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Mother-of-Three Sues Monsanto Claiming Roundup Caused Her Cancer

Health + Wellness

Monsanto has been staring down an increasing number of cancer lawsuits ever since the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) infamously classified Roundup's main ingredient glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans" in March 2015.

One such plaintiff, Yolanda Mendoza, is now speaking out about her personal injury and product liability lawsuit against the chemical titan.

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in the Monsanto's flagship product Roundup, the most widely applied pesticide worldwide.Photo credit: Flickr

Three years ago, Mendoza was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma when she was only in her mid-thirties. When asked how she felt about the worrisome diagnosis, she recalled to CBS News, "[I felt] that I ­­was going to die. I had only like a few days."

The mother of three explained to CBS that she would walk around her one-acre property with a backpack sprayer containing the controversial weedkiller and believes the product led to her illness.

After a five-month battle with the disease and intense chemotherapy, Mendoza's cancer is in remission. But she now finds herself facing another giant: Monsanto.

Robin Greenwald, the head of environmental protection at personal injury law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, represents Mendoza and has helped file nine other cases against the St. Louis-based corporation over their blockbuster product.

Greenwald told EcoWatch that all of these cases are focused on exposure to Roundup and diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and the IARC has "issued a strong association" between glyphophate and the cancer.

Monsanto has sought dismissal of Mendoza's case as well as other similar cases but the company's motions have consistently been denied. EcoWatch has seen three such court orders, one from Hawaii and two from California, that have rejected Monsanto's attempt to dismiss the respective lawsuits.

Greenwald says people from around the country have been coming to her about Roundup lawsuits and have raised similar allegations that Monsanto has not adequately warned about Roundup's link to cancer. She said these people come in three categories: farmers, and at least one nursery worker, who have been exposed to the compound through agricultural work; people like Mendoza who regularly apply Roundup to their own lawns and property; and landscapers who go from town to town and get exposed to the product.

Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, has touched off major global controversy after the IARC's decision about the safety of the product. The weedkiller is so ubiquitous that it was found in urine samples of 93 percent of Americans tested, according to a test conducted by the University of California San Francisco.

Monsanto has long rejected the IARC's conclusion and has demanded a retraction of their report and cited their own studies and independent studies that conclude the product is safe.

"If you're using it properly, the way you should, you should be confident in the safety of that use every day," Monsanto's Dr. Donna Farmer told CBS.

However, Greenwald countered to EcoWatch, "Of course they are going to say that and I'm not surprised they say that," adding that Monsanto has a history of denying the toxicity of its products from Agent Orange to PCBs.

Greenwald, who spoke to Mendoza the other day, says her client wants people to know about Roundup's potential health risks and that she feels "lucky to be alive."

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