“Roundup”, a common household weed killer, has been brought to court with cases claiming that product can cause cancer. The most recent of the cancer claims are Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma due to the main ingredient in Roundup, Glyphosate.
Roundup is a crop weed control product created by Monsanto, which was purchased by Bayer for $66 Billion in 2016. This purchase not only gave Bayer ownership of all products made by Monsanto but their product liabilities as well.
In light of recent events, Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops play a larger role in Roundup’s pending lawsuits than first meets the eye. In Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally, an environmental science journal entry researched and written by Charles M. Benbrook; Monsanto appears to have facilitated Roundup’s usage over the years in farmlands.
In 1996, Monsanto genetically engineered crops that would not be affected by herbicides such as Roundup. These crops were labeled “Roundup Ready”, or RR for short, and could be sprayed with the herbicide without any worry of harming the crops. In short, Monsanto not only created genetically engineered crops, but also the most common weed killer that will not stunt the yield of the crops. Key crops that have been genetically modified are as follows: soybeans, maize, alfalfa, cotton, and wheat.
Before RR crops were available, farmers would spray herbicide for weeds before the crops emerged from the soil, or after the harvest of the crops to help manage weeds in the fields. However, according to the environmental study, after RR crops became an affordable cost by farmers, the average farmer was spraying herbicides such as Roundup 1-3 times during the crops’ growth period. In 1992 approximately 10 million pounds of glyphosate were applied to crops in America. Then, in 2014, approximately 250 million pounds were applied to crops in America. In fact, 67% of glyphosate’s use in agriculture has been done in the last 10 years because of the price of glyphosate has dropped tremendously over the years, which has led to widely available genetically modified crops for purchase.
For the farmer, RR crops are effective, because they lower labor costs, and help stop or deter soil erosion in areas where the crops are planted. Yet, Mr. Benbrook’s study has shown that there is another factor that has increased the use of glyphosate in recent years, the weeds are becoming more resistant to the chemical. This forces the farmer to increase their use of herbicides like Roundup, which means more glyphosate is being sprayed onto our crops, which means the crops affected could end up on our dinner tables each night.
In essence, this means that more genetically engineered crops are being planted, and more glyphosate is being sprayed onto the fields. However, the study does point out, “With few exceptions though, contemporary levels of glyphosate in the air, water, and food result in typical human exposure estimate that remains well below the “levels of concern” or “Acceptable Daily Intakes” established by regulatory bodies around the world”. However, according to a recent interview done by Mike Papantonio, the chemical glyphosate causes “genetic damage, birth defects…liver damage, kidney damage, and blood cancers.” This could explain why some European countries, such as Germany, have banned herbicides that are intended to kill weeds.
The most recent cases against the product Roundup have been made by individuals who have used the product earlier than 1996, so we may not yet know the full impact of glyphosate. However, as more and more individuals make claims and take Bayer to court over Roundup, we may soon become privy to the true dangers of this chemical.
If you or a loved one have suffered from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, call the experienced lawyers at Forester Haynie for exceptional legal representation.