We use it in our garden and shower in on our crops.
Roundup is a weed killer that was heralded as something of a miracle after it was created 30 years ago because it saved farmers from the time-consuming, back-breaking work of clearing weeds from their fields.
But now scientific studies show it could be giving us cancer.
“The label said it was okay, so you just use it,” said Francene Lisle, who has chronic lymphoma leukemia and is now among the more than 800 people suing Roundup’s maker Monsanto.
Lisle, who recently moved from the Kansas City metro to Oklahoma, said she was diagnosed in March 2015 after her regular doctor noticed she had an elevated white blood cell count.
With no history of chronic lymphoma leukemia in her family, Lisle started searching for answers. That’s how she learned about glyphosate – a key ingredient in Roundup and other weed killers that has been linked to cancer.
“I grew up in a farming community,” Lisle said. “I worked in a plant in West Virginia that produced the chemicals for Roundup for Monsanto and I used Roundup. We all did down there.”
In 2015, the World Health Organization listed glyphosate as a chemical that probably causes cancer. This month, California added glyphosate to a list of potentially cancer-causing chemicals that are required to provide a warning to the public.
Monsanto denies that glyphosate is cancer causing.
"Glyphosate is not carcinogenic. ... California's sole reason for listing glyphosate under Prop 65 is the fatally flawed classification ... which ignored crucial scientific data that undermines its conclusion. We will continue to aggressively challenge this improper decision,” Monsanto said in a statement sent to FOX 4 and attributed to Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of strategy.
Monsanto’s websites also provides links to multiple other statements from scientists who have questioned the validity of the research linking glyphosate to cancer.
Attorney Noble McIntyre compared Monsanto’s reaction to that of cigarette companies in the 1990s.
“For the longest time, tobacco companies were able to produce study after study that tobacco didn't cause cancer,” McIntyre said. “And they would go before Congress and say tobacco didn't cause cancer. We all know now that it did and we know now since they paid such huge amount of money to resolve litigation with the states is because they were hiding reports. Do you really want to wait for Roundup until a lot of people die to look into this? Probably not."
Lisle said she doesn’t even know if she’ll still be alive if and when her lawsuit against Monsanto finally makes it to court. But she said it doesn’t matter because she didn’t sign on to make money. She wanted to make a point about a product that she believes no one should be using.
“One voice has a lot of power in it,” Lisle said. “If I can help someone else by just my voice than I don't care how big the giant is. I'll go up against him. I'm not intimidated. I don't have anything to lose.”