For decades, John Barton sprayed Roundup weed killer on his farm just outside of Bakersfield. There were days when he’d lug a large, 200-foot hose around his property to apply it. Other times, he’d strap a container full of the pesticide to his back and spray it as he walked. At the end of the day, he’d be soaked in sweat and drenched in the weed killer. He didn’t think twice about it because he was told Roundup was “as safe as table salt” and “safe enough to drink.”
Barton was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma shortly after he retired from the farm in 2015. The diagnoses seemed to come out of nowhere. The only explanation Barton could find was his exposure to Roundup. He promptly joined thousands of others and filed a Roundup lawsuit against Bayer, the company that was now responsible for the controversial weed killer.
Studies Consider Link Between Roundup Exposure and Cancer
Are farmers who use Roundup at greater risk of getting cancer than others? A few studies have attempted to answer this question.
In 2004, the CDC wanted to know how Roundup exposure affected farmers and their families. The study focused on the level of glyphosate in their urine. Results confirmed that farmers and individuals who were exposed to Roundup had higher levels of the chemical in their urine than others.
60% of farmers and 12% of their children had glyphosate in their urine on the day the chemical was applied. Farmers who wore gloves had lower levels of the pesticide than those who didn’t. Levels were elevated for at least 3 days after exposure.
Other studies have taken a closer look at the link between glyphosate exposure and cancer.
A 2001 study out of Canada found that the more you’re exposed to glyphosate, the more likely it is you’ll be diagnosed with cancer.
In 2003, American researchers determined that a rise in the rate of cancer among farmers and farmworkers could be attributed to Roundup.
In 2014, another American study confirmed that glyphosate exposure is a huge factor in cancer diagnoses.
By 2015, the World Health Organization had recognized glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” to humans. Again, the greater the exposure, the greater the risk of getting cancer.
These studies make it clear that individuals like Barton who use Roundup every day are more likely to develop cancer than others. Roundup is the most likely culprit, as there aren’t really any other common factors to explain why so many people who use the pesticide get cancer.
California’s Laws Protect Roundup Victims
Roundup has been used across the world for decades. However, there is a mounting pile of evidence to suggest that the pesticide isn’t safe. There’s also evidence showing that Monsanto – now Bayer – has known about glyphosate health risks since it first started selling Roundup.
Consumers were never told about those risks. In fact, Monsanto told farmers like Barton that Roundup was so safe that it wouldn’t hurt them if they drank it. Note that company officials always declined to drink the pesticide when asked to prove their point.
Consumers have been harmed because Monsanto knowingly sold a dangerous product and didn’t warn about the risks. The company deprived millions of people of making informed decisions about the products they used. Fortunately, California has product liability laws to protect injured consumers.
In California, companies can be strictly liable for harm caused by their defective products. Consumers don’t have to prove negligence. They simply have to prove that they were injured while using a product as intended because it was dangerous.