Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Lawsuits Mount Against Monsanto's 'Cancer-Causing' Weedkiller

Food
Lawsuits Mount Against Monsanto's 'Cancer-Causing' Weedkiller

Looks like the cancer lawsuits against Monsanto are gaining country-wide momentum. Reuters reports that personal injury law firms around the U.S. are gathering numerous plaintiffs to build "mass tort actions" alleging that exposure to the company's popular weedkiller, Roundup, causes cancer.

Law firms—from California to New York City and nearly everywhere in between—are building cases against Monsanto. Numerous plaintiffs allege that exposure to the company's flagship herbicide, Roundup, causes cancer.
Photo credit: Flickr

A new lawsuit was filed in Delaware Superior Court on Wednesday by three law firms representing three plaintiffs. According to Reuters, plaintiff Joselin Barrera, 24, a child of migrant farm workers, claims her non-Hodgkin lymphoma stemmed from exposure to glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto's used weedkiller, Roundup. The other name on the suit, former migrant farm worker and landscaper Elias de la Garza, was also diagnosed with the same disease and has similar claims about the toxicity of the herbicide.

The new lawsuit is similar to Enrique Rubio v. Monsanto Company and Fitzgerald v. Monsanto Company, which were filed on the same day, Sept. 22, in Los Angeles and New York respectively. In these suits, former field worker Enrique Rubio (who has bone cancer) and horticultural assistant Judi Fitzgerald (who has leukemia) both claim that exposure to Roundup caused their diseases, and that Monsanto “falsified data” and “led a prolonged campaign of misinformation” to convince the public, farm workers and government agencies about the safety of the product.

The suits come after the World Health Organization's infamous report in March declaring that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans." Following that, in September, California’s Environmental Protection Agency issued plans to list glyphosate as known to cause cancer.

While EcoWatch was informed by Monsanto's spokeswoman Charla Lord that Fitzgerald's suit was "voluntarily dismissed without prejudice" in New York, yesterday we learned that the Fitzgerald case was added to the recently filed Delaware suit.

When EcoWatch contacted Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm representing Fitzgerald, Robin Greenwald, the head of the firm’s environmental law unit, told us: “For clarification, we added Ms. Fitzgerald to a complaint we filed in Delaware. So we dismissed the suit in New York and refiled in Delaware state court, closer to her home and where Monsanto is incorporated.”

Monsanto has demanded a retraction of the WHO report and will “vigorously” defend itself against the lawsuits.

“Decades of experience within agriculture and regulatory reviews using the most extensive worldwide human health databases ever compiled on an agricultural product contradict the claims in the suit which will be vigorously defended,” Lord said last month.

It appears, however, more and more plaintiffs are lining up to make cases against the embattled agribusiness giant, which is facing slumping earnings and recently announced it will eliminate 12 percent of its workforce.

"We can prove that Monsanto knew about the dangers of glyphosate," Michael McDivitt, whose Colorado law firm is arranging cases for 50 individuals, told Reuters. "There are a lot of studies showing glyphosate causes these cancers."

His firm is advertising free case evaluations and hosted town hall gatherings in August in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska to seek clients.

Baltimore-based firm Saiontz & Kirk, Washington, DC-based firm Schmidt & Clark as well as firms in Texas, Colorado and California are also advertising similar Roundup lawsuit evaluations to find plaintiffs, Reuters observed.

According to Reuters, the attorneys are citing strong evidence that links glyphosate to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and said they will likely collaborate as mass tort actions against Monsanto.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Deceptive Tactics Used by Industry-Funded Group to Gain Support for Bill That Would Ban GMO Labeling

Europe GMO Debate Not Over: EU Votes to Allow GMO Imports Despite Opposition

2.6 Billion Pounds of Monsanto’s Glyphosate Sprayed on U.S. Farmland in Past Two Decades

Monsanto Fights Back Against Cancer Lawsuits as Company Eliminates 12% of Workforce

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius. STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images

The tiny island nation of Mauritius, known for its turquoise waters, vibrant corals and diverse ecosystem, is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe after a Japanese cargo ship struck a reef off the country's coast two weeks ago. That ship, which is still intact, has since leaked more than 1,000 metric tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. Now, a greater threat looms, as a growing crack in the ship's hull might cause the ship to split in two and release the rest of the ship's oil into the water, NPR reported.

On Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency.

France has sent a military aircraft carrying pollution control equipment from the nearby island of Reunion to help mitigate the disaster. Additionally, Japan has sent a six-member team to assist as well, the BBC reported.

The teams are working to pump out the remaining oil from the ship, which was believed to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of fuel.

"We are expecting the worst," Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said on Monday, The Weather Channel reported. "The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton."

Sunil Dowarkasing, a former strategist for Greenpeace International and former member of parliament in Mauritius, told CNN that the ship contains three oil tanks. The one that ruptured has stopped leaking oil, giving disaster crews time to use a tanker and salvage teams to remove oil from the other two tanks before the ship splits.

By the end of Tuesday, the crew had removed over 1,000 metric tons of oil from the ship, NPR reported, leaving about 1,800 metric tons of oil and diesel, according to the company that owns the ship. So far the frantic efforts are paying off. Earlier today, a local police chief told BBC that there were still 700 metric tons aboard the ship.

The oil spill has already killed marine animals and turned the turquoise water black. It's also threatening the long-term viability of the country's coral reefs, lagoons and shoreline, NBC News reported.

"We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued," said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, according to The Weather Channel.

While the Mauritian authorities have asked residents to leave the clean-up to officials, locals have organized to help.

"People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora," environmental activist Ashok Subron said in an AFP story.

Reuters reported that sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and human hair donated by locals are being sewn into makeshift booms.

Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so scientists have long suggested it as a material to contain oil spills, Gizmodo reported. Mauritians are currently collecting as much human hair as possible to contribute to the booms, which consist of tubes and nets that float on the water to trap the oil.

A northern mockingbird on June 24, 2016. Renee Grayson / CC BY 2.0

Environmentalists and ornithologists found a friend in a federal court on Tuesday when a judge struck down a Trump administration attempt to allow polluters to kill birds without repercussions through rewriting the Migratory Treaty Bird Act (MBTA).

Read More Show Less
A spiny dogfish shark swims in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Washington. NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

There are trillions of microplastics in the ocean — they bob on the surface, float through the water column, and accumulate in clusters on the seafloor. With plastic being so ubiquitous, it's inevitable that marine organisms, such as sharks, will ingest them.

Read More Show Less
A "vessel of opportunity" skims oil spilled after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. NOAA / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun

After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.

Read More Show Less
The Mountain Valley Pipeline proposes to carry natural gas for hundreds of miles over dozens of water sources, through protected areas and crossing the Appalachian Trail. Appalachian Trail Conservancy / YouTube

It's been a bad summer for fracked natural gas pipelines in North Carolina.

Read More Show Less
Atlantic puffins courting at Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge in 2009. USFWS / Flickr

When Europeans first arrived in North America, Atlantic puffins were common on islands in the Gulf of Maine. But hunters killed many of the birds for food or for feathers to adorn ladies' hats. By the 1800s, the population in Maine had plummeted.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Rescue workers dig through the rubble following a gas explosion in Baltimore, Maryland on Aug. 10, 2020. J. Countess / Getty Images

A "major" natural gas explosion killed two people and seriously injured at least seven in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning.

Read More Show Less