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Basics of the Roundup Lawsuit

Over 4,000 cancer patients have sued in a number of state courts for failing to warn the public about the cancer risks associated with RoundUp, which is a glyphosate-based weedkiller. The International Agency for Research on Cancer had published a report describing glyphosate as a carcinogenic. However, the company involved has addressed the RoundUp lawsuit by continuing to deny that RoundUp is linked to cancer in humans even though glyphosate is the main active ingredient.

The existing evidence that occupational exposure to glyphosate increases the human cancer risk is limited. Furthermore, there is no solid evidence that home use of glyphosate is linked to cancer in humans.

Several national scientific organizations and pesticide regularity agencies have come to the consensus that there is no evidence that the use of glyphosate is linked to human carcinogenicity. Some organizations and agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Commission. However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has deemed glyphosate as probably carcinogenic for humans.

A counter-lawsuit was filed in 2016 objecting to the addition of glyphosate to California’s list of carcinogens. The case was rejected by the Fresno County Superior Court in January 2017. California filed a motion to have the case dismissed. On March 22, the company appealed.

The Southern District of California ruled that the company was not at fault for the cancer of Emanuel Giglio, saying that “FIFRA preempted Giglio’s claim of a failure to warn the EPA about the dangers of glyphosate”.

In the multi district litigation In re: RoundUp Products Liability, a Daubert hearing occurred on general causation for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This case was a consolidation of more that 300 federal lawsuits accusing the company involved of not warning consumers adequately about the RoundUp risks. After the International Agency for Research on Cancer claimed that glyphosate was probably carcinogenic in humans, these lawsuits were filed. The company claimed that the lawsuits were based on junk science and demanded the dismissal of these cases.

Dewayne Johnson, who is suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was awarded $289 million in damages on August 10, 2018. A jury in San Francisco deemed that the company had failed to warn consumers sufficiently about the cancer risks associated with RoundUp. Johnson worked as housekeeper and had used two types of products containing glyphosate as an active ingredient on a regular basis. The products were RoundUp and Ranger Pro, which is another product sold by the company. The verdict of the jury deemed that the company knowingly failed to adequately warn their consumers about the potential harmfulness of RoundUp. However, the verdict for the RoundUp lawsuit did not address whether RoundUp is an actual cause of cancer.

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Reed Hamilton

Mason Reed Hamilton: Mason, a political analyst, provides insights on U.S. politics, election coverage, and policy analysis.