Last month, a jury in San Francisco, CA ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a man who developed cancer after years of using Roundup (a popular weed killer) in his role as a school groundskeeper.
You’ve likely been seeing Roundup and parent company Monsanto in the news a lot lately, and you may be wondering what this trial outcome means. Does Roundup (or its main chemical, glyphosate) cause cancer?
The Short Answer: We Don’t Know Yet
The science linking Roundup to cancer is limited; in fact, several researchers have said that there is no evidence that glyphosate causes cancer. On the other hand, other research has shown that glyphosate increases cancer risk by 41%. There are new studies being conducted to determine whether the chemical presents a potential cancer risk.
So, if more research is needed to determine whether glyphosate presents a cancer risk, how did the groundskeeper win his case? The jury felt that Monsanto intentionally avoided sharing information about the potential harms of glyphosate from consumers. The company was ordered to pay $39 million for medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as an additional $250 million for punitive damages.
While Roundup is lower in toxicity than previous weed killing chemicals, it still needs to be handled with caution. Although use is restricted in Europe, the USDA has not banned Roundup in the US because of insufficient evidence linking it to cancer.
If you are using Roundup or a similar pesticide, make sure that you always follow the instructions on the label and take steps to avoid exposure. You can be exposed by getting the chemical on your skin, in your eyes, or by breathing it in when using it. You could also be exposed if you eat after applying it without washing your hands first. If you or anyone around you is exposed to Roundup, follow the first aid instruction on the product label. You can also contact the Poison Control Center at 800.222.1222 for further treatment advice.
If you need to dispose of a pesticide such as Roundup, follow the disposal instructions on the product label. If any product is still in the container, you need to dispose of it as household hazardous waste. You can contact the local recycling center for more information.
After you’ve emptied a pesticide container, it must be rinsed for disposal or recycling. Do not ever reuse a pesticide container for any reason. Always wear protective clothing (including chemical resistant gloves and eye protection) when rinsing these containers. Follow label directions for rinse water, do not pour it into a drain or on any site not listed on the product label.
It’s important to keep containers of chemicals such as Roundup locked up and out of reach of children to prevent poisoning and other injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to poisoning, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.