Agricultural Workers Diagnosed with Cancer Sue Monsanto

Agricultural Workers Diagnosed with Cancer Sue Monsanto

Monsanto is being sued again, this time by 2 separate agricultural workers who allege the agribusiness’ Roundup herbicide caused their cancers.

The farm worker and horticultural assistant also say Monsanto intentionally misled the public and regulators about the dangers of Roundup. [1]

Enrique Rubio, 58, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on September 22. Rubio, a former farm worker in California, Texas, and Oregon, dutifully sprayed fields of cucumbers, onions, and other vegetable crops with Roundup and other pesticides until 1995, when he was diagnosed with bone cancer, according to the lawsuit.

The second suit was filed by Judi Fitzgerald, 64, also on September 22, in federal court in New York. The suit alleges that Fitzgerald was exposed to Roundup in the 1990’s when she was working at a horticultural products company. She was diagnosed with leukemia about 3 years ago. [2]

Fitzgerald’s lawsuit states:

“Monsanto assured the public that Roundup was harmless. In order to prove this, Monsanto championed falsified data and attacked legitimate studies that revealed its dangers. Monsanto led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe.”

Both lawsuits claim that Roundup was a “defective” product and “unreasonably dangerous” to consumers, and that Monsanto knew or should have known that glyphosate – the main chemical in Roundup – could cause cancer and other illnesses and injuries, and failed to properly warn users of the risks.

Additionally, the lawsuits allege that the Environmental Protection Agency altered an initial classification for glyphosate from “possibly carcinogenic to humans” to “evidence of non-carcinogenicity in humans” after Monsanto pressured them to do so. Though the EPA likely knew glyphosate was carcinogenic for some time as well.

Six months ago, the World Health Organization, citing several studies showing links between cancer and glyphosate, said that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Monsanto says the findings are incorrect.

“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,” spokeswoman Charla Lord told Reuters.

In early September, California’s Environmental Protection Agency announced that it planned to add glyphosate to a list of known carcinogens. Roundup may even be required to carry a cancer-label in CA soon.

Additionally, a 2012 ruling against Monsanto was upheld by an appeals court in Lyon, France. The company had been found guilty of poisoning farmer Paul Francois. Monsanto says it will appeal the decision.

There are numerous other pending lawsuits against Monsanto.

Additional Sources:

[1] Reuters

[2] NYC Today


Featured image credit: REUTERS/CHARLES PLATIAU