Landmark Lawsuit Claims Monsanto Hid Cancer Danger of Roundup for Decades

Lawsuit alleges Monsanto suppressed evidence linking RoundUp to non-Hodgkin lymphoma

“Monsanto has long been aware of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicides are carcinogenic … but has continuously sought to influence the scientific literature to prevent its internal concerns from reaching the public sphere,” wrote San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow in an order he issued last week, fast tracking the case of a 46 year-old father of 3 dying of cancer.

California groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson’s case is at the forefront of a larger legal battle, in which 4,000 plaintiffs have sued Monsanto alleging exposure to Roundup caused them, or their loved ones, to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Johnson, who has months to live, hopes to get Monsanto to take responsibility for his fate before he dies.

His case goes a step further than the 4000 other plaintiffs’, alleging not only that Monsanto’s weedkiller causes cancer, but that they company has known about it for decades and has aggressively hidden the information from regulators and the public.

Monsanto “championed falsified data and attacked legitimate studies” and led a “prolonged campaign of misinformation” to convince government agencies, farmers and consumers that Roundup was safe, Johnson’s lawsuit states.

The lawsuit points to a long list of studies suggesting the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicides — glyphosate — is can lead to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

They also cite research showing showing Roundup’s glyphosate formula is more toxic than glyphosate alone. 

A march against the powerful agrochemical company Monsanto in Bordeaux, France, on 19 May.
A march against Monsanto in Bordeaux, France, on May 19. Getty Images

“We look forward to exposing how Monsanto hid the risk of cancer and polluted the science,” Johnson’s attorney Michael Miller told The Guardian. “Monsanto does not want the truth about Roundup and cancer to become public.”

Monsanto has fiercely denied the allegations, pointing to findings by the Environmental Protection Agency in its defense.

According to the court record, Johnson had a job as a school groundskeeper, where he applied numerous treatments of Monsanto’s herbicides from 2012 until 2015. He was healthy and active before he got the cancer diagnosis in August 2014.

In a January deposition, Johnson’s treating physician testified that more than 80% of his body was covered by lesions, and that he probably had only a few months to live.

The trial will proceed on June 18. A jury will be allowed to consider punitive damages.





4 responses to “Landmark Lawsuit Claims Monsanto Hid Cancer Danger of Roundup for Decades”

  1. Jacquie Edwards Avatar

    Monsanto has bought off our government officials and their latest ‘best buddy’ scott pruit will never shut them down. It is up to the public to close this company down by just NOT buying their products and demanding that our government officials do their jobs right.

  2. Pam Patton Avatar
    Pam Patton

    My husband worked on a dairy farm and handled Round up and other herbicides and pesticides every year around planting time. He suffered for a year and a half with non Hodgkin lymphoma before succumbing to it it 1998. He was only 31 years old. Back then,it was only a suspicion by medical professionals that the cause could be the chemicals used in farming and other professions. I know it is too late now to file a law suit but am so happy to finally know that they will be brought to justice. I can never bring my Doug back but knowing that finally there is an answer gives me closure and an answer to the cause.

  3. Betty hankins Avatar
    Betty hankins

    My husband has been diagnosed with non Hoskins lymphoma! He used this weed killer for years on the farm!

  4. Diogene Corneille Avatar
    Diogene Corneille

    I totally agree.
    I develop in last 10 year big intolerance to gluten, then last year I decided to grow up my own wheat in very natural way. I made my own bread and pasta with the harvest grain and my intolerance totally disappeared.