Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by farm workers who were exposed to Roundup (glyphosate) weed-killer and developed cancer. Monsanto is accused of downplaying the risk.
Multiple Myeloma Lawsuits Filed Over Roundup Exposure
Monsanto is facing hundreds of lawsuits from people who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma from exposure to Roundup (glyphosate). Lawyers say Monsanto has ignored decades of studies linking Roundup and cancer, failing to warn agricultural workers and farmers about the risk.
Study Finds 2X Risk of Multiple Myeloma from Roundup
Pesticide workers on farms in Iowa and North Carolina who were exposed to glyphosate were twice as likely to develop multiple myeloma than non-exposed workers, according to a study of 54,315 pesticide workers who participated in the U.S. Agricultural Health Study (AHS) from 1993 to 1997.
In January 2015, another study that re-analyzed the same data found no convincing evidence linking glyphosate and multiple myeloma. Even so, the researchers noted that several studies have reported increased risks of multiple myeloma in farm workers.
What is Multiple Myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that starts in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. It is also called “plasma-cell myeloma.” These cells are part of the immune system and they are normally found in the bone marrow.
What is the Risk?
The American Cancer Society’s estimated risk of multiple myeloma in the United States for 2017 is about 30,280 new cases and about 12,590 deaths. The lifetime risk of getting multiple myeloma is about 1 in 143 people (0.7%).
Complications of Multiple Myeloma
- Tumors: Multiple myeloma causes plasma cells to grow uncontrollably. They can produce a tumor called a plasmacytoma, usually in a bone but sometimes other parts of the body.
- Weak Bones: Multiple myeloma can also make the bones very weak, brittle, and easy to break.
- Infections: Myeloma cells do not fight infections very well, but they grow and divide very quickly and eventually crowd out healthy plasma cells. People with multiple myeloma are highly vulnerable to illnesses.
- Organ damage: Abnormal myeloma cells create an antibody that can damage the kidneys and cause kidney failure or heart failure.
Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma
- Back pain
- Bleeding and bruising
- Bone pain (ribs or back)
- Broken bones
- Heart failure
- High calcium levels in blood
- Kidney problems
- Low white blood cell count
- Pale skin
- Feeling very thirsty
- Frequent infections
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
Treatment of Multiple Myeloma
Treatment depends on how far multiple myeloma has progressed. People who do not have any symptoms may not need any treatment right away. People with symptoms may need to chemotherapy, radiation, or targeted therapies that attack specific cancer cells.