Lawsuits Against Monsanto Continue to Increase

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.

A Suspicious and Fraudulent History

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.

Health Consequences Associated With Exposure to  Glyphosate

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:

  • Non-Hodgkin’s and  Hodgkin’s lymphoma;
  • Myeloma  and multiple  myeloma  forms of leukemia;
  • Liver, kidney, and pancreatic cancers;
  • Bone, colon, and thyroid cancers;
  • Melanoma and;
  • Parkinson's disease.

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.

A Corporation Long Associated With the Production of Dangerous Chemicals

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.

Worldwide Concern Over False Advertising

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).

The Creation of A Coordinated Lawsuit Against Monsanto

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:

  • Three of the 21 cases are currently pending within IL;
  • Monsanto's headquarters in St. Louis is located less than 20 miles from the  Southern District of Illinois;
  • IL is the nation's largest producer of soybeans which account  for the greatest use of Roundup in the country.

A Logical Legal Step

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.

 

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