Can Weed Killer Cause Cancer?

spraying weedkillerA recent study by the University of Washington found that the herbicide glyphosate raises the cancer risk of people exposed to the substance by 41 percent. The research incorporated a 2018 study of more than 54,000 people who worked as licensed pesticide applicators.

The study concluded that glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) significantly increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a type of cancer that affects the immune system.

Glyphosate is the most widely used broad-spectrum herbicide in the world. It is the effective ingredient in most common weed killers, including the popular product Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto. GBHs have been sprayed more than any other agriculture chemical in history, according to the journal Environmental Sciences Europe.

Although the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, its potential cancer-causing properties remain the subject of scientific and legal debate. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment designates the chemical as a known carcinogen, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refuses to approve cancer warning labels for certain GBHs, stating that the product does not pose a cancer risk.

One high-profile case involves Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a former school groundkeeper who worked with Roundup for several years. He was diagnosed with terminal NHL in 2014. In August 2018, a judge ordered Monsanto to pay Johnson $289 million in damages, an award that Monsanto appealed for significant reduction. A counter-suit is currently underway to restore punitive damages.

More than 18,000 people exposed to Roundup who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma are currently suing Monsanto with the claim that the chemical giant knew for decades that glyphosate was dangerous, yet failed to disclose the risk to consumers.

If you have been diagnosed with NHL and worked with Roundup or another GBH product, contact the Arnold Law Firm at (916) 777-7777 to identify your legal options.