Jury Determines That Monsanto’s Roundup Responsible for Lymphoma

Superior court jury decides NHL was at least partly caused by glyphosate, the primary ingredient in RoundUp.

Jury Determines That Monsanto’s Roundup Responsible for Lymphoma

by Dr. C.H. Weaver M.D. 9/15/2018

Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million after they were found liable in a lawsuit from an individual diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) after using their weed killer product Roundup.

About Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system. There are several different types of NHL, which are differentiated by the type of immune cell that is cancerous, the characteristics of the cancerous cell, and different genetic mutations of the cancerous cells. Treatment for NHL varies depending on NHL type, patient age, and other existing medical conditions.

The incidence of NHL has been increasing over the past several decades. The reasons for this increase are unknown. As well, the causes of most lymphomas are unknown; the few with known causes include those associated with specific bacteria (Helicobacter pylori in gastric lymphoma) and viruses such as the Epstein-Barr virus (Burkitt’s lymphoma), HIV-related lymphomas, body cavity lymphomas (human herpes virus-8) or T-cell lymphoma (HTLV-1). However, none of these specific causes explain the increased incidence of lymphomas in recent years. There is speculation that exposure to chemicals, such as certain solvents, pesticides, herbicides, and water contaminated with nitrate, are responsible for the increased incidence of NHL.

The Superior Court jury hearing the law suit deliberated for two and a half days before concluding that the Plantiffs non-Hodgkin lymphoma was at least partly caused by glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup.

Scott Partridge, Monsanto's vice president, said in a statement that “We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family," Partridge said. But he added that the court decision "does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews . . . support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer and did not cause Mr. Johnson's cancer." Monsanto plans to appeal the decision and will "continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective, and safe tool for farmers and others."

Other cancer victims and families say Monsanto knew about the ingredient's risk for years but failed to warn buyers. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria had previously said there's “rather weak" evidence the ingredient causes cancer, but the opinions of three experts linking glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were not “junk science." Hundreds of lawsuits claiming Roundup causes cancer can now proceed to trial, despite Monsanto claims that there is no connection between glyphosate and cancer.

There is conflicting evidence linking glyphosate and cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that glyphosate is likely not a carcinogen. But, the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic."

According to one early online publication in the journal Blood, agricultural exposure to insecticides, herbicides, and fumigants are associated with increased risk of developing t(14;18)+ NHL.

Researchers from the Northwestern University, the University of, and the National Cancer Institute recently conducted a study aimed at uncovering a possible association between different molecular types of NHL and exposure to agricultural pesticides. This study included 65 patients with t(14;18)-positive NHL (refers to a specific genetic alteration in a type of NHL), 107 patients with t(14;18)-negative NHL, and 1,200 individuals who have not been diagnosed with NHL.

  • Patients exposed to animal insecticides, crop insecticides, herbicides, or fumigants had a 2.6 to 5.0 fold increase in the incidence of t(14;18)-positive NHL.
  • There was no increased incidence of t(14;18)-negative NHL and exposure to these agents.

The researchers concluded that agricultural pesticides appear to increase the risk of developing t (14;18)-positive NHL. These results further confirm suspicions that these agents are at least in part associated with the increased incidence of NHL over the past several decades.

Reference: Chiu BC, Dave BJ, Blair A, et al. Agricultural pesticide use and risk of t (14;18)defined subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Blood. first edition paper. Published online April 18, 2006;DOI 10.1182/blood-2005-12-0.

Comments
No. 1-1
PeggyZuckerman
PeggyZuckerman

A jury is likely to be sympathetic to a party it deems to be damaged, but not truly 'determine' anything. A jury is often not the group who is truly prepared to make a scientific determination of cause and effect in the same way that a jury may err in his judgement when it lacks all the facts.

I would assume that not one jury member could explain the basic risk of developing the particular type of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, nor understand how the 'increased' risk was calculated. Moreover, if the study referenced agove which "included 65 patients with t(14;18)-positive NHL (refers to a specific genetic alteration in a type of NHL), 107 patients with t(14;18)-negative NHL, and 1,200 individuals who have not been diagnosed with NHL,"

The conclusion of the study was broadly stated, with exposures to "animal insecticides, crop insecticides, herbicides, or fumigants". There is no specific reference to the exact types nor quanties of the Monsanto glycophosphate, not mention of any other exposures the injured party might have had.

There is no apparent cause and effect to the specific chemical or others the injured party might have been exposed to, nor an understanding of the individual base risk of getting that particular lymphoma--one of approximately 70 lymphomas.

We need a more scientific approach to our health and to the judgements passed in our legal system. This award in an example of the lack of that approach.