This case involves an otherwise healthy farmer who allegedly contracted cancer from prolonged exposure to a chemical herbicide. The farmer worked in a location which relied heavily on the use of chemical herbicides for crop development. After 13 years in the industry, the farmer began to exhibit fevers and night sweats, enlarged lymph nodes, and abdominal pain. The farmer was eventually diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and passed away within the year. An expert in chemical toxicology was sought to discuss the link between herbicides and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Are you familiar with the ingredients in herbicides that can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- 2. How would one show how herbicides can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
Expert Witness Response E-022468
The key ingredient in here that has been linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is the organophosphate, glyphosate. Glyphosate was originally synthesized in the 1950s and then introduced as an herbicidal agent in the early 1970s. It was around this time that a significant increase in the incidence of NHL was observed. In the late 1980s, a number of epidemiological studies were initiated to try and identify a potential link between pesticidal/herbicidal agents and NHL. In 2016, citing the development of oxidative stress and chromosomal injury among individuals exposed to glyphosate-based formulations, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) came to the conclusion that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans with specific risk attributed to the development of NHL. One could begin to show the link by highlighting increased serum concentrations of glyphosate and the subsequent oxidative stress that has been found to be consistent with the development of NHL. One could also point to the IARC report indicating the link between glyphosate and NHL as evidenced by a number of epidemiological case-control studies. However, in highlighting this report, one would have to refute the industry-sponsored report which was quickly released in response to the IARC publication.