Despite the World Health Organization’s cancer agency determining that glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Roundup, is a “probable carcinogen to humans” and that it found an increased risk between exposure to glyphosate (the active component of Roundup) and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Monsanto described its herbicide as “safer than table salt” and Bayer maintains that Roundup is safe for adults.
In 2014, Sri Lanka banned glyphosate after scientists suspected it caused widespread kidney disease among agricultural workers in Sri Lanka, India and Central America. Vietnam and France banned glyphosate products in April and July respectively, and other European countries are considering bans. (Austria said it will ban glyphosate in a year and several countries, including the huge soybean producer Brazil are re-evaluating its use.)
It’s the best-selling herbicide in the world, according to the Ag Journal, and the EPA has noted that it was the most heavily used pesticide in the U.S.
U.S. Farmers Roundup Cancer Lawsuits
The global chemical giant has inherited thousands of Monsanto’s lawsuits, and digging deep into its pockets. Denton farmer Terry Knox and his wife Carolyn filed the latest U.S. Roundup cancer lawsuit against Monsanto and its Great Falls sales representative in April. In March, a property owner who used Roundup was awarded $80 million (later reduced to $25 million) by a federal jury. Two months later a state jury awarded $2 billion to a couple who had used Roundup on their property and last August a school groundskeeper was awarded $289 million. All the lawsuits claimed that the glyphosate in Roundup has caused Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
French Farmer Poisoned
A French Appeals Court in April, 2019 ruled that Monsanto is guilty of poisoning a cereal farmer who was exposed to Lasso, a weedkiller containing monochlorobenzene that was banned in France in 2008. (Although chlorobenzene production in the U.S. has declined by more than 60 percent since its peak in 1960 when it was used to make other chemicals such as DDT, it is still used in the U.S. as a solvent for some pesticide formulations, along with other uses, notes the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.)
Farmer Paul François had already won two lawsuits against Monsanto, in 2012 and 2015. He claimed that Monsanto knew about the danger of Lasso long before it was withdrawn from the French market. (Canada banned the herbicide back in 1985.) And the French court ruled that Monsanto should have clearly indicated on Lasso’s labelling and instructions for use “a notice on the specific dangers of using the product in vats and reservoirs”, according to the Guardian.
First Australian Monsanto Lawsuit
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Last month 500 workers in Sydney walked off the job over Roundup safety concerns and only returned to work after an Industrial Relations Commission hearing ruled that the council should trial an alternative weed control process.