Monsanto Slammed with $289 Million Verdict in Historic ‘RoundUp’ Cancer Lawsuit
San Francisco: Monsanto was handed a stunning jury verdict of $289-million in a lawsuit by Dewayne Johnson, who is suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and says Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller gave him terminal cancer. Naturally, Monsanto will appeal the verdict, but this could become a precedent-setting case leading to further attempts to make Monsanto accountable for the illnesses caused by its products. There are an estimated 2,000 more cases like this in state courts and hundreds more in federal courts. -GEG
Summary by JW Williams
A San Francisco Jury awarded $289-million in damages to a former school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, who said Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller gave him terminal cancer. Mr. Johnson applied the pesticide up to 30 times per year, and now suffers from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. As much as 80% of his body is covered with lesions. Monsanto says it will appeal the verdict. Monsanto is a subsidiary of Germany’s Bayer AG, which bought the agrochemical company in June for $66-billion.
Johnson’s case was the first to be heard, with 2,000 similar cases pending in Missouri, Delaware, and California courts. There are hundreds of more cases waiting to be heard in federal court pending a ruling to determine if there is sufficient evidence for a jury to hear the cases.
Monsanto says the EPA, the US National Health Institute, and health regulatory authorities around the world have declared their products to be safe. However, documents uncovered last year led to questions about Monsanto’s efforts to influence the news media, to rig scientific research, and to hide data that revealed serious health hazards of their flagship product, RoundUp pesticide.
Israel Is Carrying Out Warfare Against Gaza by Spraying Crops with Harmful Chemicals
Israel has been spraying Palestinian crops in Gaza with herbicides to damage the vegetation since 2014. Officially, the crop dusting is only done on the Israeli side of the border fence, but Palestinian farmers and the Red Cross testified that the damage can be seen deep inside Palestine. Glyphosate is the main herbicide that is used, and can stay in the soil for months or even years, and may have negative health consequences for people who consume contaminated crops and/or inhale the herbicide. Israel claims that clearing the brush near the border is necessary for security purposes.
The purpose of herbicides is to enable farmers to grow produce, but Israel is quietly using them to do just the opposite in the Strip — in the name of security.
Photographs of military armored vehicles uprooting and crushing trees and vegetation within the Gaza Strip are not foreign to Israelis, but what is less widely known is that since 2014 Palestinian fields are also being razed through the use of herbicides sprayed from the air — as first publicized by the website 972. Officially, the spraying is only done on the Israeli side of the fence, but as Palestinian farmers on the other side, along with the Red Cross, have testified, the resulting damage can be seen deep inside Palestinian territory.
FDA Found Glyphosate Weedkiller in All Foods Tested, Monsanto Prepares for Trial in June
Internal emails from the FDA show that their chemist, Richard Thompson, found glyphosate weed killer, a “probable carcinogen”, in every food sample that he tested, except broccoli. Separately, another FDA chemist, Narong Chamkasem, found that corn contained 6.5 ppm glyphosate, while the legal limit is 5 ppm. Instead of reporting this to the EPA, an FDA supervisor made an excuse that it was not an “official sample.” A trial is set for June 18 in San Francisco pitting more than 300 farmers, landscapers and gardeners against Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, claiming that exposure to glyphosate in the product caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
US government scientists have detected a weedkiller linked to cancer in an array of commonly consumed foods, emails obtained through a freedom of information request show.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food samples for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in hundreds of widely used herbicide products, for two years, but has not yet released any official results.
But the internal documents obtained by the Guardian show the FDA has had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide.
“I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them,” FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote to colleagues in an email last year regarding glyphosate. Thompson, who is based in an FDA regional laboratory in Arkansas, wrote that broccoli was the only food he had “on hand” that he found to be glyphosate-free.
That internal FDA email, dated January 2017, is part of a string of FDA communications that detail agency efforts to ascertain how much of the popular weedkiller is showing up in American food. The tests mark the agency’s first-ever such examination.
“People care about what contaminants are in their food. If there is scientific information about these residues in the food, the FDA should release it,” said Tracey Woodruff, a professor in the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. “It helps people make informed decisions. Taxpayers paid for the government to do this work, they should get to see the information.”
The FDA is charged with annually testing food samples for pesticide residues to monitor for illegally high residue levels. The fact that the agency only recently started testing for glyphosate, a chemical that has been used for over 40 years in food production, has led to criticism from consumer groups and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Calls for testing grew after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.
Glyphosate is best known as the main ingredient in Monsanto Co’s Roundup brand. More than 200m pounds are used annually by US farmers on their fields. The weedkiller is sprayed directly over some crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat and oats. Many farmers also use it on fields before the growing season, including spinach growers and almond producers.
Thompson’s detection of glyphosate was made as he was validating his analytical methods, meaning those residues will probably not be included in any official report.
Separately, FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem found “over-the-tolerance” levels of glyphosate in corn, detected at 6.5 parts per million, an FDA email states. The legal limit is 5.0 ppm. An illegal level would normally be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but an FDA supervisor wrote to an EPA official that the corn was not considered an “official sample”.
When asked about the emails and the agency’s testing, an FDA spokesman said only that the FDA had not found any illegal levels in corn, soy, milk or eggs, the four commodities it considers part of its glyphosate “special assignment”. He did not address the unofficial findings revealed in the emails.
The FDA’s official findings should be released later this year or early in 2019 as part of its 2016 annual residue report. The reports typically are released two to two and a half years after the data is collected.
Along with glyphosate, the agency has been trying to measure residues of the herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba because of projected increased use of these weedkillers on new genetically engineered crops. The FDA spokesman said that the agency has “expanded capacity” for testing foods for those herbicides this year.
Other findings detailed in the FDA documents show that in 2016 Chamkasem found glyphosate in numerous samples of honey. Chamkasem also found glyphosate in oatmeal products. The FDA temporarily suspended testing after those findings, and Chamkasem’s lab was “reassigned to other programs”, the FDA documents show. The FDA has said those tests were not part of its official glyphosate residue assignment.
Pesticide exposure through diet is considered a potential health risk. Regulators, Monsanto and agrochemical industry interests say pesticide residues in food are not harmful if they are under legal limits. But many scientists dispute that, saying prolonged dietary exposure to combinations of pesticides can be harmful.
Toxicologist Linda Birnbaum, who is director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), said that current regulatory analysis of pesticide dangers does not account for low levels of dietary exposures.
Monsanto Data Shows It Colluded with the EPA And Media To Hide The Truth about Its Products
San Francisco: A lawsuit, with more than a hundred plaintiffs against Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide, is the source of data that proves the company colluded with the EPA and media outlets to conceal the fact that its best-selling product was never tested to see if it causes cancer. There are more than 1,100 plaintiffs in other states also bringing suits against Monsanto. In preparation for having to abandon glyphosate in the wake of these discoveries, the company is re-focusing its marketing efforts on a newly-approved genetically engineered corn. –GEG
The EPA Colluded With Monsanto To Hide Roundup Weed Killer’s Link To Cancer
Court documents reveal deep roots of corruption and collusion between Monsanto and the EPA. The EPA declared that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer was safe without conducting tests on it. It relied solely on Monsanto research. Monsanto’s lead toxicologist, in her deposition to the court, admitted that the company did not run studies to see if there is a link to cancer. The EPA’s Jesse Rowland of the agency’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee even tried to kill cancer research conducted by the World Health Organization that indicated Roundup was carcinogenic. -GEG
If we had a dime for every kooky, left-wing theory we’ve heard alleging some vast corporate conspiracy to exploit the treasures of the earth, destroy the environment and poison people with unknown carcinogens all while buying off politicians to cover their tracks, we would be rich. The problem, of course, is that sometimes the kooky conspiracy theories prove to be completely accurate.
Lets take the case of the $60 billion ag-chemicals powerhouse, Monsanto, and their controversial herbicide, Roundup as an example. For those who aren’t familiar, Roundup Ready is Monsanto’s blockbuster weedkiller, credited with transforming U.S. agriculture, with a majority of farm production now using genetically modified seeds resistant to the chemical.
For years the company has assured farmers that their weed killing product was absolutely safe to use. As proof, Monsanto touted the approval of the chemical by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
That said, newly unsealed court documents released earlier today seemingly reveal a startling effort on the part of both Monsanto and the EPA to work in concert to kill and/or discredit independent, albeit inconvenient, cancer research conducted by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)….more on this later.
But, before we get into the competing studies, here is a brief look at the ‘extensive’ work that Monsanto and the EPA did prior to originally declaring Roundup safe for use (hint: not much). As the excerpt below reveals, the EPA effectively declared Roundup safe for use without even conducting tests on the actual formulation, but instead relying on industry research on just one of the product’s active ingredients.
“EPA’s minimal standards do not require human health data submissions related to the formulated product – here, Roundup. Instead, EPA regulations require only studies and data that relate to the active ingredient, which in the case of Roundup is glyphosate. As a result, the body of scientific literature EPA has reviewed is not only primarily provided by the industry, but it also only considers one part of the chemical ingredients that make up Roundup.”
Meanwhile, if that’s not enough for you, Donna Farmer, Monsanto’s lead toxicologist, even admitted in her deposition that she “cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer” because “[w]e [Monsanto] have not done the carcinogenicity studies with Roundup.”
Monsanto Cancer Lawsuits Focus On EPA Official’s “Suspicious” Role
A retired EPA official is at the center of more than 20 lawsuits that allege Monsanto failed to warn of cancer risks from glyphosate, the key ingredient in its Roundup weed killer. Jess Rowland, a former EPA deputy division director, is accused of helping Monsanto by publishing a report advising that there was not enough evidence to link glyphosate to cancer, which preempted further research. The EPA is trying to stop his deposition in March. -GEG
A manager who left the agency’s pesticide division last year has become a central figure in more than 20 lawsuits in the U.S. accusing the company of failing to warn consumers and regulators of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicide can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
A federal judge said Monday that he’s inclined to order the retired official, Jess Rowland, to submit to questioning by lawyers for the plaintiffs, who contend he had a “highly suspicious” relationship with Monsanto. Rowland chaired a committee that found insufficient evidence to conclude glyphosate is carcinogenic and left his job just days after his report was leaked to the press in May.