Farmers and agricultural workers in Iowa should be aware that Roundup, Monsanto's flagship weed killer, may cause Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a type of cancer. As reported earlier this year by the Mercury News, there are now over 700 lawsuits pending against Monsanto throughout the country.
The culprit is glyphosate, Roundup's main ingredient. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization agency, released a study saying that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. At that time, Roundup was garnering $15 billion in annual sales. Not surprisingly, Monsanto disputed the IARC's findings and has been arguing ever since that Roundup is perfectly safe for humans to use. Today, over 250 million pounds of Roundup and Monsanto's other glyphosate products are sprayed every year on crops, lawns, golf courses and public and private parks. Monsanto has received $4.8 billion in revenue from the U.S. sales of Roundup alone.
Most of the lawsuits allege not only that using Roundup gave the plaintiffs cancer, but also that Monsanto produced false research saying that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. Another allegation is that Monsanto has engaged in a continuing cover-up regarding the carcinogenic properties of Roundup.
A California federal judge recently released court documents indicating that these latter two allegations are not without merit. The documents show that Monsanto employees conspired to ghostwrite studies showing that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. When published, these studies were attributed to academicians. In addition, the documents show that an Environmental Protection Agency senior employee assisted Monsanto in suppressing negative glyphosate reviews.
According to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, lymphoma is a type of cancer that attacks white blood cells. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is the kind of lymphoma not involving Reed-Sternberg cells. Over 61 kinds of cancer are known to be NHL.
NHL can manifest itself in the lymph nodes, bone marrow, spleen and blood, as well as many other parts of the body. The most common symptoms of NHL include the following:
- Fever and sweating
- Lack of energy
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Unexplained loss of weight
NHL patients usually are treated with an aggressive course of chemotherapy, radiation and biologic therapy. Many also require stem cell or bone marrow transplantation.