily used pesticide in the United States, with more than 250 million pounds sprayed on our crops each year–crops that are sprayed before harvest–thus increasing the chances of our food retaining those pesticide levels.
The litigation currently filed in association with Roundup weed killer demonstrates just how complex these issues can become in court. Existing scientific evidence is absolutely crucial to present to a jury if you are going to help everyone understand the full picture regarding the impacts of this product, which means you need to work with attorneys who can effectively ensure that this evidence is introduced in court.
If you or a loved one has been harmed due to exposure to Roundup or another form of glyphosate, contact our experienced personal injury and products liability attorneys today to find out how we can help.