Court in Roundup MDL Orders Briefs on Cancer Studies

roundup-cancerU.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ordered the parties in Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741 to submit briefs on alleged flaws and biases in federal and United Nations research linking the herbicide to cancer.

Since the MDL was created in October, it has attracted 46 lawsuits, Case No. Case 3:16-md-02741-VC.

In March 2015, leading cancer experts from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” IARC reached its decision based on the research of 17 top cancer experts from 11 countries, who met to assess the carcinogenicity of 5 pesticides. The IARC review of glyphosate has led to the European Parliament calling for a complete ban on non-commercial public use of glyphosate and serious restrictions on agricultural use.

In contrast, on Sept. 12, 2016, the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (“OPP”) issued a 227-page evaluation of glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential, concluding that “[t]he strongest support is for [the description] ‘not likely to be carcinogenic to humans’ at doses relevant to human health risk assessment.” See Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evaluation of Carcinogenic Potential.


In pretrial order No. 8, the judge wrote, “It appears the plaintiffs are preparing to argue that the EPA’s conclusions about the carcinogenicity of glyphosate are flawed and/or biased. It appears Monsanto is preparing to argue the same with respect to IARC. It’s not obvious how directly relevant these arguments are to the questions the Court must consider during the general-causation phase of this case.”

Briefs must be filed by February 8.

An Illinois plaintiff who contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) after using the herbicide Roundup, charges in a new lawsuit filed in federal court that Monsanto knew of the cancer risks since the 1980s, but covered it up.

John Cushman of Effingham County, IL, sprayed Roundup on a regular basis for decades. He filed suit in US District Count for the Southern District of Illinois, alleging that the maker, Monsanto Company of St. Louis, MO, pressured the EPA not to label the herbicide as carcinogenic, and aggressively marketed it as “safer than table salt.” Cushman v. Monsanto, Case No. 16 cv 1042.\

“Any firm would be wise to get younger lawyers involved because this will be a long, hard fight,” said John Ray, a mass tort expert speaking in a recent webinar. Click to see the Slides & Recording for NTL Webinar: Mass Torts Update for Plaintiff Attorneys.

“This chemical interferes with the metabolic process, as a method for killing plants. There is no reason to believe it wouldn’t have the same effect on people,” Ray said. “The question is how much exposure is necessary to cause problems. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the tip of the iceberg. This chemical could affect the future of our species. It will be decades before we know everything that it did.”


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