Roundup and Monsanto
Since its entry into the lawn care market in the early 1970s, Roundup has been a staple of many agricultural, residential, and commercial crop, yard, and landscape maintenance programs. Initially used as just a weedkiller, Roundup, which was developed by the massive corporate entity known as Monsanto, became more than just a way to prevent dandelions from growing between the cracks in the sidewalk. Due to the parent company’s numerous forays into genetic modification of plants, they found that they could develop crops that were resistant to their weed killers, thus allowing farmers and others to vastly increase the amount of Roundup that they used with the apparent results being that the weeds died and the plants did not.
Roundup and Glyphosate
As is commonly known, one of the primary active ingredients in Roundup is the herbicide glyphosate. After undergoing numerous studies, it appears that the verdict on the toxicity of glyphosate is still undetermined. According to a study from Cornell University, in most cases of exposure to glyphosate resulted in no noticeable toxic effects. It is believed that this is due to the fact that, according to the studies, glyphosate is easily taken in by the human digestive tract and then passed through and out the body. Still, in July of 2017, courts in California made the decision to add glyphosate to a long list of chemicals that, according to Proposition 65, cause cancer, and numerous individuals who have been exposed to glyphosate due to the use of Roundup have developed Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
One of the primary suspected reasons for this is that, while the studies examined the effects of glyphosate on humans and animals, they did not study the effect that this chemical can have after it is combined with all the other toxic substances found within Roundup. It is a fact that many individuals hold to the belief that the cocktail of substances within Roundup results in a cascade toxicity, thus rendering each far more dangerous than they would be on their own.
The $289 Million Settlement (Part I)
Dewayne Johnson was a groundskeeper for a school district located close to San Francisco. During his time as the primary individual responsible for maintaining the property of numerous schools, Mr. Johnson was obliged to apply Roundup as much as 30 times every year in order to prevent weeds from growing in unwanted areas.
According to Mr. Johnson, in 2012 something happened to cause him to be completely drenched in Roundup. Sometime later, another incident occurred to once again cause him to be soaked to the bone with Roundup and glyphosate. Then, in 2014, Dewayne Johnson was diagnosed as having contracted non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
A particularly aggressive form of cancer, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma begins within the body’s lymphatic system. When the lymphatic system is working properly, the lymphocytes (a specific sort of white blood cell) exist throughout a well-documented life cycle in which the cells that die off are then replaced by new cells, thus ensuring that the lymphatic system is always operating at peak performance. When an individual contracts Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, this normal life cycle is disrupted; instead of dying when the should, the lymphocytes keep growing, dividing, and creating a massive oversupply of cells within your lymph nodes (resulting in a tell-tale swelling of the lymph nodes).
As the lymphatic system is the center for combating diseases, this sort of malfunction quickly becomes catastrophic as the body becomes more and more vulnerable to the bacteria or viruses that surround us every day.
While there are many different types of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the symptoms experienced by individuals suffering from this cancer are all similar, and they include:
- Painlessly swollen lymph nodes along the neck and groin as well as under the arm.
- Swelling and pain in the abdominal area
- Unusual and inexplicable weight loss
- Night sweats
- Chronic exhaustion and fatigue
- Trouble breathing that may or may not be accompanied by chest pains and a cough.
Currently, doctors are at a loss when it comes to concretely identifying just what causes Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, although there are numerous hypothesis. One of the primary thoughts in relation to this is that this form of cancer is possible caused by exposure to toxic chemicals. Chemicals such as glyphosate.
The $289 Million Settlement (Part II)
After much research and conversation with doctors, Dewayne Johnson became certain that the reason behind the sudden onset of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was the direct result of his coming into contact with Roundup and glyphosate year after year. Although Mr. Johnson is not the first person to attempt to hold Monsanto responsible for the proliferation of their chemicals and their lack of concern for those who continually work with them, his is the first ever lawsuit to go all the way to a trial where the primary claim was that the chemical glyphosate was the cause of the cancer and that the Monsanto corporation attempted to withhold or obfuscate this information before it reached the unwitting consumer.
As such, the outcome of this particular trail was closely watched as a possible trendsetter for future cases relating to similar claims. A San Francisco jury heard from both Monsanto’s lawyers and from the increasingly debilitated Mr. Johnson. They heard how he struggled to tell his family of his terminal cancer, how he quickly became unable to work, and how his wife was then forced to take two separate 40-hour-per-week jobs in order to provide for their two children as well as the increasingly weak Mr. Johnson. The advancement of the cancer became so intense that doctors tending to the ex-groundskeeper were afraid that his cancer would overcome him before the trial. Thankfully, their fears were put to rest when he was able to attend both the trial and the ultimate sentencing.
After three days of deliberation, the jury working for the San Francisco’s Superior Court of California decided in favor of Mr. Johnson. The results of this decision? A $39 million compensation payout as well as $250 million for punitive damages, all of which was awarded to Mr. Johnson.
At the time of this writing, there are over 4,000 lawsuits similar to that of Dewayne Johnson that are being directed at Monsanto from throughout the entirety of the United States. Up until this point, their futures seemed remarkably uncertain. Now, with the courage of this one person, thousands and thousands of individuals suffering from terminal cancer as a result of their continued exposure to Roundup can hope once more in a better future for their families.
How this Affects You
Roundup has become almost ubiquitous when it comes to the maintenance of crops and yards. Every year, millions of people use the spray to ensure that their properties remain free of invasive or undesirable plants, spraying as much as needed to create a change. This means that thousands and thousands of gallons of Roundup are being dumped into the earth every year, and while it is true that studies have yet to definitively link glyphosate to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it is also true that they have yet to definitively rule against this link. To make matters even more uncertain, the studies cited by Monsanto in their defense were only concerned with examining the effects of glyphosate on its own, meaning that the combined effects of glyphosate and the other chemicals found within Roundup have yet to be explored. Until Monsanto begins to take responsibility for their actions, thousands and thousands of people will continue to be at risk to contract terminal cancer.
Orlando Lawyer Fighting Monsanto
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and if it is possible that this is the result of exposure to Roundup, then the legal team at the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. is here to help. With our years of experience standing by victims of corporate greed and inhumanity, we are the perfect advocate for you in this difficult time. To schedule a initial free consultation with one of our trained and experienced legal staff, call us today at 877-FL-INJURY. Our job is to act as your advocate in the courtroom, ensuring that you and your loved ones can gather together in peace knowing that your interests are being defended.
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