Does Roundup Cause Cancer?

A recent wave of plaintiff victories in California trials has brought the safety of the herbicide Roundup into the spotlight of public scrutiny. While its manufacturer, Bayer AG, claims the product is safe, three juries have thought otherwise after being presented with a trove of evidence from both sides of the debate. The plaintiffs claim the active ingredient in Roundup is a human carcinogen that can cause a form of blood cancer after exposure from just a couple of applications. Bayer AG points to government reports assuring the public that Roundup is a safe product that does not cause cancer. Below is a summary of where the litigation stands today and how it got here.

What is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the most popular herbicide in the world, Roundup. Roundup was introduced to the herbicide market in the 1970s by Monsanto, which was recently purchased by roundup-sprayBayer AG.

How does Glyphosate Cause Cancer?

Recent studies have found a connection between glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL), a cancer of the blood. NHL starts in the body’s white blood cells and affects the lymphatic system, which helps fight infections, diseases, and moves fluids throughout the body. Lymphomas can be found anywhere in the body where there is lymph tissue such as:

  • Lymph nodes
  • Spleen
  • Bone Marrow
  • Thymus
  • Adenoids and tonsils
  • Digestive track

What Have The Studies Found?

A 2019 study published in Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research analyzed the impact of glyphosate exposure on mice. The researchers found increased rates of malignant lymphoma, immunosuppression, endocrine disruption, and genetic alterations commonly associated with NHL or lymphomagenesis.

The study used a meta-analysis which included the most recent update of Agricultural Health Study (AHS) published in 2018 in addition to five case-control studies that have shown a meta-relative risk of NHL in glyphosate-based herbicide exposed individuals of 41%. In other words, the case control studies concluded that those with the highest exposure to glyphosate had a 41 percent increase in risk of developing NHL.

This study comes after a 2015 report by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that classified glyphosate as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The IARC report states that glyphosate can cause NHL by altering DNA and causing chromosomal damage in human cells, specifically by altering protein expression.

What are Experts Saying?

Pathologist Dr. Dennis Weisenburger testified at two of the three Roundup trials that using Roundup more than two days per year doubles the risk of developing NHL. His research focuses on a correlation between counties with high rates of NHL and large concentrations of crops sprayed with glyphosate-based products.

Toxicology expert Dr. William Sawyer testified at a California trial that Monsanto made glyphosate up to 50 times more toxic by selling Roundup that contained a surfactant called polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA). Dr. Sawyer claimed that POEA allows glyphosate to easily penetrate the skin, and the body then stores it under the skin before transferring doses to the bones, where NHL develops.

What is Bayer AG Saying?

Bayer AG maintains that glyphosate is not a carcinogen and that Roundup products are safe. The company relies on a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is partially based on research conducted in 1973 by Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories (IBT) that determined that glyphosate is not a carcinogen and poses no risk to human health. The company also cites that the European Chemicals Agency’s study found similar results.

However, plaintiffs claim that the EPA’s report is based off of fraudulent studies, as the EPA itself invalidated the results of the 1973 study after it was discovered that IBT had falsified its data.

The EPA’s relationship with Monsanto (the former manufacturers of Roundup) has also been criticized, especially after a Monsanto email appeared claim that an EPA official would kill a government agency’s review on glyphosate safety, which showed an increased risk of NHL after use of Roundup.

Further, it was uncovered in 2017 that a Monsanto executive had discussed ghost writing a study to combat the IARC report.

What are Juries Doing?

On May 13, 2019, a California jury awarded a couple who contracted NHL after Roundup use $2.055 billion, $2 billion of which represented punitive damages against Bayer AG. The award was the largest plaintiff verdict to date in the Roundup litigation. Plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilloid used Roundup on their properties for decades, leading to extended exposure and both developing rare forms of NHL. Although their cancer is in remission, the Pilloids suffered brain damage and lifelong injuries as a result of their NHL diagnosis.

The Pillioids’ case is the third Roundup case to go to trial over glyphosate allegedly causing NHL. In March 2019, a jury awarded Ed Hardeman $80 million in damages due to his use of Roundup. In August 2018, a San Francisco state court jury awarded groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson $289 million in damages after determining that his use of Roundup caused his terminal NHL.

Have I been Exposed to Glyphosate?

According to the 2015 IARC report, glyphosate is the most popular pesticide in the world and its largest use is in agriculture. However, glyphosate is also used in forestry, urban gardening, and home applications. Glyphosate has also been detected in the air during crop spraying and in water and food supplies. The IARC report states that the general population has likely been exposed to low levels glyphosate due to their home being located near sprayed areas, their home use of glyphosate, and diets.

What Should I Do Now?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma after using Roundup, contact the Minnesota Cancer Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw. With over 30 years of experience fighting corporate negligence, we deliver the Gold standard advocacy you deserve.

FDA RECALL: Serious Complications from Colorectal, Bariatric, or Gastric Surgeries? A Surgical Stapler may be to Blame

On May 16th, 2019,  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson, to recall more than 92,000 Circular Staplers that are used in gastrointestinal and bariatric surgeries.

The FDA has identified this as a Class I recall, the most serious type of recall. They have stated, “Use of these devices may cause serious injuries or death​.”

Who May be Affected

Patients who have had or may undergo gastrointestinal surgery, such as patients with colorectal cancer and bariatric patients.

The FDA Recall Notice states: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned by the increasing number of adverse events associated with surgical staplers and staples for internal use and is providing additional recommendations for health care providers to help protect patient safety and reduce the risk of adverse events associated with these devices.”

What are the injuries?

Potential injuries to patients include:

  • Death
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Need for permanent ostomy “bag”
  • Life-long nutritional and digestive issues
  • Leak in the closure (anastomotic leak)
  • Additional surgeries
  • Need for additional closures (anastomoses)
  • Need for antibiotics
  • Need for additional imaging studies

FDA’s Reason for Recall

The FDA states:

“Complaints of  uncut washers in the stapler and malformed staples occur with their intraluminal circular staplers due to insufficient firing, which can compromise staple line integrity. When the washer is cut, confirming completion of the firing cycle, the surgeon experiences an audible and tactile crunch. Failure to cut the washer suggests complete 360-degree staple line failure.

In addition, an investigation of the manufacturing process detected a shift in a process, which occurred in March 2018 and continued through March 8, 2019, at which time the line was shut down.

The use of affected product may cause serious patient harm or death. Ethicon confirmed serious injuries. Misfiring of the stapler resulted in an additional resection — of the middle rectum in one patient and the lower rectum in another patient — during the planned resection of the upper rectum.”

What Should I Do Now?

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury after colorectal, bariatric, or bypass surgery, please contact the Minnesota Defective Medical Device Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw. With over 30 years of experience litigating complex medical device case, we will deliver the Gold standard advocacy you deserve.

Jury Awards $2.055 Billion In Roundup Cancer Case

If Roundup is safe, drink it. That was the message that one California juror wanted to send Bayer AG in issuing a shocking $2.055 billion verdict on behalf of a man and his wife claiming Roundup caused their cancer. The May 13 verdict represented the third consecutive plaintiff victory and the largest monetary damages issued to-date in the increasingly high profile litigation centered on one of the world’s most popular weed killers.

The verdict includes $55 million in compensatory damages to plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilloid and $2 billion in punitive damages. The couple claimed they had used Roundup on their properties for decades and that extended exposure eventually caused them to develop rare forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The Pilloids are currently in remission, but each suffered brain damage and other lasting injuries from their battles with NHL.

The trial focused on the key question of whether Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is a carcinogen. Glyphosate was first found to be an effective herbicide in 1970 and was introduced to the market in 1974 by Monsanto under the name brand Roundup. Monsanto was acquired by Bayer AG in 2016.

Plaintiffs alleged that the product’s initial approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was based off of fraudulent studies conducted by Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories. The studiesRoundup Container were later invalidated by the EPA after IBT was found to have falsified its data. However, the EPA continued to cite the IBT study as recently as 2016 in its efforts to maintain that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.

The EPA’s close relationship with Monsanto was heavily scrutinized by the plaintiffs, who produced internal Monsanto e-mails that suggest an EPA official had offered to kill another government agency’s review of the safety of glyphosate. That review, conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease registry, was completed earlier this year and concluded that “multiple studies” have found an increased risk of NHL after use of Roundup.

The plaintiffs also produced evidence that a Monsanto executive had discussed ghost writing a study to combat a 2015 announcement by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The IARC report relied on evidence from studies that found glyphosate can damage DNA, which can lead to the development of cancer. The report also analyzed studies that found increased rates of malignant tumors in mice and rates that were exposed to glyphosate. Many of the tumors were linked to rare types of cancer that typically don’t occur by themselves. These studies were also used by the Pilloids to show how exposure to glyphosate can cause cancer.

Perhaps the most damaging testimony came from plaintiffs’ toxicology expert, Dr. William Sawyer, who argued that Monsanto made glyphosate up to 50 times more toxic by selling Roundup that contained a surfactant called polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA). Dr. Sawyer told the jury that POEA can allow glyphosate to easily penetrate the skin, and from there the body can store it under the skin and transfer doses of the chemical to bones, where NHL develops, for up to a week.

Despite the massive verdict, Bayer AG continues to maintain that Roundup is safe and plans on appealing the decision. The company has consistently pointed to findings by the EPA, the European Chemicals Agency, and other world health bodies that use of Roundup is not linked to cancer. However, three California juries have now disagreed with Bayer’s arguments to the tune of $289 million last August, $80 million in March 2019, and now $2.055 billion.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup, contact the Minnesota Cancer Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw. With over 30 years of experience litigating complex cancer cases, we deliver the Gold standard advocacy you deserve.