Several law firms in Illinois are mounting claims against a multinational agrochemical manufacturer, alleging one of the components in its herbicide product causes cancer.
In what could become class-actions against Monsanto Co., several law firms are banding together to find clients who allegedly have been affected by the company’s Roundup product, which they claim has caused cancer in several consumers.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, was declared by the World Health Organization earlier this year as a probable carcinogen to humans. Following the organization’s announcement, several lawsuits have popped up declaring that Monsanto’s Roundup was the reason for the plaintiffs’ cancer.
Monsanto maintains that glyphosate is safe and said the World Health Organization is wrong in its findings.
“The contrived claims that glyphosate causes cancer are based on the erroneous conclusions of a French-based, non-governmental agency of the World Health Organization,” Scott Partridge, vice president of global strategy at Monsanto, told the Record.
“IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) and its findings have been thoroughly discredited and rejected by the rigorous scientific research of governmental authorities around the world. In fact, those respected regulatory agencies, including the U.S. EPA, the European Food Safety Authority and the relevant bodies in Germany, Japan, Australia and Canada, have all come to the exact opposite conclusion: glyphosate is safe. Even the World Health Organization has now issued a new report that states glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through diet, contradicting the IARC report.”
Monsanto maintains that glyphosate has been an effective herbicide for farmers, landowners and homeowners to use for the last 40 years. Its Roundup product is used in more than 160 countries around the word and, according to Monsanto, has actually replaced herbicides that were dangerous to use.
“While we empathize with anyone facing these terrible illnesses, there is no evidence that glyphosate is the cause," Partridge said. "The very long and well-established history of glyphosate as safe clearly shows that these claims are supported neither by the science nor the facts.”
The Illinois litigation against Monsanto is especially interesting as the state's economy is supported by a significant agricultural sector and its southwestern border is within 20 miles of Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis. Other areas throughout the U.S. are also collecting plaintiffs and several suits have already been filed against the company involving its Roundup product.
Monsanto has come under fire before for the chemicals used in its products in the past with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were produced in the 1970s. The World Health Organization also declared PCB a carcinogen, causing Monsanto to face more than 700 lawsuits against it claiming that PCB caused the plaintiffs to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Monsanto is still fighting these claims today.
The amount of law firms and attorneys looking for clients to join their case against Monsanto is staggering. A Google search turns up hundreds of opportunities to become a plaintiff, which may lead to trouble for Monsanto if these claims can be proven.