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Weed Control Products. Could They Be Hazardous to Your Health?

Weed Control Products. Could They Be Hazardous to Your Health?

At Casey Law Offices, S.C., we focus exclusively on prosecuting injury claims to ensure negligent individuals and businesses are held accountable for irresponsible behavior resulting in injury so those who are harmed are fairly compensated. We represent Wisconsinites who have suffered a variety of injuries, including those related to unsafe products.

Weed Control Products. Could They Be Hazardous to Your Health?

The weed killers that we have come to know first went to war. During World War II, researchers developed formulations that the Allies deployed to wipe out enemy crops.

But, as in the case of many developments used for combat, herbicides were put to work to clear weeds, enabling crops to flourish to feed a burgeoning world’s population going into the rest of the century. Here in this country, herbicides enabled farmers to produce higher yields from their fields while consumers benefit from lower food prices.

Meanwhile, Americans were moving out to the suburbs. Even though they probably had small lawns in the city, these families learned that they had to tame unwanted plants in their expansive lawns, patios, and extensive gardens.

Making Lawn and Garden Care Easier – At a Cost?

For most homeowners, weeding could take hours away from other off-hours activities. Instead of spending time on your hands and knees yanking out dandelions or those tufts of grass coming up between the paving stones, the weekend horticulturist can use a handy applicator to shoot weed killer on these invaders. Often people grab off the shelf at their local lawn and garden shop popular brands such as Roundup and Ortho to do the job.

Though these weed killers are widely used, people have been suspicious about possible health effects, especially off of what the Viet Nam generation knows about the impact of the herbicide Agent Orange on the vets who fought that war.

In the Milwaukee’s north shore, a study from 1997 found significantly high rates of breast cancer cases and deaths. Fingers pointed at herbicide use. Over the past decade, you saw an increasing number of crews applying organic weed killer on lawns in this part of metro Milwaukee. Homeowners are trying out natural weed killers available in the lawn and garden shops while friends swap recipes for making their means or eradicating ragweed, pigweed or other vegetative pests common to Wisconsin.

Roundup on Trial

The suspicions of many about the hazards around weed killers were confirmed off of a ruling just this month in a San Francisco courtroom. Jurors determined that Roundup gave a former school groundskeeper terminal cancer and awarded him $289 million in damages.

The case of the plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, could set a significant precedent for thousands of other cases claiming that Monsanto’s popular herbicide causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Unfortunately, due to the advanced nature of the disease, his two sons and wife will be losing a dad and a husband in perhaps weeks or months, though the award will take care of them for the rest of their lives.

Massive Exposure Lead to the Cancer

Johnson, 46, applied Roundup 20 to 30 times a year as part of his job as a groundskeeper. Twice while handling the product he had two accidents in which he was soaked with Roundup.

Then, two years later, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, eventually with lesions covering as much as 80% of his body. The cancer was so aggressive that as his case is terminal, California fast-tracked the trial rather than taking the usual two and one-half years.

The Number of Similar Cases Explodes

The lead attorney for Johnson has pointed out that the verdict should be a huge wake-up call for the EPA, which he feels needs to evaluate the labeling of weed killers regarding their use, along with appropriate warnings.

This has also been a wake-up call to others who have handled the weed killer and have contracted cancer. According to Johnson’s attorney Timothy Litzenburg, his and other firms have 4,000 similar cases awaiting trial in various state courts.

Monsanto, not surprisingly, is appealing, though the company will have to pay interest on the damages. This will amount to $25 million a year.

At Casey Law Offices, S.C., we focus exclusively on prosecuting injury claims to ensure negligent individuals and businesses are held responsible for irresponsible behavior resulting in injury, so those who are harmed are fairly compensated. We represent Wisconsinites who have suffered a variety of injuries, including those related to the national opioid crisis. Please call us at 414-272-3776.

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