What’s the Problem?
Studies have found that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer may increase the risk of serious health problems including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a life-threatening cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced in 2015 that glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Roundup Linked to Cancer, Study Finds
IARC’s announcement followed a May 2015 review published in The Lancet Oncology that looked at studies on humans and mice exposed to glyphosate and other popular herbicides. Three human studies were included in the review, all of which appeared to suggest an increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from glyphosate exposure among humans. Additionally, glyphosate has been found in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, and other studies IARC investigated indicated that it caused DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, as well as in human and animal cells in the womb.
What is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia?
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a form of cancer (leukemia) that affects a type of white blood cell called a “lymphocyte.” Lymphocytes are made in bone marrow and help the body fight infection. In patients with CLL, the body makes an abnormally high number of lymphocytes that aren’t working right. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia mainly affects older adults, and accounts for about one-third of all leukemias.
Signs and Symptoms
It is common for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia to exhibit no recognizable signs or symptoms for several years, during which time the cells can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, liver and spleen. This makes the condition deadly and extremely difficult to treat. When symptoms of CLL do appear, however, they may include:
- Enlarged, but painless, lymph nodes
- Pain in the upper left portion of the abdomen, which may be caused by an enlarged spleen
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Frequent infections
Types of CLL
There are two separate and distinct forms of chronic lymphocytic leukemia:
- One kind of CLL grows very slowly (indolent) which means the cancer may not require treatment for a long time.
- The other kind of CLL grows faster and is a more serious disease.
The leukemia cells from these two types of chronic lymphocytic leukemia look alike, but lab tests can tell them apart. The tests look for proteins called ZAP-70 and CD38. If the CLL cells contain low amounts of these proteins, the cancer tends to grow more slowly and is less dangerous.
Treatment and Prognosis (Outlook)
Treatment options for chronic lymphocytic leukemia vary considerably, depending on the patient’s age, disease risk group, and the reason for treating (i.e. which symptoms the cancer is causing). Many people live a long time with CLL, but it is difficult to cure, and early treatment hasn’t been shown to be effective at helping people live longer. For these reasons and because treatment can cause side effects, doctors often advise waiting until the disease is progressing or bothersome symptoms appear, before initiating treatment.
Monsanto Lawsuit Alleges Cancer from Roundup Exposure
In September 2015, a lawsuit (PDF) was filed against Monsanto by a woman who allegedly developed chronic lymphocytic leukemia after being exposed to Roundup. Plaintiff Judi Fitzgerald worked as a Growers Assistant for a New York company from 1994 to 1998, where she was in close proximity to plants being sprayed with Roundup both in a greenhouse and in fields, according to the lawsuit.
“While Mrs. Fitzgerald did not personally apply Roundup, she was frequently within several feet of the area where Roundup was being sprayed,” the complaint states. “On at least several occasions, Mrs. Fitzgerald became ill within hours of being in the vicinity of the spraying of Roundup.”
In 2012, Fitzgerald was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Plaintiff alleges that Monsanto failed to adequately warning about the cancer risk with Roundup. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Roundup Lawsuits Centralized in California
In October 2016, a panel of judges consolidated all federal Roundup lawsuits into a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2741) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California before Judge Vince Chhabria. The lawsuits allege that Monsanto failed to adequately warn consumers and regulators about the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from exposure to Roundup.
FREE Confidential Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia after using or being exposed to Roundup weed killer, you may be eligible to obtain compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help. Contact a Roundup attorney today for a Free Confidential Case Evaluation by filling out the form below or calling toll free 24/hrs a day by dialing (866) 588-0600.
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