Roundup Verdicts Find Strong Public Support

While the manufacturers of Roundup—Bayer AG—combat thousands of lawsuits regarding the safety of their product, they are also facing a trial in the court of public opinion. A recent wave of plaintiff victories in California has brought the safety of the popular herbicide Roundup into question and produced immense public scrutiny. Although Bayer AG claims that Roundup is safe, three juries have disagreed after being presented with evidence from both sides of the case. The plaintiffs claim that the active ingredient in Roundup—glyphosate—is a human carcinogen that can cause a blood cancer known as Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).

What Juries are Saying

An extraordinary wave of juror advocacy has occurred after Bayer filed appeals to reduce the monetary damages awarded to the plaintiffs. Jurors from the Roundup trials have felt compelled to write letters to the judge voicing their profound concerns about Roundup’s safety.

Juror Robert Howard was one of nine jurors who concluded that glyphosate exposure likely caused former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson’s cancer and awarded him $289 million. After

gavel and law books

attending a post-trial hearing that suggested the award would be reduced, Howard felt a “civic duty” to write a letter to California Superior Court Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos expressing his concerns regarding Roundup’s safety. Howard now contributes to an anti-Roundup blog called Glyphosate Girl. Johnson’s award was later reduced to $78 million.

In another case, Judge Vince Chhabria reduced the jury’s award from $80.27 million to $25.27 million for Edwin Hardeman who used Roundup for decades starting in the 1980s and was diagnosed with NHL in 2014. After the jury’s award was slashed, a juror wrote the judge asking him not to decrease the award because “based on the evidence provided, ‘reprehensible’ is much too kind a word to describe the actions of the Monsanto employees responsible for putting Roundup on the shelves of stores without a cancer warning on the label.”

Juror Robert Howard from the Johnson trial also wrote to the judge in the Hardeman case expressing his hope that the jury’s award will stand: “It is just what happens when jurors find evidence of such egregious behavior by a company that they feel it is their duty to speak out and support their verdicts in the hope the company will be compelled to change its behavior.”

Public Sentiment About Roundup

The recent scientific discoveries regarding the dangers of glyphosate and the subsequent Roundup cases have sparked public outcry over the safety of Roundup.

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen.” The announcement triggered lawsuits against Monsanto- the original manufacturer of Roundup. Plaintiffs alleged that Monsanto knew of the purported health risks of Roundup since the 1990s when a connection between glyphosate and lymphoma was uncovered. However, the company downplayed the results and did not put a warning label on products leading consumers to believe it was safe.

Trials produced internal emails from Monsanto and the plaintiffs argued that company scientists were asked to “ghostwrite” scientific papers downplaying the link between lymphoma and glyphosate in addition to trying to change a well-known toxicologist’s opinion that glyphosate could cause a gene mutation associated with cancer. These emails sparked public outrage and a sense of betrayal over the safety of Roundup products.

Public outcry only intensified when environmental groups conducted a study that purportedly found glyphosate in cereals such as Cheerio – a favorite of many children. In a report by Olga Naidenko, Ph.D. and Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., glyphosate was found in 21 oat-based cereal and snack products. The study by the Environmental Working Group found that all but four of the products contained levels of glyphosate higher than what EWG scientists consider protective for children’s health and safety.

The report claims that these products are exposed to glyphosate when Roundup is sprayed on oats to act as a drying agent and induce an earlier harvest while increasing the likelihood that glyphosate ends up in the products.

A Parent’s Concern

Farmer John Barton sprayed Roundup daily for several weeks every year for more than thirty years during his career as a farmer. He hoped that spraying thousands of gallons of Roundup would kill the weeds threatening his cotton crop.

However, in light of the recent concerns regarding Roundup’s safety, he is very concerned about his health and the health of his children: “I just think about the amount of Roundup that I used over the years, and then my sons started working for me when Monsanto claimed it was a safe product. I let my sons put those sprayers on their backs, and I’m worried. Now my biggest concern is as a parent.”

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 Goldenberg Law. With over 30 years of experience fighting corporate negligence, we deliver the Gold standard advocacy you deserve

Allergan Issues Worldwide Recall of Breast Implant Products Due To Cancer Link

The FDA requested that the pharmaceutical company Allergan recall its textured breast implant products after discovering a connection between Allergan’s implants and a rare form of cancer, Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). In response, Allergan issued a worldwide recall of all of its textured breast implants and implant-related products.

What Is A Textured Breast Implant?

Allergan manufactures BIOCELL breast implants which include a uniquely textured shell-like surface to prevent the implant from slipping and minimizes scar tissue around the implants.

What Is BIA-ALCL and How Does A Textured Breast Implant Cause It?

Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is not breast cancer but actually non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) that grows within the scar tissue surrounding the implants and may spread throughout the body. BIA-ALCL grows slowly and can usually be treated with surgery to remove the implant and surrounding scar tissue. However, some patients may require chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

Textured breast implants have a rougher surface intended to reduce an implant’s movement, but may also lead to the development of cancer cells due to the rough surface causing inflation and irritation to the surrounding tissue.

How Do I know If I Have BIA-ALCL?

Symptoms of BIA-ALCL Include:

  • Pain
  • Lumps
  • Swelling
  • Breast asymmetry

What Is The FDA Saying?

As of May 2019, the FDA said that the risks of BIA-ALCL in textured breast implants did not warrant a national ban. However, as of July 24, 2019 the FDA has issued an updated statement explaining that new data shows a direct link between cancer and specifically textured breast implants manufactured by Allergan.

The data has concluded that more than 80% of 573 lymphoma cases have been linked to Allergan implants and 33 cases have resulted in the patient’s death. In addition, risk of BIA-ALCL with Allergan BIOCELL textured implants is approximately six times the risk of BIA-ALCL with textured implants from other manufacturers marketing in the U.S.

FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement regarding the textured breast implants that, “Although the overall incidence of BIA-ALCL appears to be relatively low, once the evidence indicated that a specific manufacturer’s product appeared to be directly linked to significant patient harm, including death, the FDA took action to alert the firm to new evidence indicating a recall is warranted to protect women’s health.”

How Common Is BIA-ALCL From Textured Breast Implants?

In countries such as France, Canada, and Australia BIA-ALCL from textured breast implants is common due to the products’ domination of the breast implant market by up to 80%. As a result, regulatory bodies similar to the FDA in these nations have already instituted bans on textured breast implants.

However, in the U.S., only 10% of all breast implants are textured breast implants. More specifically, macro-textured implants (the type Allergan manufacturers) are found in less than 5% of the breast implants marketed in the U.S.

Which Products Are Affected?

In response to the FDA uncovering cases of BIA-ALCL and BIA-ALCL-related deaths worldwide and the FDA’s request for a recall of all BIOCELL textured breast implants and tissue expanders marketed in the U.S., Allergan voluntarily issued a worldwide recall of their products.

Allergan’s textured breast implant recall includes:

  • Allergan Natrelle Saline-Filled Breast Implants
  • Allergan Natrelle Silicone-Filled Textured Breast Implants
  • Natrelle 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped Silicone-Filled Breast Implants

Allergan’s textured breast implant-related products include their tissue expander products used by patients prior to breast augmentation or reconstruction procedures:

  • Natrelle 133 Plus Tissue Expander
  • Natrelle 133 Tissue Expander with Suture Tabs

What Should I Do Now?

FDA Recommendations:

  • If you do not have symptoms from your breast implant, the FDA does not recommend having the implant removed due to low risk of cancer. However, speak to your health care provider about your concerns
  • Know the symptoms of BIA-ALCL and monitor the area around your breast implants
  • If you experience any symptoms, speak to your health care provider immediately to be evaluated
  • If your BIA-ALCL is confirmed by your health care provider, undergo implant and scar tissue removal surgery
  • Keep a record of the device manufacturer, device identifier, and implant model name (this information may be found on a patient device card from your surgeon or can be requested from your surgeon or the facility where your procedure was performed)
  • Know that most BIA-ALCL cases occur years after breast implant procedure
  • Talk with your surgeon regarding your risk of developing BIA-ALCL

What Should I Do If I Was Diagnosed With BIA-ALCL After Receiving Textured Breast Implants?  

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL after using an Allergan textured breast implant, contact the Minnesota Cancer Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw. With over 30 years of experience fighting corporate negligence, we deliver the Gold standard advocacy you deserve.

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.