Patients: Roundup gave us cancer as EPA official helped the company
Updated 1906 GMT (0306 HKT) May 16, 2017
- Plaintiffs say the herbicide Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- The company says there's no evidence the ingredient glyphosate causes cancer
(CNN)Christine Sheppard fantasizes about her life before cancer. Before she had to take painkillers "all the time." Before she had to seriously worry about when she might die.
"I found out something was wrong because my right leg swelled up enormously," Sheppard said. "They did an ultrasound and found I was completely full of these lymph nodes. It was stage IV large-cell lymphoma."
Grueling chemotherapy treatments have started robbing her of mobility. "It's a strange nerve thing," she said. "I don't always know where my feet are. I have to look down to see where they are."
And the symptoms "will be progressively worse. There's no cure. Eventually, I will probably end up fairly immobilized."
For 12 years, Sheppard had no idea what might have caused her non-Hodgkin's lymphoma -- until a group of cancer researchers reported that glyphosate, the key ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup, is "probably carcinogenic to humans."
That's the same herbicide Sheppard said she sprayed on her coffee farm in Hawaii for five years.
"I was incensed," said Sheppard, 67. "We had no idea."
Sheppard is one of more than 800 cancer patients suing Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, claiming the company failed to warn consumers about the risk of cancer associated with Roundup products.
Monsanto says there's no proof that glyphosate is carcinogenic. In fact, it cites a report by the Environmental Protection Agency's Cancer Assessment Review Committee that said glyphosate is "not likely to be carcinogenic to humans."
But the former chairman of that committee offered to stop an independent review on whether glyphosate could cause cancer, according to a plaintffs' motion to compel his deposition. And that has left Sheppard even more incensed.
Health agency: Glyphosate is 'probably carcinogenic'
The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer caused a stir in March 2015 when it said glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans," meaning it can lead to cancer.
"For the herbicide glyphosate, there wa