Often there are products that are commonly used in our daily lives for years or even decades, and then later we find out those products are harmful or toxic. When that happens, depending on the effects of the toxic product, some consumers will seek personal injury legal advice and may file a lawsuit or join a class-action lawsuit.
One example of a product that’s been under tremendous scrutiny in recent years is Roundup.
Roundup was an often-used pesticide, but it’s been linked to serious adverse health outcomes in recent years.
The following are things to know.
Glyphosate is the main ingredient in RoundUp, and it’s also the primary ingredient in hundreds of other pesticides. Recently two California juries awarded millions to people diagnosed with cancer who blame it on the use of RoundUp.
In one of the cases in a San Francisco court, Dewayne Johnson was awarded $289 million in a lawsuit against Monsanto. Monsanto is the company that makes Roundup.
Johnson had worked as a school groundskeeper, and he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The award was later reduced to $78 million.
A federal jury in San Francisco also recently sided with someone named Edwin Hardeman, awarding him more than $80 million. The jury found RoundUphe’d used on his property was a substantial factor in his cancer.
Throughout the controversy, Monsanto and Bayer, the company that owns it, have said RoundUp is safe. Company lawyers are appealing both verdicts, but there are hundreds of cases in the works.
Glyphosate is used during food production by farmers, in addition to general landscaping such as in lawns and home gardens.
When you use glyphosate in any capacity, you can be exposed to it by breathing it in, getting it in your eyes, or getting it on your skin. The risk of dangerous exposure is greater if you touch plants wet from it, or smoke or eat after applying it without first washing your hands.
In the short-term, exposure to glyphosate can lead to irritation of your eyes, nose, skin, and throat.
Anyone who uses it should always make sure to wash their hands afterward and remove their clothes after handling the products.
Since it’s used in farming, it’s also possible for glyphosate to be in your food. For example, we’re learning that foods that are oat-based like cereal, granola bars, and oatmeal may have glyphosate.
You may be able to limit your exposure by buying organic foods because glyphosate is technically banned in organic farming.
What Are the Possible Health Effects of RoundUp?
There have been studies linking Roundup and glyphosate with certain illnesses and cancers, but it would likely be too soon to say the science is entirely settled.
Short-term exposure probably isn’t a big deal in terms of your health, but the risk with Roundup tends to come from long-term exposure.
Some studies have linked glyphosate to cancer, and others haven’t. The International Agency for Research on Cancer says it’s a possible human carcinogenic. However, in 2017, the EPA said glyphosate isn’t likely to cause cancer based on the amount of exposure a person is likely to get.
Glyphosate may affect the liver and kidneys, based primarily on what we know from animal studies right now.
There may be problems stemming from glyphosate on your endocrine system. There was a study of pregnant rats who were given high doses, and they got sick and their fetuses experienced problems like skeletal defects and slow weight gain.
If you’re pregnant, there’s some concern exposure to glyphosate could lead to the risk of developmental issues.
Synthetic chemicals like glyphosate may mimic estrogen, which is why they’re considered endocrine disruptors. Phytoestrogens, BA and DD are also endocrine disruptors. When you’re exposed to estrogen mimickers it can cause reproductive problems, hormonal imbalance, cancers, and in particular breast cancer and cognitive issues.
Even outside of issues with roundup, Monsanto has a controversial history of making toxic chemicals, and some of those are now banned.
One of the first products that Monsanto made was artificial vanilla and saccharin, which is an artificial sweetener.
One of their most famously banned products is DDT, also known as Agent Orange. The federal government banned DDT in 1972 because it led to a major decline in the population of bald eagles.
What About Lymphoma?
Lymphoma is cancer that starts in the cells of your immune system. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one particular type of cancer linked to glyphosate, and this is one of the side effects most commonly cited in lawsuits against Monsanto.
Glyphosate exposure is associated with DNA damage in human cells, which can contribute to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
A review by the University of Washington that found agricultural professionals with a significant amount of exposure had a risk of contracting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that was 41% higher than people with limited or no exposure.
Symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma include sudden or unexplained weight loss, coughing or problems breathing, and swelling or pain in the abdomen. Symptoms can also include night sweats, fever or fatigue, and painless, swollen lymph nodes under the skin, especially in the neck, armpits or glands.
Safely Using RoundUp
While the science is to this point mixed as far as how risky RoundUp is, if you have to use it, there are things you can do to protect yourself.
You should always wear protective clothing and use protective equipment.
You should follow the instructions carefully and don’t use it around children or pets.
You should also make sure that you turn off your AC and close your doors and windows if you’re using it near your house. If you walk in the treated areas, you should take your shoes off when you go in.
When you’re done using RoundUp, wash your face, hands, and clothing.
If you believe that exposure to a toxin has caused you harm or led to an illness, you should consider speaking to an attorney.