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Florida Man Blames Employment-Related Use of Roundup for Cancer Diagnosis

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On August 24, 2017, a Florida couple filed a new Roundup lawsuit against manufacturer Monsanto. The case is pending in the Eastern District of Missouri, but since all federally-filed Roundup lawsuits have been consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (“Roundup MDL”), this case will be transferred there.

The couple claims that, after being exposed to Roundup and its main herbicide, glyphosate, the husband suffered serious injuries. They allege that Roundup is defective and dangerous to human health.

Plaintiff Uses Roundup in Employment; Diagnosed with NHL

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was exposed to Roundup, including its active ingredient glyphosate and the surfactant POEA (polyethoxylated tallow amine), while employed as a maintenance supervisor for a school. Beginning in 1999, he regularly sprayed Roundup on athletic fields, playgrounds, and around the school’s grounds.

On September 5, 2013, the plaintiff was diagnosed with large-B-cell lymphoma, a type of fast-growing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), which is a blood cancer that starts in the white blood cells called the “lymphocytes.” These blood cells are part of the body’s immune system and help fight off infections and diseases. The B cells produce antibodies that attack bacteria, viruses, and toxins.

As the cancer develops, it can spread through the lymph system to other areas of the body. And can infiltrate the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, tonsils and adenoids, and digestive tract.

The plaintiffs blame Roundup for causing the Roundup-user’s cancer.

Plaintiffs Notes Studies Showing Roundup More Dangerous than Glyphosate Alone

The plaintiffs allege that Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, has made false representations regarding the herbicides purported safety. They noted that in 1996, the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the company for false and misleading advertising—specifically, Monsanto’s representation that its products were “safer than table salt” and “practically non-toxic” to mammals, birds, and fish. Monsanto eventually agreed to stop publishing or broadcasting these types of advertisements.

The plaintiffs also assert that Monsanto has long been aware of the toxic nature of glyphosate, yet failed to take appropriate action to protect the public. They list several studies which show glyphosate’s link to cancer. Studies have also suggested that Roundup’s specific chemical formulation may actually be more toxic to humans than glyphosate alone. In a 2009 study, for example, researchers examined the effects of Roundup on human umbilical, embryonic, and placental cells, and found that supposedly “inert” ingredients in Roundup, and possibly POEA, changed human cell permeability and amplified the toxicity of glyphosate alone by making cells more likely to allow potentially toxic elements in. The researchers recommended additional studies of this issue to determine glyphosate’s toxicity when combined with other ingredients like those present in Roundup.

IARC Claims Glyphosate a Probable Carcinogen

The plaintiffs also point recent developments, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) recent categorization of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” in 2015. The plaintiffs assert counts of negligence, design defect, failure to warn, breach of warranties and loss of consortium on behalf of Plaintiff’s wife. They also seek compensatory, economic, and punitive damages.