Recent Case Highlights the Dangers of Monsanto’s Pesticide, RoundUp

Written By Jeff Gutkowski

Recently, a jury in a northern California state court awarded $289M to a local, 48-year-old, school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, when it was determined that the dominant herbicide on the market, Monsanto’s RoundUp, caused the non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) which has limited his life expectancy. The size of this result in a single-claim complaint is alarming, however, the evidence brought out during the trial proved, through internal documents, that Monsanto knew, as early as 1983, that exposure to the active ingredient in RoundUp, glyphosate, increases the risk of developing non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL).

The jury decided that Monsanto actively hid those dangers from the public while RoundUp became the most dominant herbicide in the global agricultural market. RoundUp has been killing weeds commercially and residentially since 1974 and medical studies have long confirmed a strong association between farming exposure to pesticides/herbicides and an increased risk of NHL. Those same studies recognize a “striking” increase in the incidence of NHL since 1984.

RoundUp Use History

Over the past 30 years, glyphosate (RoundUp) use has exploded with the introduction of genetically modified crops that are themselves resistant to glyphosate. It is estimated that by the year 2020 we will spray our crops with over 1,000 kilotons, thereby creating a global glyphosate market of $8.5B per year. In 2015 alone, Monsanto sold $4.76B of herbicide, but the company actually made significantly greater profits selling the genetically modified seeds that grow despite being sprayed with RoundUp.

RoundUp in Lancaster County

The lawyers at Atlee Hall know and love that Central Pennsylvania is synonymous with farming. Central Pennsylvania is and always has been a leading supplier of agricultural products, even before the founding of the country. In Lancaster County alone, we have nearly 6,000 farms selling $1.5B of farm products. That’s nearly 10% of the farms in the whole of the Commonwealth. Over 50,000 of our neighbors in Lancaster County are farmers. In 2015, Lancaster sprayed over 88 pounds of RoundUp per square mile, the highest use the United States government estimates.  Nearly 40% of the yearly glyphosate (RoundUp) use goes to corn.

But you don’t have to be a farmer to be exposed to the dangers of RoundUp. In Central Pennsylvania, if you are not a farmer, then you may tend a garden where you grow tomatoes and peppers in the summer.  Or you could be like Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper/landscaper, who sprays glyphosate to keep weeds from spreading.

If you’ve been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and you’ve been exposed to RoundUp as a farmer, landscaper or groundskeeper, your neighbors at Atlee Hall are here for you and your family.