A group of farmers in Nebraska who have all been diagnosed with cancer are suing agrochemical giant Monsanto.
The four farmers have claimed that glyphosate, in the the popular Monsanto herbicide brand Roundup, caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and that the company intentionally misled the public about its dangers.
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The lawsuit was filed last Wednesday in federal court in Lincoln, Nebraska. The farmers are seeking punitive damages, alleging defective design, failure to warn, negligence and breach of warranty.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup brand herbicide, which is advertised as being able to kill almost any weed. However, the company claims it is safe to use on food. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMO seeds are designed to resist the chemicals so the plants can still grow after being sprayed.
The lawsuit also claims that Monsanto “concealed or systematically sought to discredit” research showing links between glyphosate and cancer and continues to do so.
“Monsanto championed falsified data and has attacked legitimate studies that revealed Roundup’s dangers. Monsanto led a campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup is safe. Its continuing denial extends to the date of this Complaint,” the lawsuit states.
Glyphosate was designated as a probable cause of cancer in March 2015 by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. The report noted glyphosate is most frequently associated with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other hematopoietic cancers, including multiple myelomas, lymphocytic lymphoma, and B-cell lymphoma.
All of the farmers in the group have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Later in 2015, California announced plans to label glyphosate as a carcinogen based on the IARC’s classification. Monsanto has fought back against the declaration with a lawsuit.
Several countries have banned or restricted glyphosate since its classification as a possible carcinogen by the IARC, including the Netherlands, France, Bermuda and Sri Lanka.
According to the farmers’ lawsuit, Roundup is used on more than 100 varieties of crops, and the volume of glyphosate applied to crops grown in the U.S. has increased from 85 million pounds in 2001 to 185 million pounds by 2007.