After a nearly $300 million verdict was awarded to a California groundskeeper who argued his terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer was caused by glyphosate, the potentially carcinogenic nature of herbicides has received a renewed spotlight. As national conversations continue over glyphosate, the thousands of lawsuits against Bayer AG Monsanto will continue to unfold.
Many of these lawsuits will rely on findings from organizations like the influential World Health Organization (WHO), whose research deemed glyphosate a probable carcinogen to humans. Even so, glyphosate is not the only herbicide that has been linked to cancer. While glyphosate has taken center stage, dicamba is another herbicide that has been linked to cancer and is found in Monsanto’s XtendiMax weed killer.
Here is a closer look at this herbicide’s links to various types of cancer.
Dicamba Drift Harms Crops, But Does It Harm People?
Dicamba vaporizes after it is applied at the site of application, and once it vaporizes, the dicamba can drift to nearby fields and crops. This phenomenon known as "dicamba drift" has, according to one study, damaged up to 4% of the United States’ soybean crops in 2017.
Due to findings like these, environmental groups argue that it is clear dicamba drift has harmed crops and wildlife, which is why some groups are arguing in federal court for the EPA to remove its approval of dicamba. When dicamba was approved, the EPA declared that XtendiMax would not affect plants and animals. Based on the available evidence today, this declaration appears inconsistent with factual findings from reputable studies.
In fact, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by farmers and other aggrieved parties whose crops have been damaged by dicamba drift that was originally applied at nearby fields before drifting to their crops. Several states have restricted dicamba because of the millions of acres in crop damage that has resulted from dicamba drift.
While these harms are important and essential legal considerations, it is also important to consider whether dicamba is carcinogenic or otherwise harmful to humans.
Dicamba and a Link to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
In the recent Roundup $289 million verdict involving glyphosate, a jury held that a groundskeeper’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis was causally related to glyphosate. As such, it is troubling that a 1993 National Cancer Institute study found that exposure to dicamba doubled a farmer’s risk of this same disease.
A separate 2006 study also linked dicamba to higher rates of lung and colon cancer, and these findings were based on a study including an evaluation of 20,000 workers who sprayed the herbicide on farms.
However, it must be said that there is not as much evidence linking dicamba to cancer as there is for glyphosate. In particular, the 2015 WHO declaration that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen carries an immense amount of weight in legal proceedings, and there is not yet such a proclamation concerning dicamba.
That said, the studies that suggest a link between dicamba and various cancers should not be discounted. In summary, studies have linked dicamba to the following cancers:
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Lung cancer
- Colon cancer
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with either of these types of cancer and used dicamba, talk to a dicamba cancer lawyer at The Ledger Law Firm to discuss whether you have a legal right to compensation.
Contact us online for a free case evaluation with an herbicide cancer attorney at Ledger Law today.