Monsanto Roundup Plaintiffs Seek Prior Animal Studies

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Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

Plaintiffs Allege Glyphosate Causes Cancer

Plaintiffs in the Monsanto Roundup lawsuits that have been consolidated in Northern California are seeking tissue specimens that were collected in the 1980s. The specimens are being sought to help further support their claim that the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, glyphosate, causes cancer in humans. The lawsuit is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, Case No. 3:16-md-02741, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released an opinion that glyphosate may be carcinogenic to humans. Specifically, in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency associated with the World Health Organization, released a classification for glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant.

In September 2016, the California Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would officially list glyphosate as a known carcinogen as part of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (1986). Monsanto sued the state; the lawsuit was thrown out.

Prior research involving mice revealed that Roundup was safe for humans, only impacting crop pests. The findings, according to court documents, were confirmed by experimental pathologists. Tumors found in the kidney tissue of mice were deemed rare and unrelated to exposure to glyphosate. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also conducted a review in 1986, supporting the prior findings and noting that glyphosate “isn’t likely” to cause cancer in humans.

Meanwhile, plaintiffs in the Roundup lawsuits point to a different study that reveals a tie between glyphosate and cancer in humans. Now, plaintiffs have asked to see more than 1,000 slides containing kidney tissue from the original mice studied, a request that Monsanto has fought.

“Plaintiffs’ speculation that additional review might yield materially different interpretations than the prior reviews is therefore baseless and does not justify the disruption and burden imposed by their gamesmanship,” Monsanto indicated in court documents. The weed killer manufacturer also noted that it questions the timing of the request and that the plaintiffs were aware of the tissue slides as early as July 2015 and should have requested the slides sooner. According to Monsanto, it is concerned that the request could delay litigation.

Plaintiffs note that their request was issued well within discovery time limits and note that, advances in technology and changes in tumor classification since the original samples were studied and classified in the 1980, may potentially reveal a different result.

The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits over allegedly defective or dangerous products. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a lawsuit against Monsanto.

Research Continues to Tie Glyphosate to Cancer, Other Diseases

Environmental scientists, plant scientists, and consumer groups believe glyphosate may lead to cancers, Parkinson’s disease, respiratory distress, pulmonary edema, arrhythmias, renal failure, hand tremors, blurred vision, and loss of coordination.

Research funded by industry has, not unexpectedly, found Roundup to be relatively safe. Unsealed court documents, including Monsanto’s internal emails and email exchanges between Monsanto and federal regulators suggest that Monsanto had ghostwritten research later attributed to academics and that a senior official at the EPA suppressed a review of glyphosate meant to have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to CNBC. The documents revealed some divergence within the EPA over its own safety assessment.

CNBC reported in 2015 that former EPA pesticide division manager, Jess Rowland, stopped a 2015 investigation into glyphosate after the probe became public and following a series of court documents also made known following a U.S. Right to Know campaign.

Glyphosate has been tied by independent, peer-reviewed studies to Alzheimer’s disease, autism, digestive problems, gluten intolerance, increased sensitivity to other food-borne toxins, liver damage, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, Organic Authority reported.

Studies have tied Monsanto’s Roundup to cancer and Parkinson’s disease. A 2011 report published in the journal Parkinsonism Related Disorders discussed a 44-year-old woman diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease symptoms just three years following glyphosate exposure when she worked in a chemical factory.

In 2014, Rodale Wellness wrote about a large increase in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases in the prior 30 years. A review, published that same year in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reviewed 44 scientific papers to understand how 80 active ingredients in 21 different chemical classes affected farm workers’ risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The IARC found that exposure to glyphosate doubled a person’s risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Also, a 2014 Norwegian study discovered very high levels of Roundup in U.S. genetically engineered soy crops.

“Data has been emerging that point to various health and environmental consequences resulting from glyphosate and Roundup use. These include an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” among others, said Warren Porter, PhD, professor of environmental toxicology and former chair of zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In 2015, France banned Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer after the United Nations (U.N.) classified Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, as a probable carcinogen. According to The Independent, French Ecology Minister, Segolene Royal, said, “France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides…. I have asked garden centers to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale.”

Andreas Kortenkamp, professor of human toxicology at Brunel University, London, told The Independent in March 2015 that, “Professional gardeners would use industrial strength glyphosate to totally wipe their garden of all plants. Amateur gardeners can also buy it as Roundup in a formulation which is not as strong.” Concerning the toxicity of glyphosate, she added that, “Anyone who sprays it could get a whiff of it. People should be very careful with this stuff and consider whether they need it. Home gardeners should hand weed to be on the safe side.”

In 2016, a review conducted by The New York Times revealed the way in which industry influences academic research or misstates findings. Declarations of interest included in a Monsanto-financed paper on glyphosate that appeared in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology indicated that a consulting firm recruited panel members. Email traffic made public revealed that Monsanto officials discussed and debated scientists who should be considered, and shaped the project, CNBC noted

Filing a Monsanto Herbicide Lawsuit

Parker Waichman has spent years representing clients in lawsuits over alleged environmental health risks. If you or someone you know is interested in filing a Monsanto Roundup Herbicide lawsuit, speak with one of our environmental attorneys today. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).