Bayer, manufacturer of popular weed-killer Roundup, may be facing thousands of lawsuits filed by Roundup users who developed cancer. People or loved ones of those who were diagnosed with a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup glyphosate weed killer may be eligible for compensation.

Roundup Weed Killer Linked to Cancer

Roundup is one of the most popular chemicals used in agriculture and gardening in the U.S. and around the world. It contains the weed killer, glyphosate which has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) to cause certain types of cancer. Roundup was previously manufactured by chemical giant, Monsanto until the company was acquired by Bayer in 2018.
After many years of denial regarding glyphosate’s link to cancer, in 2017 after a number of lawsuits had been filed against Monsanto, internal company emails were unsealed by a federal judge. The emails indicated that Monsanto had known about the likelihood that Roundup caused cancer and had undertaken drastic action to keep that information from the public. The actions taken included pressuring governmental agencies to take part in a massive cover-up.
After the disclosures, the number of lawsuits against Monsanto skyrocketed and the company was acquired by Bayer in 2018.

Several types of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma have been linked to use of Roundup including:

B-Cell Lymphomas

  • Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Follicular Lymphoma
  • Marginal Zona Lymphoma
  • Mantle Cell Lymphoma
  • Hairy Cell Lymphoma

T-Cell Lymphomas

  • Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)
  • Angioimmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma (AITL)
Bayer is facing over 11,000 Roundup glyphosate lawsuits filed by people who have been diagnosed or died after being diagnosed with cancer. Bayer has stated that they have reserved about $11 billion for resolution of Roundup cancer claims, later adding $2 billion for future claims which may be made.

Roundup Use

Roundup was introduced in the 1970s as a broad-spectrum herbicide, containing glyphosate. By 1980, it was the best-selling herbicide on the U.S. market and has seen use in large-scale agriculture including food production, landscape maintenance and was sold as a consumer product for home-gardeners and lawn care.
In agriculture, it is used both as a weed-preventative but is also used to remove vegetation so that produce can be harvested sooner and with less labor. For the home user, it is sold in both bulk liquid to mix, but also in convenient spray bottles that are premixed and ready to use. It has been one of the best-advertised products in U.S. history and was a flagship product for the multi-billion-dollar company Monsanto.
Pharmaceutical and health products giant, Bayer acquired Monsanto in July 2018 for $63 billion and as part of the merger, assumed liability for hundreds of Roundup lawsuits against the company. Bayer announced in 2019 that they would be resolving an estimated 125,000 cases and had set aside about $11 billion for settlements.
In February 2021, the company agreed to reserve an additional $2 billion for future Roundup lymphoma cancer claims administered through a class action lawsuit. Some consumer advocates and personal injury attorneys have opposed the plan which has not yet been approved by federal courts.
The plan which was set to go before Federal Judge Vincent Chhabria in May of 2021, may need revision as the judge suggested the settlement for future claims should be revised Judge Chhabria indicated that he sees the future cases as two separate groups of claimants: people who have been exposed to Roundup but have not been diagnosed with cancer and people who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma associated with Roundup but who do not have lawyer representation.
The statement by Judge Chhabria appears to indicate additional changes to the Bayer proposal will be needed before it can be approved.

Roundup Cancer Lawsuits Go to Trial

The first Roundup cancer lawsuit was filed by a gardener who had used Roundup in his work for many years and had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Dozens of lawsuits followed and after the 2017 disclosures of Monsanto malfeasance were made, the number of lawsuits exploded to over 11,000. Federal lawsuits were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The first case went to trial in August of 2018, resulting in a $289 million award for landscaper Dewayne Johnson including $250 million in punitive damages and $39 million in actual or compensatory damages. The award was reduced to $79 million by the judge, including $40 million in punitive damages. The case has been appealed by Bayer and has not been decided.
This judgement was followed in February of 2019 in a lawsuit by Edwin Hardeman who claimed that decades of use of Roundup on his property caused his non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The California jury awarded Hardeman $80 million for his injuries including $5 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages. This was reduced to $26 million by the court, including $20 million in punitive damages. Though Bayer appealed the judgment, the award was upheld by the panel in May of 2021.
Most recently, a couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod were awarded a collective $2 billion or $1 billion each including $55 million in actual or compensatory damages. Though the Hardeman case has been upheld on appeal. The Johnson and Pilliod cases are still under appeal, under a separate judge. Experts have stated that the $ billion punitive award for the Pilliod will likely be reduced to a more customary amount of 1 to 4 times the compensatory damages.
In 2019, Bayer estimated that claims numbers may reach as high as 125,000 cases and Federal court Judge Vince Chhabria has stated that the company may be purposefully delaying settlement agreements to minimize and cap damages. Judge Chhabria is overseeing hundreds of cases and was the judge of record in the Hardeman case which resulted in a settlement for the plaintiff.
Federal courts are expected to release a final review of Bayer’s lawsuit settlement proposal in mid to late 2021, however initial reviews suggest that Judge Chhabria has concerns about the plan and it may require revision The judge has also suggested that Roundup labeling will require additional warnings as part of any settlement approval. Timing for additional review has not been announced but Judge Chhabria said it would “be awhile”.
  • When exposure occurs (infancy, pregnancy, childhood etc)
  • Amount of exposure (how much)
  • Length of exposure (how long)
  • Method of exposure (drinking, breathing, skin contact)
  • Other factors

Monsanto Hides Cancer Link

Monsanto was accused of manipulating its own research which showed a link between glyphosate and cancer. Though the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared glyphosate to be a potential carcinogen, Monsanto continued to pressure U.S. governmental agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to refrain from publishing any negative information about Roundup. In fact, some evidence shows that the company acted as a ghost-writer for safety reports, press releases and other documents issued by the EPS.
Internal company emails show the company involved in improper supervision and safety activities for a number of years, including after world-wide acknowledgement of cancer risk had already begun. Despite these disclosures and lawsuit awards, Bayer still insists that the chemical is safe, and it is still being marketed and sold in the U.S.
World health groups and citizen advocacy organizations have indicated that they believe Roundup-related non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is not the only problem caused by glyphosate. Some health advocates say that it may cause other illnesses including several types of cancer, though no studies have emerged to show evidence. Current links to cancer include several types of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma including both B-cell Lymphomas and T-cell Lymphomas.
Roundup may also be a threat to people who have not even used the product, including children. Recently, a survey found high levels of glyphosate in a number of food products in U.S. grocery stores in both produce and packaged goods like children’s cereal.

Filing a Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

Roundup lawsuits have not been limited to agriculture or farming professionals but have included regular consumers who used the products at home. Thus far, lawsuits have only included blood cancer types in the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma category, but some advocates say that other health threats may also be caused by Roundup.
Currently, known cancer links include:

B-Cell Lymphomas:

  • Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Follicular Lymphoma
  • Marginal Zona Lymphoma
  • Mantle Cell Lymphoma
  • Hairy Cell Lymphoma

T-Cell Lymphomas:

  • Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)
  • Angioimmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma (AITL)