Deadly Crosby Plant Explosion

(April 3, 2019)   Early this morning, 26 different agencies were investigating a deadly explosion that hit Crosby, Texas yesterday.  One man was killed and two more were hospitalized after an explosion around 10:45 a.m. rattled the southeast Texas community. The explosion was apparently sparked by a transfer line that ignited a tank full of a chemical called isobutylene.

James Earl Mangum “Bubba”

The man killed was 27-year-old James Earl Mangum, nicknamed Bubba.  Reports say Mr. Mangum may have been attempting to fix an isobutylene leak in the plant when it exploded.

Isobutylene Danger

Isobutylene is a highly flammable colorless gas that can cause dizziness, drowsiness and unconsciousness. Benzene was also reported to have been burning yesterday.

The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office reported that the fire was contained by 4:20 p.m., but officials this morning were still keeping the public away from the plant. Cautionary roadblocks went up in case of another flare up of the type which occurred just two weeks ago in the ship channel explosion and fire in Deer Park.  The two people injured in yesterday’s explosion are reportedly in critical condition.

Charges Filed against KMCO
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a petition last night against KMCO for violations of the Texas Clean Air Act. In addition, Harris County Fire Marshalls Office issued a subpoena to the plant as part of their investigation. The subpoena will preserve documents related to KMCO and to aid investigators in figuring out the cause of the fire.

EPA, TCEQ Weigh in
The Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring air quality. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) also sent emergency response people, along with an air quality van.

TCEQ Executive Director Toby Baker said: “I applaud the attorney general for acting swiftly on my requests to hold KMCO fully responsible.”

KHOU 11 reported that employees and residents in the area were badly shaken up by the explosion. A KMCO employee identified as “Justin” told KHOU 11: “It was terrifying. . . There’s always a danger, but you never expect it to happen.”  Justin said employees made a mad dash for the exits.

History of Violations: $3.5 Million Plus
Federal court records show KMCO was criminally convicted in 2016 for two counts of knowingly violating the Clean Air Act.  The company was fined $3.5 million, including $200,000 in a community service payment to the Southern Environmental Enforcement Network (SEEN).

The company was fined for failing to monitor leaks of ground-level ozone (smog) producing air pollutants at its chemical processing facility in Crosby from 2008 to 2012. KMCO also admitted that it falsified records to secure permits. According to court records, KMCO also operates under the names of Crosby LP and Ramsey Properties. A sister company, KTX LP, was also charged in the case for a different explosion in Port Arthur.

KMCO was also charged with air pollution violations in 1986 in Harris County District Court. It pleaded no contest and paid a $300 fine. Harris County sued KMCO in that case and has also sued it twice more more for pollution crimes. A case filed in 2017 is still pending. KMCO also has been fined nearly $400,000 by state and U.S. regulators.

OSHA has fined KMCO roughly $250,000. The company was cited for 66 violations at its Crosby plant from 2010 to 2013. One of the cases was opened on Dec. 24, 2010, the same day two plant employees were injured. The company was fined more than $65,000 in that case for 15 serious violations, including safety management of highly hazardous chemicals, hazardous waste, emergency response, and control of hazardous energy.

KMCO has also been fined about $140,000 by TCEQ for 11 violations. The highest fine was for $35,370 in 2013 when the company released too much carbon monoxide emissions and didn’t conduct stack tests.

Deadly Crosby Plant Explosion
The KMCO web site says the company “delivers superior specialty chemical manufacturing and toll processing services to many of the world’s largest chemical companies. Our facility has batch and continuous distillation and multiple reaction capabilities producing over 900 million pounds per year of toll manufacturing products.”

KMCO owns plants in Crosby and also in Port Arthur, Texas. The Crosby plant – located at 16503 Ramsey Road off Crosby Dayton Road near Highway 90 – employs more than 180 people full-time. It contains more than 600 tanks (minus one or two after the latest explosion and fire), 28 reactors, 250 rail storage areas.

Chemical Production: Anti Freeze & More
The Crosby plant produces antifreeze; brake fluid; oil field-, glycol-, and cement-grinding products.

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Farmer died fighting Monsanto

At least one Wisconsin farmer died fighting Monsanto.  Mike O’Connell tried blowing the whistle on the biotech bully from Missouri before he died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011. He wrote books of poems as well as letters to his political representatives and to local newspapers blowing the whistle and attempting to stop FDA approval of Monsanto’s insidious bovine growth hormone (rBGH), called Posilac.  He also refused to use Monsanto’s chemically-perverted GMO seeds and its Roundup poison on his own corn crops.

Fencing can’t stop Roundup

Mr. O’Connell may not, however, have mistrusted Monsanto enough. He did use Roundup to kill weeds on his farm property.  It was a choice which may have killed him.  His widow said he was drenched in Roundup on at least one occasion after a spill while mixing it in his barn.  He most certainly inhaled the poison for decades when his farm neighbors routinely sprayed it on their own corn and soy crops. A former college basketball player and restless athlete, he loved to walk for miles at night along the country roads lining his and his neighbors’ properties.

We are All Glyphosate Poisoned Now

Most of the farmers whose property surrounded the O’Connell farm regularly used Roundup on their crops.  The southern part of the state where he farmed for three decades is annually drenched in millions of gallons of Monsanto’s best-selling poison.  Fence lines can’t stop pesticide drift.  Tests show Roundup’s only listed active ingredient – glyphosate – is present in more than 90 percent of Americans. We are all being forcefed glyhosate in one form or another.  Even organic wine has been found to contain glyphosate, though in lower levels than conventionally-produced wine.  Glyphosate has been proven to contaminate our water, popular foods, wine, beer, and our vaccines. Yes, this known carcinogenic is being injected directly into the bloodstreams of babies and small children.

Time will tell just how many of us will die of lymphoma like Mr. O’Connell did, or of some other malady related to Roundup exposure.

Mike O’Connell’s story demonstrates that it probably doesn’t matter whether we liberally spray Roundup ourselves.  Tests have proven that glyophosate accumulates over time in the human body.  The more exposure one has, the more it accumulates. We’re not unlike fish who all swim in the same water.  We all breathe the same air, and like John Kennedy said in trying to stop the arms race, “We are all mortal.”

No Ordinary Farmer

Mike O’Connell was no ordinary farmer – if any fool could ever say there is any such thing as an “ordinary farmer.”  He graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in English, and then earned a Masters Degree in English from the University of Wisconsin.  He was teaching Journalism at a  high school in 1968 when he fell in love with the land in southern Wisconsin.  At age 25, he bought a small farm for $19,000, with a down payment of $3,000. In the next thirty years he would get an education in farming and its nearly complete takeover by corporate interests like Monsanto and its government and university enablers.

He saw how Monsanto gained FDA approval for bovine growth hormone despite the objections of thousands of farmers as well as scientists who showed that it was fraught with peril for both cows and human beings. One team of investigative reporters in Florida were muzzled and then fired — which later led to a whistleblower lawsuit which they won – after they unveiled the ugly truth about Monsanto’s BGH.  ln 1995, Mike O’Connell wrote a poem about the unholy alliance of Monsanto, the FDA and land grant universities like his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin.

One of his poetry collections – My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It – includes several poems calling out Monsanto for its dangerous products and surreptitious dealings with government regulators and educational institutions beholden to the biotech giant by virtue of its multi-million-dollar “contributions.”

Mike O’Connel wrote:

“The deep pockets of the chemical companies allowed them to buy influence for approval of Bovine Growth Hormone injections in State Legislatures and at the Food & Drug Administration. More discouraging was the way they were able to silence any dissent from within Land Grant Universities, institutions founded to preserve, protect, and defend family farms.

BGH had no redeeming social or economic value for farmers, cows, or consumers. But the prospect of a $26 million Biotech Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus was enough to guarantee undivided support from career-conscious faculty and extension agents.”

Dairy Science Christmas

After a decade of buying influence in high places, Monsanto finally gained FDA approval of its synthetic bovine growth hormone product, Posilac, just before the holidays in 1993.  By this time, some of the Monsanto researchers had taken posts inside the FDA, where they could pretend to be objective reviewers of their own company’s data.

God rest ye merry dairymen, let nothing you dismay.
You must accept this biotech, there is no other way.
A shot on Christmas Eve could mean more milk on Christmas Day.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Now there will be some suffering, your finest cow may fall,
But you must keep the needle sharp, your back’s against the wall.
Don’t skip a single stanchion and don’t miss a single stall.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Before you go to church today, or after you come back,
Give your cows their Christmas gift, the gift of Posilac,
And pray to God that somehow you will get your money back.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Tonight there lies a baby in a manger far away.
He might not like to see the things we do to cows today.
But he still has his eyes closed – sssh! – don’t wake him right away.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

 

Farmer died fighting Monsanto

Mike O’Connell would no doubt be pleased to see that some people harmed by Monsanto have won dramatic jury verdicts — of $289 million and $80 million (though they’re on appeal, of course). Though justice against the biotech bully from St. Louis is coming late, at least Monsanto is being taken to task for its monstrous crimes against us all, against nature.  Mass chemical poisoning of our land, air, and water is not the answer to our food challenges.  One out of every two people will now develop cancer. This madness must end. We can’t both poison our food and eat it, too.  It was nothing but insanity to think that we ever could, the kind of insanity that Monsanto money drives. Nobody knew that lesson better than Mike O’Connell.

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Monsanto loses second Roundup Trial – $80 Million Verdict

(March 28, 2019) A California jury yesterday ordered Monsanto to pay more than $80 million to a man who developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma after using Roundup weedkiller poison.  It was the second of two trials which Monsanto has now lost over its best-known product.

After a day of deliberations, the jury found Monsanto guilty on a failure-to-warn claim, a design-defect claim, and a negligence claim.  They voted unanimously to award plaintiff Edwin Hardeman $200,967 in economic damages, roughly $5 million in future and past economic damages, and $75 million in punitive damages. He had used Roundup for more than two decades.

Monsanto is now 0-2 in Roundup trials.  This second trial was the first in federal court against Monsanto, which also lost the first state court trial over Roundup last summer, in a $289 million verdict later reduced to $78.5 million.

“A jury has spoken twice after hearing evidence from both sides,” said attorney David Matthews, whose law firm is handling Roundup lawsuits against Monsanto.  “They have loudly denounced this pesticide as causing cancer.  We hope Monsanto will finally listen.  Our health is our wealth. It must not be needlessly compromised.”

Controversial Two-part Trial Format

Unlike the first trial, this one featured a controversial two-part format (against the plaintiff’s wishes) in a curious “bifurcation” arrangement.  The first part, dubbed “causation,” ended on May 19 (see: Down goes Monsanto!) when the jury ruled unaimously that Roundup was a substantial factor in causing Mr. Hardeman’s cancer. That ruling sent the trial into a second phase which allowed the plaintiff’s side to offer some (but far from all) evidence of Monsanto’s secret moves to control worldwide media spin over Roundup, hire ghostwriters to promote Roundup while posing as disinterested third parties, and massage and manipulate federal EPA regulators.

In the second phase, the plaintiff’s side was able to show the jury evidence of how Monsanto was aware, since at least 1980, of five epidemiological studies, seven animal studies, three oxidative stress studies, and 14 genotoxicity studies that linked Roundup products to cancer. Lawyers for the plaintiff in closing Monsanto never warned consumers and refused to conduct its own long-term research because the company was afraid of what it would find.

Monsanto Rebuttal

Monsanto’s attorneys argued that glyphosate, Roundup’s only active ingredient listed on the product, is the most studied pesticide in the world and no health organizations or regulatory body had ever found glyphosate could cause cancer, until recently.

To award punitive damages, Monsanto’s attorneys told the jury they would have to believe company employees committed criminal conduct and are lying about Roundup safety.

The jury determined that Monsanto employees committed criminal conduct and were lying about Roundup safety.

Mr. Hardeman’s case is the first to go to trial in federal court in California’s northern district over allegations involving Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro poisons. Some 700 cases have been consolidated before Judge Vince Chhabria. He said during a hearing earlier this year that he will likely “push the pause button” on federal litigation after the verdict in the next Roundup trial, in order to allow the parties to consider settlement negotiations. The next Roundup trial is scheduled to start in start court in Oakland, Calif. May 20.

Monsanto loses second Roundup Trial 

The case is Hardemanv. Monsanto Co. et al., case number 3:16-mc-80232.  The MDL is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation case number 3:16-md-02741 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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Houston Law Firm investigating Injuries from Ship Channel Fire

(March 25, 2019)  Matthews & Associates Law Firm in Houston, Texas is investigating injuries caused by a fire in the Houston ship channel that started in Deer Park last week. Oil byproducts from a damaged storage facility run by Intercontinental Terminals Company went up in flames on March 17.  The fire contaminated the Houston Ship Channel, creating a cloud of cancer-causing benzene and other toxic chemicals.  It was one of the Gulf Coast’s worst chemical disasters in more than ten years. The fire burned for three days, then reignited on Saturday, May 23.

In the fire and aftermath, a  cloud of cancer-causing chemicals that includes benzene hung over the ship channel for more than a week.  The ignited chemicals were reportedly used in nail polish remover, paint thinner, and gasoline.  Detections of benzene at the ITC site prompted officials to announce shelter-in-place orders for Deer Park and Galena Park.  The U.S. Coast Guard banned vessel traffic on part of the industrial shipping route.

International Terminals Company at Ground Zero

The incident started with a wall collapse and fire at Intercontinental Terminals Co.’s already-damaged chemical storage complex on Sunday, March 17.  Toxic gasoline ingredients, firefighting foam, and dirty water flowed from the site into the channel, while a benzene plume hung over the water.  The toxic cloud posed a threat not only to ship crews and firefighters, but also to the thousands of people who live in the area.  As the toxic cloud blew toward the city, Houstonians were told to remain indoors for several days to avoid the fallout, but long-term health effects are far from certain.

The disaster began when tanks holding byproducts of the oil-refining process at ITC’s facility erupted in flames.  A mile-high plume of black smoke towered over the area and the city of Houston for days.  Fire crews finally brought the the blaze under control on March 20, but it flared up again on Saturday, March 23.

Benzene alerts shut down Deer Park and other suburbs for half a day, while local news channels warned Houstonians to stay indoors to avoid contaminated air and fallout from the fires.

Nausea, headaches, Other Symptoms

At least a thousand people complained of nausea, headaches and other symptoms.  They sought  treatment at a nearby pop-up clinic.  Fifteen of the most-severe cases were taken by ambulances to nearby hospital emergency rooms.

“It’s been a never-ending, re-occurring case of things not working out as planned,” said Deer Park Mayor Jerry Mouton during a media briefing on March 23, as the second fire broke out.

Local residents and millions of Houstonians were left wondering what would happen next.  The Deer Park fire and fallout appears to be the worst industrial disaster in the area since 15 people were killed in the 2005 explosion at BP Plc’s Texas City refinery.

Resident:  “The trust is not there.”

“There’s more tanks in there. Is it going to reignite?” Mercy Reyna, 50, asked a Houston Chronicle reporter.  Along with many others who live near ground zero, Ms. Reyna has  been suffering from headaches, eye discomfort, and chest tightness.  “The trust is not there,” she said.  “We feel like we’re not being told the truth of what’s going on.”

Benzene Alert

After the initial blaze was extinguished, ITC made two unsuccessful attempts to drain a charred tank holding pygas, a petroleum derivative composed largely of benzene.  Early on Friday, ITC executives estimated they would have that tank emptied in about 12 hours.  But then the wall failed and flames erupted nearby.

Benzene is a carcinogenic chemical, colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature.  It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable.  It evaporates into air quickly, but its vapor is heavier than air and may sink into low-lying areas. Hence the warning to all Houstonians.  And after it falls from the air, benzene dissolves only slightly in water; it will float on top of water.

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Investigation

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board announced that it would be investigating the fire.  The Texas National Guard dispatched troops to assist local authorities with air monitoring after the cancer-causing benzene wafted across the area.  Besides prompting take-shelter alerts for some four million Houstonians, several roads were closed to traffic.

The Houston Ship Channel

The Houston ship channel is one of the busiest commercial shipping facilities in North America.  It connects Houston’s manufacturing and oil-refining network to Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Lawsuit over Clean Air Violations

The company said on March 22 that there were about 60,000 barrels (2.52 million gallons) of hazardous chemicals still held in the damaged section of its complex, the next day it no longer knew how much remained.  Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he’ll file a lawsuit accusing ITC of violating clean-air laws.

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Monsanto spends Millions to promote Pesticides, GMO Lies

(March 22, 2019)  Monsanto spends millions of dollars to promote pesticides like Roundup, spread GMO propaganda, and attack organic food choices with paid shills posed as disinterested scientists or honorable academics.  The good news is that more and more of the truth is emerging daily.  Much of that truth has come to light from legal “discovery” which has given us The Monsanto Papers.

11,000 Lawsuits

The truth about Monsanto is being unearthed by lawsuits filed by more than 11,000 people now suing the biotech giant for giving them non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  The lawsuits all allege that exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (classified by EPA as a pesticide) caused them to develop lymphomas that include chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The Monsanto Propaganda Money Trail

Discovery in recent Roundup lawsuits has unveiled the propaganda money trail.  It shows just how Monsanto fools some of the people some of the time.  The money trail shows how Monsanto assembles front groups seeded with morally bankrupt scientists.  The money trail shows us how Monsanto runs astroturf organizations with payrolled employees disguised as normal citizens with some talent for the truth.  The Monsanto money trail shows us how the company hires professional bloggers to poison the blogosphere, just like Monsanto poisons the earth – a definite theme emerges here.  Monsanto’s bloggers flat-out lie about organic foods and Monsanto’s own products.  They also use click bait to draw unsuspecting people into “discussions” about pesticide-laced, genetically modified foods being superior to organic food, or foods not genetically perverted and loaded with pesticides.

How else could a company that sells the poisoning of the natural world itself as a virtuous act defend itself without hiding behind ostensibly third-party “scientists” and bloggers?  Monsanto has a long history of lying to the public and being the darling of government “regulators” like the Monsanto-captured EPA and the Monsanto-captured FDA.  In a blatantly illegal act, the latter broke the law in allowing genetically modified foods to be unleashed on us all in the first place.

Center for Food Integrity / Monsanto Partnership

Witness just one blinding glimpse of Monsanto’s duplicity in setting up dummy groups to hoodwink people and then hide behind those groups as honest arbiters of “science.”  Ever heard of the so-called, “Center for Food Integrity”?  Monsanto has. It owns the organization, which poses as an arbiter of good science.

Stacy Malkan reported for US Right To Know in May 2018:

“The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), formerly the Grow America Project, is an industry-funded 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that conducts research, lobbying and public relations campaigns to “earn consumer trust” for food and agrichemical companies, including DowDuPont, Monsanto, Cargill, Costco, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Hershey, Kroger and trade associations for meat, dairy and soybeans.”

In the five-year period from 2012-2016, CFI spent $23,225,098 on various marketing and messaging programs to promote industry messaging to build trust in genetically engineered foods, pesticides, food additives and antibiotics in meat”

The Center for Food Integrity has zero interest in integrity.  For $23 Million, you can get almost any morally-bankrupt person (or maybe just a morally-compromised person who needs to pay his rent) to say just about anything.  (Right, Mr. Miller?)

Monsanto “Industry partner” attacks IARC Cancer Panel

Ms. Malkan wrote:

“This internal Monsanto document identifies the Center for Food Integrity as an “industry partner” in Monsanto’s public relations plan to discredit the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), to protect the reputation of Roundup weedkiller. In March 2015, IARC judged glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, to be probably carcinogenic to humans.

Monsanto recognized that the WHO’s pronouncement of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen could be the beginning of the end for Roundup, and maybe even for the company itself.  And so Monsanto set its attack dogs to work at “The Center for Food Integrity,” and in many other dark fouled corners of the earth where the light doesn’t shine, but where money doesn’t just talk; it screams.

Monsanto money is still screaming in a  California court where a jury of six this week unanimously ruled that Monsanto’s Roundup was a substantial factor in a man’s developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Monsanto’s attempts to geofence the sequestered jury over the “safety” of Roundup didn’t work, thankfully, and the trial has now entered its second phase.

The jury is now being allowed to hear about some of Monsanto’s behind-the-scenes efforts to manipulate public opinion and federal regulators, though the judge in the case — who formerly worked in a law firm which represented Monsanto – continues to keep a tight rein on just how much of Monsanto’s manipulations he is going to allow the plaintiff’s side to share with the jurors.

Meanwhile, all the rest of us can do is pray that the truth will out, that common sense will reign, that more and more people will come to understand the painfully obvious, that nothing good can come of us poisoning our own food and land and water.

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Down goes Monsanto!

 (March 20, 2019 Like the underdog Muhammad Ali shocking the giant George Foreman in 1974, plaintiff Edwin Hardeman knocked biotech monster Monsanto to the canvas yesterday.  In a unanimous decision in a California court room, a jury of six declared that Monsanto’s Roundup caused Mr. Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The trial will now move to a phase two, a “damages” phase, which will somewhat untie Mr. Hardeman’s attorneys’ hands.  In this first phase which the plaintiff won yesterday with the unanimous decision, the plaintiff’s attorneys were allowed only to present evidence proving Roundup can cause cancer, and that it likely caused Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.

Attorneys not allowed to share evidence

Mr. Hardeman’s attorneys were not allowed to show any of Monsanto’s ongoing efforts to –

Monsanto has taken all these actions which the jury was not allowed to hear about in phase one.  (Hence the Foreman analogy; the behemoth Foreman appeared unbeatable, especially as he had youth and raw power on his side, just as Monsanto had the bifurcation power of the court on its side, as well as a judge who had once worked for a law firm which defended Monsanto.)

Some of Monsanto’s Machinations now Fair Game

In phase two of the trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys can now show the jury some of Monsanto’s devious moves behind-the-scenes to manipulate public opinion and ply federal regulators to help hide Roundup’s poison profile.

The key word is some.  Judge Vince Chhabria, who had granted Monsanto attorneys’ requests to handicap the plaintiff’s side by bifurcating the first Monsanto trial in federal court, is also keeping a tight rein on what evidence he will allow even now.

Since Mr. Hardeman was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2012, Chhabria has said that he will not allow evidence against Monsanto that came to light after that time.

Monsanto IARC Evidence Stifled

This ruling means that plaintiffs will not be allowed to show evidence of how Monsanto secretly hired ostensibly “objective” scientists to denounce the World Health Organization after its International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate in Roundup a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

The Seralini Affair Evidence Stifled

The jury will also not see evidence of how Monsanto used its media monies worldwide to attack French researcher Dr. Geiles Seralini after he performed a two-year rat study which showed how rats fed glyphosate developed hideous tumors.  That study was so threatening to Monsanto that the company quietly enlisted several scientists (who were on the company’s payroll in one way or another) to manufacture outrage about the legitimacy of the rat tumor study.  Monsanto also quietly (but not quietly enough, obviously, for it was all discovered later) had an editor installed at the offending journal, who then pulled the article from publication.  To this day, Monsanto claims that the Seralini study was pulled from publication because it failed a test of scientific legitimacy.  However, what Monsanto’s misinformation minions always fail to say is that there was such legitimate outrage in the honest scientific community over Monsanto’s subterfuge in the Seralini affair that the “pulled” journal article was re-peer reviewed and then re-published in another scientific journal.

There was nothing wrong with the Seralini study in the first place, which is why it was published in the first place and also why it was republished.

There was something wrong with Monsanto, there is something wrong with Roundup, and with Monsanto’s duplicitous and even arguably criminal actions, as there has always been something wrong with Monsanto.  Just as there is something wrong with Agent Orange, and bovine growth hormone, something very wrong with Monsanto’s PCBs and a host of other toxic products which spread misery and death as they raise Monsanto profits.

We pray that the truth will out, and that more people, like the jury in California, will come to see that the vast poisoning of our world by Monsanto does not bode well for any of God’s creatures, who count on the humanity and intelligence of decent men and women everywhere to protect the bounty of the earth.  Religion is on our side and so is the science, as Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, by Steven M. Druker, shows us.

Down goes Monsanto!

George Foreman got religion in his later years, by his own admission.  He dropped the hateful bully routine and began to work at becoming a better human being.  Now, if only Monsanto would do the same, we could all be living in a better place.  Let’s all dare to dream.

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Down goes Monsanto!

California EPA labels Roundup Cancerous

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Roundup Cancer Lawsuit 

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Talcum-Mesothelioma Verdict $29 Million against Johnson & Johnson

(March 19, 2019)  A California jury awarded a woman a talcum powder-mesothelioma verdict  of $29 million against Johnson & Johnson on March 13.  The woman sued J&J over asbestos contained in the company’s baby powder which, she said, caused her to develop mesothelioma.

Plaintiff Terry Leavitt said she routinely used two of J&J’s talcum powder products in the 1960s and ’70s.  She was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017. Mesothelioma is a cancer linked to asbestos exposure.  The latency period for mesothelioma can be 30-40 years.

The jury deliberated for two days before finding that J&J’s talc-based products were defective and caused Ms. Leavitt’s mesothelioma.  The jury also ruled that J&J failed to warn the public about the risks. The California Superior Court jury in Oakland awarded the plaintiff and her husband $29.4 million in damages.

Thousands of Talc-Cancer Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of lawsuits which allege that J&J talc-based products have harmed people.  The Leavitt lawsuit was the first to go to trial since December 2018 stories published by Reuters and The New York Times reported that, for several years, J&J had feared that its baby powder might contain asbestos.  The company still denies, as it did throughout the latest trial, that its talcum powder contains asbestos.

J&J said it would appeal the verdict.  Reuters reported that the company claimed the trial was marred by “serious procedural and evidentiary errors.”  J&J also countered in a statement:  “The jury verdicts are not medical, scientific, or regulatory conclusions about a product.”

J&J Executive:  Talc Asbestos Powder

In December 2018, documents showed that J&J knew for decades that its baby powder was laced with small amounts of asbestos.  The deadly material can occur naturally underground near talcum, which is mined.  In the 1970s, a J&J executive warned that the company’s talc mines might not be free of asbestos.  The New York Times reported that a company memo said some of J&J talc products sometimes contained materials that “might be classified as asbestos powder.”

13,000 Lawsuits over J&J Talcum Powder

Recent cases have tested talc’s link to mesothelioma, but many other cases allege talc powder has caused ovarian cancer.  According to Reuters, Johnson & Johnson now faces more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide.

$4.7 Billion Talc-Cancer Verdict

In 2018, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay 22 women $4.7 billion after  the women alleged that they developed ovarian cancer from using J&J talcum powder products.  More than $4 billion of the jury award consisted of punitive damages, which are designed to punish a defendant for wrongdoing.  In December  2018, J&J failed to convince a judge to throw out that verdict , but the company vowed to appeal that decision.

J&J Denies Talc Contains Asbestos

Despite several jury verdicts over a talc cancer link, J&J has always denied that its talcum has ever contained asbestos.   J&J claims that decades of medical studies have demonstrated that its talc is safe.  J&J has stated:  “Research, clinical evidence and nearly 40 years of studies by independent medical experts around the world continue to support the safety of talc.”

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Monsanto attacks Honest Scientists & Science

More evidence has emerged to show how Monsanto attacks honest scientists and even science itself.  The chemical company giant has long worked to “neutralize” or discredit individuals and organizations when their findings threaten Monsanto profits.

Time and again, Monsanto’s actions behind the scenes impugn the chemical company’s endless “on- message” claim that Roundup is safe, doesn’t cause cancer, and no evidence exists anywhere to show that it does cause cancer.

The big message problem for Monsanto is that its own duplicitous conduct is well known on many fronts.  It begs the simple question:  If Roundup is as safe as advertised, then why has Monsanto worked so very hard to attack any scientists and any scientific findings showing Roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?  Monsanto’s messaging problems abound and grow by the day.  Here is just a small sampling:

  • Why has Monsanto hired ghost writers like Henry Miller, the bogus Stanford academic, to attack organic foods and organic farming in mainstream publications like Newsweek?
  • Why does Monsanto secretly attack anti-GMO Activists?
  • Why did Monsanto try to destroy French researcher Dr. Giles Seralini after he performed a rat study which showed GMO corn gave rats hideous tumors?
  • Why did Monsanto use its press minions to attack Carey Gilliam, a brave and honest writer who has published a superbly-researched book on Monsanto titled, “Whitewash — The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science.
  • Why has Monsanto worked behind the scenes with EPA regulators to quash at least one Roundup safety study?
  • Why did a Monsanto executive feed a Reuters reporter fake news that defamed the International Agency for Research on Cancer and one of its scientists, after the IARC declared glyphosate a probable carcinogen?
  • Why has Forbes magazine had to pull fake news stories (on at least two occasions) that maligned, misrepresented, and attacked researchers who pointed out the dangers of Roundup?
  • Why did Monsanto use an industry hack named Geoffrey Kabat to attack research which showed Roundup increases non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk by 41 percent? Kabat accused the authors of cherry-picking data, and he made other patently false statements, all while failing to disclose his ties to the industry.
  • Why has Monsanto attacked those who prove that the industrial farming methods Monsanto promotes strip soil of nutrients that form the most basic building blocks of environmental, human, and animal health?

Forbes magazine – which has published several articles defending Monsanto – published Mr. Kabat’s scathing review of the meta-analysis showing Roundup increased cancer risk, and then later pulled the article.  Why did Forbes pull the piece?  Because it was full of falsehoods, like so much of Monsanto’s propaganda that its press minions get paid to fling.  It was the second time in recent memory that Forbes was forced to pull Monsanto propaganda which Forbes had initially represented as “news.”

There was nothing honest about Geoffrey Kabat’s diatribe, just as there is nothing honest about Monsanto’s position that glyphosate is safe and no studies prove otherwise.  Even a federal judge who has shown himself more than sympathetic to Monsanto’s arguments – curiously “bifurcating” the first federal Roundup trial – was forced this week to admit the plain truth.  The judge denied a request from Monsanto’s lawyers to grant a summary judgment which would have ended the trial in Monsanto’s favor.

Yes, even the federal judge who had favored Monsanto by severely handicapping the plaintiff’s side with “bifurcation” wrote:

“[T]he plaintiffs have presented a great deal of evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of its product. (Although) the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue.”

Those are strong words from a judge who had once worked for a law firm that defended Monsanto.  His bifurcation of the trial meant the jury was not able to hear about Monsanto’s reckless attitude toward safeguarding the public.   They were unable to hear trial evidence of how Monsanto had more interest in manipulating public opinion than getting at any underlying truths.  The jury did not hear evidence of how Monsanto was most interested in undermining anyone with “genuine and legitimate” concerns about Roundup.

The six jurors will be allowed to hear some of that evidence of Monsanto’s propagandizing and reckless disregard only if they decide unanimously that Roundup caused the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  The jury began deliberations on March 13, 2019.  They will resume deliberations again on Friday, March 15.

One can only hope now that the bifurcated trial arrangement will not hinder the jury’s arriving at the truth of the matter, despite being allowed to hear only a fraction of the whole story in this first phase of the trial.

In this first phase, only if all six jurors unanimously agree that Roundup was the principal cause of the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, will they then be allowed to move to a second, damages phase.  If and only if they make it that far, will they then be allowed to hear at least some of the truth behind Monsanto’s behind-the-scenes manipulations, of Monsanto’s attacks on honest scientists, of its never-ending maneuvers to manipulate the actual reporting of the science itself.

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Shocker: FDA hides Thousands of Medical Device Problems

(March 8, 2019) A shocking report from Kaiser Health News has found that the FDA hides thousands of medical device problems from patients and their doctors.  The FDA has, for nearly two decades, allowed medical device companies to file reports of injuries and malfunctions outside the well-known public database known as MAUDE, Manufacturer And User Device Experience Database.  The FDA, in effect, has been shown to keep separate sets of books: one, a heavily-censored and incomplete public set accessible to patients and providers; the other, a private and more complete (and therefore more relevant) set accessible only to some medical device manufacturers.

 “No matter how cynical you get, you just can’t keep up.”  – Lilly Tomlin

“Alternative Summary Reporting” Subterfuge

The FDA’s bookkeeping subterfuge – which the agency euphemistically calls “alternative summary reporting” – seriously compromises any legitimacy the FDA and MAUDE may have offered, which is an alarming development, to say the least.  Many medical experts have trusted the FDA and MAUDE to identify problems that could put patients in peril.

FDA records provided to KHN show that more than 480,000 injuries or malfunctions were reported through the alternative summary reporting program in 2017. That means no doctors or patients saw those reports, or that they saw only a tiny fraction of them if they were similar to other reports made on the same type of device.

Dangerous Devices Lead to Secret Program

According to officials with FDA at the time, “alternative summary reporting” began two decades ago to cut down on redundant paperwork.  Former FDA official David Kessler said the program took shape after scandals over under-reporting of device problems spurred changes that allowed criminal penalties against medical device companies.

Thousands of injury and malfunction reports began coming to the agency each month. Kessler said some 15 staff members reviewed them. He said many reports were so similar that reviewing them individually was “mind-numbing.”  Kessler went to the FDA’s legal department and to device makers for a solution.  Medical device makers then wrote their own ticket; they would be able to seek a special “exemption” to avoid reporting certain complications to the public database. The manufacturers would instead send the FDA a spreadsheet of injury or malfunctions each quarter, half-year, or year. Nobody but the FDA would be able to put the actual injury numbers together after that, or the total number of adverse events.  The agency would no longer share those real numbers with the public, with patients and medical providers.

Kessler said reviewers could then quickly look for new problems or spikes in known issues. (They would no longer be bogged down by actual reports, real numbers, total adverse events and injuries that were “redundant.” ) When the program launched in 2000, the list of exempted devices was made public and only a few devices were involved, according to Kessler.

Few people even within the FDA knew about the program then or now, and that list Kessler mentions as being public then is no longer public. We do know, however, that transvaginal mesh makers are now part of it, able to hide the actual number of women injured by the controversial plastic mesh used for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

Starting in September, KHN filed Freedom of Information Act requests for “exemption” agreements and reports for several medical devices. Health and Human Services officials denied an appeal to provide some of the records quickly, concluding there was no “compelling need” for haste. For one request, the records were estimated to arrive in 22 months.

The FDA did provide some top-level data. It shows that from 2014 through 2017, the overall number of alternative summary reports filed by device makers rose from 431,000 to 481,000.

FDA Unplugged

The Kaiser Health News story suggests the FDA’s reporting deception was not uncovered until a surgeon performed his due diligence after a device he had used failed.

“Special Exemption” 

Dr. Douglas Kwazneski experienced a stapler malfunction during a liver surgery.  He then researched other possible adverse events involving the stapler.  He checked the FDA’s MAUDE database.  He found “there was nothing.”   But then he surveyed leading surgeons.  Two-thirds of them told him they had also experienced stapler malfunctions, or they knew a peer who had.

Dr. Kwazneski then discovered that the FDA had granted the makers of surgical staplers a special “exemption.”  This arcane arrangement allowed the device maker to file reports of malfunctions in a database hidden from both doctors and the public.

FDA Covers up 1.1 Million Events 

“[I]t seemed like a coverup,”  said Dr. Kwazneski, who practiced at the time in Pasco County, Florida.

Worse, the KHN investigation shows FDA has built and expanded a vast and hidden repository of reports on device-related injuries and malfunctions.  At least 1.1 million incidents have flowed into the internal “alternative summary reporting” repository since 2016.  They all but disappear there, instead of being described individually in the publically accessible MAUDE database.

The hidden database has included serious injury and malfunction reports for about 100 medical devices, according to the FDA. Many of those were implanted in patients or used in thousands of surgeries. The adverse event reports for surgical devices have included surgical staplers, balloon pumps for blood circulation, and mechanical breathing machines.

An FDA official said that the program is for issues that are “well-known and well-documented with the FDA” and that it was reformed in 2017 as a new voluntary summary reporting program was put in place for up to 5,600 devices.  “Voluntary?”

Secret Program

KHN notes that the FDA’s secret reporting program has been so obscure that many of the doctors and engineers dedicated to improving device safety don’t even know about it. Even a former FDA commissioner said he knew nothing about it.

Give the Kaiser Health News team all the credit.  They dug through abstruse piles of public records to find “oblique references to reporting exemptions.”  They had to ask the FDA questions for months before the erstwhile “public” agency finally confirmed that it supervised “reporting-exemption” programs and helped hide thousands of never-before-acknowledged instances of malfunctions or harm.

FDA Information Blackout Harms People

FDA records show that amid the agency’s blackout on information regarding device risks, patients have been injured, in some cases hundreds of times.

A former FDA official. Dr. Lori S. Brown, who accessed the data for her research, said doctors who relied solely on the FDA’s incomplete public reports could easily reach the wrong conclusion about a device’s safety record.

KHN wrote, “The FDA has also opened additional – and equally obscure – pathways for device makers to report thousands of injuries brought to light by lawsuits or even deaths that appear in private registries that medical societies use to track patients. Those exemptions apply to risky and controversial products, including pelvic mesh and devices implanted in the heart.”

FDA spokeswoman Deborah Kotz confirmed that the “registry exemption” was created without any public notice or regulations.  “Any device manufacturer can request an exemption from its reporting requirements,” she said in an email.

That’s hardly the stuff to build consumer confidence about medical device safety.

480,000 Hidden Reports in 2017

FDA records provided to KHN show that more than 480,000 injuries or malfunctions were reported through the alternative summary reporting program in 2017 alone.

FDA spokeswoman Alison Hunt said the majority of device makers’ “exemptions” were revoked that year as a program took shape that requires a “placeholder” report to be filed publicly.

1 Million+ Reports Hidden by FDA

More than a million reports of malfunctions or harm spanning about 15 years remain in a database accessible only to the FDA.  But with the agency’s alleged new “transparency” push,” anyone unlucky enough to need a medical device (there are always alternatives)  might be able to find a public report and submit a Freedom of Information Act request to get information about incidents.  A response can take up to two years.

Ms. Hunt said in an email to KHN that the exemption program “has allowed the FDA to more efficiently review adverse events … and take action when warranted without sacrificing the quality of our review or the information we receive.”

The “quality” of the FDA’s review of any medical device is so obviously compromised with the unveiling of the agency’s secret reporting program that such explanations would be laughable if the situation it has created weren’t so dangerous and irresponsible.

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Monsanto Roundup likely Caused Cancer, Pathologist testifies

(March 7, 2019)  Monsanto’s Roundup likely caused a California man’s cancer, a pathologist testified in a federal courtroom yesterday.  Dorothy Atkins reported for Law360 that the pathologist testified that it is “more likely than not” that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer poison caused a man to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). The testimony refuted Monsanto’s claim that hepatitis C, weight, and age caused the (now 70-year-old) plaintiff’s cancer.

Dr. Dennis Weisenburger explained to jurors in San Francisco that plaintiff Ed Hardeman was treated for hepatitis C within a year of contracting it.  Dr. W. said that early treatment significantly reduced Mr. Hardeman’s risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma from the virus.  Dr. Weisenburger also testified that any cells damaged by the Hep-C virus would have died off when the man was cured of that disease in 2006.  He rejected Monsanto’s claim that Mr. Hardeman’s 2015 NHL diagnosis was caused by hepatitis.

NHL Diagnosis Nine Years Too Late for Monsanto

“If he was going to get lymphoma, he would have gotten it when he had the infection, not nine years after he was cured,” Dr. Weisenburger testified.

Dr. Weisenburger is one of the last experts to testify before Mr. Hardeman’s attorneys rest the first part of his case in the controversial bifurcated trial arrangement which District Judge Vince Chhabria agreed to assemble at the request of Monsanto’s attorneys and against the strong objections of the plaintiff’s side.

Related: MonsantoLawsuit.com

Arcane Bifurcated Arrangement Censors Plaintiff’s Side

In the arcane “bifurcated” arrangement of this first federal trial in the Monsanto Roundup litigation, the plaintiff’s side may not bring to the jury’s attention any of the mountain of evidence which shows Monsanto’s behind-the-scenes moves to censor or attack any research or organization deemed a threat to Monsanto profits.  That arrangement severely handicaps the plaintiff’s side.  One cannot fairly present Monsanto’s brand of “science” without simultaneously showing how the company manipulates it, promotes the views of its own paid scientists, and attacks with its well-paid media minions any scientist or organization that questions Roundup safety.

Bifurcation in this case means that the jury will not hear about any of Monsanto’s behind-the-scenes manipulations unless the jury first rules, solely on the basis of “scientific” grounds, that Roundup caused Mr. Hardeman’s NHL.  Without any doubt, censoring all the damning information that we now know about Monsanto’s real actions to manipulate science and public opinion decidedly favors the company.  It allows Monsanto lawyers to repeat the company’s default defense that “hundreds of studies” prove Roundup is safe enough to drink, or that Roundup is as safe as table salt (a false, claim along with many others, that Monsanto was forced to retract in New York state.  Because virtually all of those Monsanto studies were short-term and were virtually all sponsored by Monsanto, the WHO refused to include them in its evaluation which concluded in a 2015 assessment that Roundup is a probable human carcinogen.

The Monsanto Papers

A mounting pile of evidence from internal documents revealed in “The Monsanto Papers” and elsewhere has shown how Monsanto propaganda clouds and poisons – like mustard gas in WWI trenches – the worldwide fight over Roundup.  Monsanto or its proxies have been shown to manipulate news outlets like Reuters, Newsweek, Fortune, and others around the world; email secretly with EPA regulators to derail or influence Roundup safety studies; hire bloggers to attack anyone or any organization that questions the safety of Monsanto’s products; entice academic ghostwriters and blogger goons to put their names on pro-GMO propaganda; move Monsanto employees through a revolving employment door between the FDA and the company, compromising regulatory agencies with industry monies.

Ed Hardeman’s case is the first to go to trial where hundreds of similar lawsuits have been filed in the multidistrict litigation court overseen by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria.  Claimants all share the same injury, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and all claim that injury resulted from their exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro herbicides, which are classified as pesticides by EPA.

Mr. Hardeman testified on March 5, 2019 that he used Roundup to kill weeds and poison oak on his 56-acre property in Santa Rosa, California.  He said he used it for 25+ years, between 1986 and 2012.  The spray’s mist often fell on his skin and face, he testified.  Mr. Hardeman was diagnosed at age 66 with stage 3 cancer on Feb. 14, 2015.  He has undergone cancer treatment.

Dr. Weisenburger, who took the stand March 6, has published more than 50 research papers on causes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He noted during his direct examination that less than 1 percent of patients with chronic hepatitis C develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 10 years.  He said those patients have a “much higher” risk of getting liver cancer. He said that age and being overweight are minor risks for developing NHL. He added that obesity increases the risk of getting the cancer by 30 percent “at most.”

Monsanto Attorneys Cross Examination

In cross-examination, Monsanto’s attorney, Brian L. Stekloff, tried to discredit Dr. Weisenburger’s testimony.  Mr. Stekloff asked him what doctors and pathologists know about the biological impact of having hepatitis for decades.

Dr. Weisenburger said there’s no way to tell by looking at a damaged cell if the damage is due to Roundup exposure.  He further conceded that the “vast majority” of patients’ diagnosed with NHL don’t get it from Roundup exposure. The doctor also admitted that he could not completely rule out that Mr. Hardeman’s decades-long chronic hepatitis B could have contributed to his NHL.

Mr. Stekloff also tried to cast doubt on studies that showed links to Roundup exposure and NHL. He pointed out that test subjects who developed NHL were diagnosed a few years after Roundup came on the market in 1974, not 20 years later, which Dr. Weisenburger claims is the cancer’s latency period following Roundup exposure.  However, Dr. Weisenburger responded that the 20-25 year latency period is just a guess, as it’s the median; so that all the test subjects in the studies at issue still fell within the bell curve.

Dr. Weisenburger also said he didn’t know the cause of cancer for 70 percent of the 1,000 NHL patients he has treated.  But the pathologist said repeatedly that doctors don’t look at the history of patients closely.  He said physicians often don’t know the cause of cancer, because they don’t pursue it in detail.

“Physicians don’t ask about Roundup,” said the pathologist. “They don’t even ask about pesticides.”

Monsanto’s own health assessment “will be inaccurate”

After Dr. Weisenburger’s testimony, Mr. Hardeman’s attorneys showed a video deposition clip of Monsanto’s corporate representative Bill Reeves. Mr. Hardeman’s attorney questioned Mr. Reeves about a 1997 letter from an in-house Monsanto epidemiologist who wrote that the exposure assessment in a decades long agricultural health study “will be inaccurate.”  Monsanto has used the study to counter Mr. Hardeman’s allegations.

Mr. Wisner also pointed out a 1986 document in which the US EPA told Monsanto its mouse study testing the safety of glyphosate was based on insufficient data and needed to be redone.

The trial is expected to last into at least the middle of next week if Monsanto wins this first phase, and there will be no second phase for damages in the bifurcation arrangement if the plaintiff fails to win this first truncated round.

Though this is the first trial against Monsanto for Roundup in a federal court, there has been one previous Roundup trial in a state court, last summer in California.  In that case last summer, a state jury hit Monsanto with a $289 million verdict.  It was later slashed by tort reform to $78 million and is on appeal.  Monsanto has yet to pay out any monies over Roundup.

The case is Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. et al., case number 3:16-cv-00525, and the MDL is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:16-md-02741, both in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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