Is Roundup Safe to Use on My Residential Property?

man using weed sprayer

Roundup is a brand name weedkiller that was first introduced to American home and gardening markets in the 1970s. Roundup contains a powerful herbicide chemical, called Glyphosate, which can eliminate most kinds of invasive weeds. Because of its efficiency, Roundup is a common product used by both commercial and residential properties across the U.S. However, scientific studies of Roundup's effects on humans over the long term, and the legal cases regarding these effects, have continued to develop over recent years. Below we take a look at everything you should know about Roundup.

Types of Residential Properties that Might Use Roundup

Residential properties include any building or area zoned for living or dwelling, including individual, roommate, or household occupants. The types of buildings that can provide shelter on a residential property range from a single-family style home to multi-unit dwellings like a duplex, or even large apartment buildings. 

Homeowners or residential property owners may elect to use Roundup to eliminate weeds growing on their residential premises. If you personally use Roundup on your residential property, or if you employ a groundskeeper who uses Roundup on your residential property, you may want to weigh the following considerations concerning the use of this specific weedkiller.

Current Considerations When Using Roundup

Roundup has made waves in the news in recent years. Starting in the year 2018, three cases have been tried in U.S. courts alleging that the long-term use of Roundup led to the development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, in each respective plaintiff. The courts ruled in favor of these plaintiffs in each case, several individuals have joined a multi-district litigation action against the producer of Roundup (Bayer) on the same grounds. However, the science surrounding Roundup's link to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is still inconclusive. 

What are the Known Dangers of Using Roundup?

Given the outcome of the initial Roundup verdicts, the courts have consistently ruled on the side of the plaintiffs who allege that 25 to 30 years of exposure to Roundup led them to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. However, it is difficult to classify cancer as a known danger of using Roundup until there is sufficient scientific consensus on this potential link. Instead, it is best to consider non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as a potential health risk associated with Roundup for the time being.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma causes white blood cells to grow abnormally, which may result in tumors anywhere along the lymphatic system. Symptoms can also include:

  • Pain or swelling in the abdomen
  • Chest pains
  • Coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Sudden or unexpected weight loss

Important Legal Cases Involving the Use of Roundup

Three important Roundup lawsuits have been decided in recent years. The first occurred in 2018 when a California jury ruled that Monsanto, which has now been acquired by Bayer, did not sufficiently warn Roundup consumers about the potential link between their product and cancer. March and May of 2019 saw two similar cases that also resulted in rulings that favored their respective plaintiffs. 

There are now tens of thousands of similar Roundup lawsuits filed against Bayer, and many of them have been consolidated into a federal "multi-district litigation" (MDL) action or smaller civil case coordination. Depending on the specifics of each case, these lawsuits may be classified as personal injury cases and/or product liability cases.

What Does the Science Say About the Use of Roundup?

A consensus on the long-term health risks associated with exposure to Roundup, and more specifically the chemical Glyphosate, is still inconclusive at the time of this writing. This is because scientific studies, and statements released by top health organizations on the topic, have widely varied thus far. 

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a statement claiming that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A).” In 2017, however, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared its disagreement with this conclusion based on its own findings. The EPA reiterated its position in 2019, stating that glyphosate is "not likely to be carcinogenic to humans." It is important to note, however, that independent organizations have published their own studies that appear to display a link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

What to Do if I’ve Already Been Using Roundup

It is important to understand that the science surrounding a potential link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is still inconclusive overall. Still, some studies support a link, and three prominent Roundup legal cases were premised on such a link. At the same time, top health organizations like the EPA have argued against a link between cancer and Roundup, and the legal cases mentioned here were won on the grounds that Bayer should have warned consumers about a potential link, not an actual one. 

With these points in mind, individuals who have already been using Roundup should determine for themselves whether to continue or discontinue using this product. Individuals who have used Roundup for many years, and who have developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, may want to speak with an attorney to learn more about their legal options.

Should I Use Roundup on My Residential Home or Property?

At this time, Roundup products are still being sold as residential weedkiller. While Bayer has committed to removing the chemical gyphosate from their consumer Roundup products in an attempt to reduce litigation risk going forward, this change will not take effect until the year 2023. The Roundup products you may find on the shelves of your local gardening retailer now may still include this chemical. 

It is up to the individual homeowner or residential property owner to weigh out the scientific and legal conclusions presented here to determine for themselves whether to use Roundup on their homes or properties.

Do you have further questions about Roundup? Visit our site to learn more about Roundup litigation. To discuss the specifics about your own experiences with the weedkiller Roundup with an experienced attorney, fill out our free case evaluation at the bottom of this page.