The Roundup cancer lawsuit has divided the scientific community for over a decade. It has also divided farmers, consumers, and investors in Monsanto, who have seen the stock price fall on news of the court case.
But what have we learned about the safety of Roundup weedkiller? What are the stakes? And will this class action lawsuit change anything? Here’s what you need to know:
Overview of the Roundup lawsuit
Roundup is a popular herbicide used on crops all over the world. It’s manufactured by Monsanto, which has been accused of hiding the dangers of Roundup for decades. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup and has been linked to cancer.
The first Roundup cancer lawsuit was filed in 2016 by a school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, who claimed that his use of Roundup caused him to develop cancer. Since then, thousands more plaintiffs have filed suit against Monsanto, alleging similar claims that their exposure to glyphosate caused them or their loved ones’ cancers.
There are currently more than 30,000 pending lawsuits against Monsanto over their claims regarding Roundup’s link with NHL.
The Science behind Roundup and Glyphosate
Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide that is used on crops genetically modified to resist it, as well as non-GMO crops. According to NBC News, it has been the most widely used herbicide in the world for nearly 50 years. Bayer, the manufacturer of Roundup, sells the most widely used glyphosate herbicide.
In the U.S., more than 13o pounds of glyphosate is sprayed per square mile. The International Agency for Research on Cancer ( IARC) has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic,” meaning there’s evidence of cancer-causing properties but not enough data to definitively say that it causes cancer in humans.
Another study by Moms Across America found traces of glyphosate in breastmilk samples from mothers across America, which means even low levels may be harmful over time if you’re exposed repeatedly throughout your life span. And many people are exposed daily via food sources because glyphosate is used so widely on produce farms like cornfields and soybean fields.
The Financial Impact on Monsanto
According to Lawsuit Information Center, by December 2022, Monsanto has settled nearly 100,000 Roundup Lawsuits, paying almost USD 11 billion for them. This was done mainly by negotiating block settlements with lawyers who had a large number of cases in the litigation.
And although they account for nearly 80% of all Roundup claims, about 26,000- 30,000 active cases remain. A woman with a Roundup lawsuit claim is expected to get around USD 120,000 in the settlement.
Monsanto stands accused of hiding evidence that its flagship herbicide causes cancer, and if it turns out that these accusations are true, then there could be dire consequences for the company’s bottom line and reputation alike.
Implications for Public Health and the Environment
The Roundup lawsuit is a significant environmental lawsuit due to the widespread use of the herbicide and the potential health and environmental impacts associated with its use. The lawsuit has brought attention to the potential dangers of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, linked to cancer and other health problems.
The lawsuit has also highlighted the potential impact of glyphosate on the environment, including harm to biodiversity and contamination of waterways. The outcome of the Roundup lawsuit has the potential to set important precedents for the use of pesticides and herbicides in agriculture and other industries, making it a landmark case in the history of environmental law.
The Impact on the Agricultural Industry
The impact on the agricultural industry is also significant. Monsanto has been the leader in genetically engineered crops, and its Roundup Ready seeds are used by farmers to control weeds. If glyphosate is found to be unsafe, it could change farming practices and have an impact on crop yields and prices.
A Ruling against Monsanto Would Have Far-Reaching Implications
A ruling against Monsanto would have far-reaching implications for the chemical industry worldwide, including makers of products such as lawn pesticides and herbicides used on farms.
Monsanto argues that it’s not responsible for any harm caused by Roundup because its product was labeled with warnings about potential health risks, while plaintiffs argue that these warnings were inadequate and didn’t inform people about all the dangers associated with exposure to glyphosate.
The stakes are high in this case, and the outcome is likely to have far-reaching implications for the chemical industry worldwide, including makers of products such as lawn pesticides and herbicides used on farms.
It could also affect how companies do business going forward and change how consumers shop for products such as cosmetics or personal care items containing chemicals like glyphosate or formaldehyde.