This article was originally published on The Legal Examiner on July 25th, 2023
Dr. Chadi Nabhan is a hematologist and medical oncologist who has worn many hats.
He has served as chief of Hematology and Cancer Institute director at the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois and an associate professor of medicine and medical director of the Clinical Cancer Center at the University of Chicago. He is the creator and host of the podcast “Healthcare Unfiltered.” Nabhan is currently serving as chairman of the Caris Precision Oncology Alliance.
Nabhan is also the author of the new book, “Toxic Exposure: The True Story Behind the Monsanto Trials and the Search for Justice,” published by Johns Hopkins University Press.
In the book, the doctor details his experiences as an expert witness tasked with showing how Monsanto, the original manufacturer of the popular weed killer Roundup, was liable in Roundup lawsuits in which users of the product contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Nabhan shares what he saw the plaintiffs go through, how Monsanto’s public relations team attempted to push to the side the 2015 revelation made by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) deeming glyphosate a dangerous carcinogen, and even potential ways the Environmental Protection Agency was swayed to not agree with that IARC decision. (Surprisingly, the EPA maintains that glyphosate has no risk to humans when used as intended).
How Roundup Is Linked to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Every year individuals – farmers, gardeners, and landscapers spray more than one billion pounds of Roundup on plants, fields, and gardens. Monsanto created the weed killer in the 1970s with glyphosate as a main ingredient.
Because the application process was so easy, Roundup’s popularity grew year after year. However, while the product continues to be a top seller, since the IARC’s revelation eight years ago, the manufacturer has been reckoning with the overall safety of glyphosate-based products And, while there has not been 100 percent agreement, the fact remains that scientific experts, time and time again, have concluded there is a strong link between Roundup use and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is the seventh most common cancer in the United States and develops in either the lymph nodes or in lymphatic tissue. Typically, a diagnosis of NHL comes after a blood cancer specialist performs a lymph node biopsy. Once diagnosed and treated, there is a 73 percent survival rate over five years, although some subtypes are more aggressive than others.
Since the IARC’s revelation, thousands of Roundup users who developed NHL have filed lawsuits against Monsanto and Bayer AG, which purchased Monsanto in 2018.
Nabhan’s Roundup Viewpoint
In “Toxic Exposure,” Nabhan details for the reader how he worked to show the manufacturer’s liability in cancer cases, and while discussing his book with the online publication, The New Lede, Nabhan explained that as an expert witness well-versed in blood cancers, he knew to focus on “…the totality of evidence.’’
According to Nabhan, it would have been erroneous to look at one piece of evidence while ignoring others.
“So first, we look at mechanistic studies. Is there evidence out there that human cells, when they are exposed to glyphosate, develop damage to their DNA? Second, we look at animal studies. Are there animal studies to demonstrate that exposure to Roundup or glyphosate causes tumors or cancers in animals? Third, we look at epidemiologic studies. So, is there epidemiologic evidence that people exposed to glyphosate have a higher risk of developing cancer or non-Hodgkin lymphoma than people that are not exposed?”
While he did indeed find evidence linking Roundup with NHL, Nabhan also recognized that more information on the dangers of glyphosate would continue to emerge, citing research released in March that included three Swedish case-control studies looking at exposure to phenoxyacetic acid and glyphosate as risk factors. In those studies, researchers found that after glyphosate exposure, the NHL risk nearly doubled.
Nabhan’s book also stated his belief that Monsanto went to great lengths to control its public image. He stressed that when conglomerates like Monsanto lobby for their products, there is a chance they will go to great lengths to sway the marketing in their favor.
In an interview with Salon, Nabhan explained it this way, “I think we all know that there are situations where large corporations are able to influence science or bend the science, when they’re able to lobby for their own interest,” he said. “I do believe that Monsanto has played a major role — in ghostwriting, as an example, where they would have a lot of input into scientific articles — and they never acknowledge that they even had input in these articles. They put the authors on these articles who would be major scientists and thought leaders, but there’s no way you would find out anywhere in the article that Monsanto even had any influence in the writing.”
So far, Bayer AG has spent more than $10 billion in settlement money, and new Roundup lawsuits continue to be filed as more cases of NHL emerge. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after glyphosate exposure, an experienced Roundup lawyer can help determine possible legal options. It is essential for those injured due to Roundup to receive financial support and to hold those responsible for their pain and suffering accountable.