21 Plaintiffs Unite Cancer Cases Against Monsanto as EPA Forms Panel to Review Glyphosate
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, "probably" causes cancer, according to the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer. Flickr
On Wednesday, a motion was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to create a coordinated docket for 21 pending federal cases that involve the exact same product, the same active ingredient and the same injury, the legal news site Harris Martin Publishing writes.
The plaintiffs—represented by personal injury lawyers Aimee H. Wagstaff and David J. Wool of the Colorado law firm Andrus Wagstaff, P.C.—allege that exposure to glyphosate caused them to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
As Harris Martin reported (via
Sustainable Pulse), the plaintiffs want to unite the cases in one court either before judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel or judge David R. Herndon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
The Illinois court was chosen for a number of reasons. First, three of the 21 Roundup cancer cases are pending in the state. Second, the midwestern state is the largest producer of soybeans, which were doused with 122,473,987 pounds of glyphosate-based herbicides in 2014 alone, "more than any other crop," the plaintiffs said. Third, the Southern District of Illinois is located within 20 miles of St. Louis-headquartered Monsanto.
"Accordingly, Illinois' factual nexus and interest in the outcome of this litigation is extremely strong," the motion stated.
States that spray the most glyphosate. USGS Environmental Working Group
"Each Roundup Case requires extensive discovery concerning the safety, development and marketing of Roundup, which has been on the market since the mid 1970s," the motion said.
"Each Plaintiff will need to conduct the same complicated regulatory and scientific discovery (spanning over 40 years) to demonstrate that exposure to Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. To date, a few of the Roundup Cases have commenced discovery, but that discovery is being conducted under different, and sometimes conflicting, judicial constraints and orders. Centralizing these cases before one [Multidistrict Litigation] Judge to ensure that the discovery is done once for all claimants makes sense."
The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans" last year.
IARC Scientist Reaffirms #Glyphosate's Link to #Cancer as #Monsanto's Requests to Dismiss Lawsuits Denied https://t.co/UsSBjCnsjm @Neilyoung— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1467807677.0
Just last week, an Illinois woman filed a lawsuit against Monsanto in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois alleging Roundup caused her to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to the
Madison County Record.
Plaintiff Lynda K. Patterson alleges that she used Roundup on her garden and landscaping for more than a decade before being diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma in August 2014, the Madison County Record reported. She underwent aggressive treatment, including chemotherapy.
She claims Monsanto allegedly designed formulated, manufactured and distributed the herbicide and failed to adequately warn consumers of the product's health risks.
The plaintiff is represented by David M. Hundley of Hundley Law Group PC in Chicago and Christopher L. Coffin and Nicholas R. Rockforte of Pendley, Baudin & Coffin LLP in New Orleans. She is seeking a trial by jury and compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys' fees.
Robin Greenwald, the head of environmental protection at personal injury law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, told EcoWatch that people across the U.S. have been contacting her about Roundup lawsuits, raising similar allegations that Monsanto has not adequately warned about Roundup's link to cancer.
She said these people come in three categories: farmers and nursery workers who have been exposed to the compound through agricultural work; people who regularly apply Roundup to their own lawns and property; and landscapers who go from town to town and get exposed to the product.
Greenwald has helped at least 10 plaintiffs file lawsuits against Monsanto. She said all of these cases are focused on exposure to Roundup and diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
BREAKING: California Widow Sues #Monsanto Alleging #Roundup Caused Her Husband's #Cancer https://t.co/Guj50ZJDRq https://t.co/6CjDLMDXk6— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1457547884.0
The agritech giant has vehemently denied the cancer claims of its blockbuster product and has
demanded a retraction of the IARC report.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Federal Register notice Tuesday, saying it is seeking eight ad hoc scientists to serve on the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel that will review glyphosate's link to cancer at a four-day meeting this October.
"Individuals nominated for this meeting should have expertise in one or more of the following areas: Carcinogenicity (mammalian), cancer biostatistics, rodent cancer bioassays, epidemiology (cancer/occupational), genotoxicity/genetic toxicology/mutagenicity (related to human cancer risk), risk assessment, weight of evidence analysis, and mode of action/human relevance/adverse outcome pathway frameworks," the notice states.
The notice points out that other international bodies, such as the European Food Safety Authority and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization, have rejected the IARC's classification of glyphosate as a possible carcinogen.
In May, the EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC) inadvertently published a report online that concluded glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans but the document was taken offline a few days later. The agency said it has not finished its review of the chemical. The Federal Register notice also makes no mention of the pulled CARC review.
Malta Likely to Become First European Country to Ban Glyphosate - EcoWatch https://t.co/z0oGs5pjAZ @GMWatch @bpncamp— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1468877707.0
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The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.
By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma
Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
Headwaters of the Wind River within the largely intact Peel River watershed in northern Canada. Don Reid / Wildlife Conservation Society Canada / Author provided<p>Interestingly, we found that certain climatic combinations, such as warmer summer water temperatures with decreased summer rainfall, were important in determining where Pacific salmon could survive. Summer warming in drier watersheds led to declines, suggesting that lowered streamflows may have increased the risk of fish becoming stranded in subpar habitats that were too warm and crowded.</p>
The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
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By Joni Sweet
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Interviews With Contact Tracers<p>Contact tracing is a public health strategy that involves identifying everyone who may have been in contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Contact tracers collect information and provide guidance to help contain the transmission of disease.</p><p>It's been used during outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Ebola, measles, and now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.</p><p>It starts when the local department of health gets a report of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in its community and gives that person a call. The contact tracer usually provides information on how to isolate and when to get treatment, then tries to figure out who else the person may have exposed.</p><p>"We ask who they've been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or 2 days before the date of their positive test if they don't have symptoms," said <a href="https://case.edu/medicine/healthintegration/people/heidi-gullett" target="_blank">Dr. Heidi Gullett</a>, associate director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and medical director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio.</p>
“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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