| Sept 29
Sept 29 A U.S. farm worker and a horticultural
assistant have filed lawsuits claiming Monsanto Co.'s
Roundup herbicide caused their cancers and Monsanto
intentionally misled the public and regulators about the dangers
of the herbicide.
The lawsuits come six months after the World Health
Organization's cancer research unit said it was classifying
glyphosate, the active weed-killing ingredient in Roundup and
other herbicides, as "probably carcinogenic to humans."
One suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on
Sept. 22, names as plaintiff 58-year-old Enrique Rubio, a former
farm worker in California, Texas and Oregon who over several
years labored in fields of cucumbers, onions and other vegetable
His duties included spraying fields with Roundup and other
pesticides before Rubio was diagnosed with bone cancer in 1995,
the lawsuit states.
A separate lawsuit making similar claims was filed the same
day in federal court in New York by Judi Fitzgerald, 64, who
claims she was exposed in the 1990s to Roundup when she worked
at a horticultural products company. Fitzgerald was diagnosed
with leukemia in 2012.
Attorney Robin Greenwald, one of the attorneys who brought
Rubio's case, said on Tuesday that she expects more lawsuits to
follow because Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the
world and the WHO cancer classification gives credence to
long-held concerns about the chemical.
"I believe there will be hundreds of lawsuits brought over
time," said Greenwald.
Monsanto spokeswoman Charla Lord said that the claims are
without merit and that glyphosate is safe for humans when used
"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."
The lawsuits claim that Roundup was a "defective" product
and "unreasonably dangerous" to consumers, and that Monsanto
knew or should have known that glyphosate could cause cancer and
other illnesses and injuries, failing to properly warn users of
The lawsuits claim the Environmental Protection Agency
changed an initial classification for glyphosate from "possibly
carcinogenic to humans" to "evidence of non-carcinogenicity in
humans" after pressure from Monsanto.
WHO scientists cited several studies showing cancer links to
glyphosate, though Monsanto has said the findings are wrong.
Since the WHO action, some product liability lawyers have
been seeking out plaintiffs for potential class-action lawsuits
over glyphosate, postings on legal websites show.
(Reporting By Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Mo.; Editing by