In recent years a flurry of scientific studies have begun calling into question the potential human health effects of widespread use of the herbicide Roundup. The chemical has been linked to celiac disease (gluten intolerance), among other things. While research continues, people who are suffering from health problems that might be related to Roundup may want to understand their legal options.
How Roundup works
Roundup is part of a host of agricultural products manufactured by Bayer, which acquired Roundup and numerous other agribusiness products when it completed its purchase of Monsanto earlier this year. Roundup is an herbicide, designed to kill weeds around crops. Bayer sells Roundup-resistant seeds for a wide variety of commercial crops, which allow farmers to make heavy use of Roundup without damaging their crops.
A key active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, works by inhibiting a key part of the process plants use to synthesize proteins. One of the core arguments for glyphosate’s safety for humans and other animals is that the natural system it disrupts is only present in plants. But Roundup consists of more than just glyphosate. Some researchers have raised questions about the other, secret ingredients used in Roundup.
In recent years Monsanto (and now Bayer) has encouraged farmers to use Roundup not just to kill weeds, but also to dry out crops just as they are going to seed. This process encourages plants to bolt, with the result that many more seeds are produced. For seed crops like wheat, this process results in significantly higher yields and therefore greater returns for the farmer. But it also leaves more Roundup on the crop than might otherwise be there. Some researchers have tied this practice directly to the rise of gluten intolerance in the general public.
The science on Roundup is not settled
Laboratory studies on glyphosate and Roundup have reached troubling conclusions about the chemical’s potential effects on human and animal health. The World Health Organization has indicated that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic,” with toxicity similar to many other common products. Various studies using rats and worms have found the chemical to cause a range of neurological and cellular damage in high doses.
But other organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have concluded that the chemical is unlikely to be a carcinogen. Unsurprisingly, the industry itself has produced research that concludes that the chemical is safe when used in appropriate amounts.
The conflicting results of research conducted to date makes the environment more challenging for lawsuits against Bayer for health effects linked to Roundup. Plaintiffs not only need to prove that Roundup is the likely source of their health problems, they also must overcome the significant weight of contradictory science. This isn’t to say that a lawsuit isn’t justified. But it means that the stakes are high and the challenges significant.
Talk to a Las Vegas personal injury attorney about your case
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you think you are suffering from health problems as a consequence of exposure to Roundup, call us today for a free attorney consultation. We’re available at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.