Since the late 1970s, chemical weed sprays have become common in both the American workplace and the American home. These products have been used by a host of professionals, from farmers, landscapers, groundskeepers, as well as railroaders and even home gardeners. What wasn’t publicly known until recently are the potentially toxic and carcinogenic effects of these chemical weed sprays. The component of these herbicides that causes these potentially toxic effects is known as glyphosate.

What Is Glyphosate, And Why Should I Know About It?

Glyphosate is an organic compound used in chemical weed sprays that creates the herbicidal effects. It is used to kill weeds and other plants that interfere with the growth of crops. The original research and development of the compound glyphosate began in the 1970s by the company Monsanto and was first advertised for a consumer product under the trade name Roundup. Since then, and in particular since the patent on glyphosate expired in 2000, a host of other companies have produced their own glyphosate containing herbicides. Recently, there have been many questions asked in the research community about the safety in using products that contain glyphosate. In fact, there have been a number of cases where exposure to such products has been linked to the development of several types of cancers, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, lung cancer, and many others.

Status Of Glyphosate Safety

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a report that concluded glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans” and that it could potentially cause “DNA and chromosomal damage in humans.” Other agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency have done other research on the potential toxic effects of exposure to glyphosate and have found the linkage to not be as strong as IARC suggests. However, in the wake of these reports, several U.S. cities have taken action and implemented defensive strategies to combat the possible risks from exposure.

How To Best Protect Yourself When Using Chemical Weed Sprays

Until there is a consensus in the research community on the status of chemical weed sprays containing glyphosate, it is best to limit your potential exposure. However, if your occupation does require you to utilize these sprays, follow the safety guidelines outlined below to ensure safer usage:

  • Avoid direct contact with your eyes by wearing protective google or safety classes
  • Wear protective gloves and wash your hands thoroughly immediately after use
  • Aim to use these products on a calm day to limit the spread of chemicals by the wind
  • Keep the product away from children and pets, especially just after application

Chemical Weed Killer Litigation In The News

You may have seen the recent influx of lawsuits claiming that exposure to these herbicidal sprays was the majority contributing factor in people’s development of different types of cancer. While the institutional status of glyphosate as a carcinogen is in limbo, many juries in these cases have sided with the plaintiffs, awarding hundreds of millions of dollars. One such case emerged from California, where a man sued Monsanto, claiming that his exposure to glyphosate through his work as a groundskeeper lead to the development of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In this case, the jury awarded the man more than $200 million in damages. While past results do not guarantee future performance, if you used to or continue to work in an occupation where you are repeatedly using these chemical weed sprays, it is best to reach out to your doctor for testing and to contact an experienced dangerous chemicals attorney to learn about your options. If you or a loved one were exposed through your occupation to these chemical weed sprayers and have since been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, lung cancer, or another cancer, call the offices of Doran & Murphy to learn about your legal rights.