December 16, 2016 — Monsanto is facing nearly 50 lawsuits nationwide from people who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using the weed-killer Roundup.
One of the most recent lawsuits (PDF) was filed by James Mitchell, a 73 year-old man from Florida who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2012. He also now has bladder cancer and a gastrointestinal tumor.
Mitchell routinely sprayed Roundup to kill poison ivy on his property in Quincy, Florida. Poison ivy is a native plant in Florida and causes a severe skin rash when any part of the plant is touched.
To control the weed, Mitchell sprayed Roundup between April and November every year from 1986 until 2014. He used it almost every week but at least twice a month. Each application took about an hour.
He did not use protective equipment like gloves or a face-mask because Monsanto insisted it was safe. He was doused in weed-killer when he sprayed it overhead to kill poison ivy growing in his trees.
The lawsuit was filed on December 7 in the Northern District of Florida — In Re: James Mitchell v. Monsanto — Case No. 4:16-cv-00758.
As of mid-December 2016, Monsanto is facing 41 lawsuits in a consolidated Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2741) under U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California.
On November 9, Judge Chhabria split the MDL into two phases. The first phase will determine general causality — Does Roundup cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma? If so, the second phase will involve trials for people who were injured and accusations that Monsanto failed to warn about the risk.
Monsanto claims Roundup is “safer than table salt” and does not cause cancer, but not everyone agrees. Roundup was classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by the cancer-research agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) last year.
The agency’s conclusion was based on three studies of farm-workers in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden that found higher rates of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The U.S. study found at least a 60% increased risk of lymphoma from Roundup, based on data from 3,400 white male farm-workers in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Minnesota.
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