Since the World Health Organization's (WHO's) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reclassified the active ingredient in Monsanto's most popular herbicide as a group 2A carcinogen in early 2015, lawsuits citing connections between the widely used Roundup product and various types of cancers have popped up throughout the country. After its release in 1974, the use of Roundup has steadily increased, making it the most heavily used herbicide in the world. Data indicates that Monsanto has been aware of the dangers of glyphosate for decades, yet the company has continued to market Roundup to farmers and consumers alike while claiming that the product is one of the safest pesticides on the planet.
In 1985, an EPA panel reviewed the available toxicology data concerning glyphosate and classified the chemical as a class C carcinogen (meaning it showed "suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential"). Mysteriously, in 1991, the EPA reclassified glyphosate as a category E chemical, stating that studies showed "evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans". During that same year, Monsanto began developing the first round of their glyphosate resistant, "Roundup Ready" genetically modified crops. Even more suspicious evidence against Monsanto is linked to the hiring of Craven Laboratories in 1991 to reevaluate the toxicity of glyphosate. Later that same year, Craven's owner and president Don Allen Craven, along with three of his prominent employees, were charged with multiple felonies involving fraud; in 1994, Mr. Craven and a total of 14 workers were found guilty of the falsification of research data.
Independent studies completed in various countries throughout the world have repeatedly confirmed glyphosate's toxicity. The chemical is associated with an increased risk of developing:
Health consequences are not limited to agriculture workers who have used Roundup on the job for extended periods of time; in fact, many of the plaintiffs who have recently filed lawsuits against Monsanto are ordinary consumers who have used the heavily marketed product on their residential properties as a weed killer.
Monsanto is currently the defendant in at least 700 lawsuits worldwide. Many of these suits are associated with the manufacturer's production of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which were produced through the 1970's and are strongly linked to an increase in non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases in addition to other serious health implications. Monsanto also produced and sold Agent Orange to the U.S. government during the Vietam War era; this chemical was responsible for more than 400,000 deaths and was the subject of a class action lawsuit that resulted in a $180M settlement in 1984. The corporation was the primary producer of the now banned pesticide DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), a product which has been shown to produce serious reproductive disorders, liver and nervous system damage and more.
Since 1996, numerous governmental and environmental groups throughout the world have filed formal complaints against Monsanto for falsely advertising the safety of their Roundup product. The Attorney General of New York complained of Monsanto's use of the phrases "Safer than table salt" and "Practically non-toxic" to mammals, birds and fish, stating concerns about the long term environmental effects of Roundup. French and Brazilian officials have filed suits against the biotech giant, as have the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the South African Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Once the IARC and WHO reported their findings regarding glyphosate's toxicity, in addition to documents supporting the fact that Monsanto was aware of the associated risks of the active ingredient within their Roundup product for decades, the number of plaintiffs who have filed cases alleging that Roundup exposure is responsible for the development of cancer have increased significantly. A minimum of 26 different lawsuits filed by 12 separate law firms have already been filed within the country; as a result, a petition has been filed to coordinate 21 of these complaints into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) within the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Illinois has been selected as the preferred location for this effort due to the following factors:
Proponents of the MDL state that challenges associated with the gathering and presentation of the same data connecting glyphosate toxicity to the development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 21 different times is not logical considering that each complaint involves the same product, active ingredient and injury. Individuals whose health has been negatively impacted or family members who have lost a loved one due to exposure to Roundup are encouraged to contact an experienced attorney for assistance in obtaining compensation for medical care, pain and suffering and beyond.