Several states may ban pesticide linked to lower IQ, ADHD

(May 2, 2019) Several states are trying to ban a pesticide – chlorpyrifos – that some US EPA executives are fighting to keep on the market, despite the fact that the EPA’s own scientists have called for its banning. Kaiser Health News reported last week that lawmakers in several states are trying to ban a widely used pesticide that the Environmental Protection Agency inexplicably supports.

Chlorpyrifos

A  pesticide derived from nerve gas used in WWI, chlorpyrifos kills insects by attacking their nervous systems.  It also causes a host of problems for human beings, especially young children, pregnant women, people working in fields or living in areas sprayed with the poison, or anyone eating the pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables. Many, if not most, non-organic fruits and vegetables are sprayed with this poison.

Kaiser Health News reported last week that several studies have linked prenatal exposure of chlorpyrifos to lower birth weights, lower IQs, ADHD, and other developmental problems, including autism spectrum disorder. Nevertheless, in 2017, top EPA officials closely aligned with pesticide industry lobbyists ignored the conclusions of the EPA’s own scientists. The compromised EPA officials rejected a proposal made during the Obama administration to ban chlorpyrifos in fields and orchards.

States Move where EPA Fails

Consequently, some states have been forced to take matters into their own hands. Hawaii was the first to act, banning chlorpyrifos last year.  California, Oregon, New York, and Connecticut are now trying to do the same thing.

If California, the country’s largest agricultural state, is successful at banning the poison, many other states could follow suit, according to Virginia Ruiz, director of occupational and environmental health at the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization, Farmworker Justice.

In light of the EPA’s inaction on the matter, which has continued for at least a decade, Congressional Democrats introduced bills earlier this year to ban chlorpyrifos nationally.  But  given typical beltway acrimony and political prostitution arranged with millions of dollars in lobbying money from pesticide makers, states may have a much better chance at succeeding than Congress.

Presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y) introduced a separate bill last week that would prohibit schools from serving fruits and vegetables sprayed with chlorpyrifos.

Three Dozen Studies show Chlorpyrifos Dangers

“I don’t see this as something we should still be debating,” said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an epidemiologist and director of the Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of California-Davis. Ms. Hertz-Picciotto testified during a California Senate Health Committee hearing April 10 on California’s bill to ban chlorpyrifos. She said more than three dozen studies have demonstrated a connection between prenatal exposure of chlorpyrifos and developmental disabilities, including symptoms of autism.

“No study has identified a level at which we can consider it safe,” she told lawmakers. And therein lies the EPA problem with breaking its own rules, which state that it cannot green light a pesticide which has not been shown to be safe.  With chlorpyrifos, the opposite applies.

In 2000, the EPA, which is charged with regulating pesticides at the federal level, ordered chlorpyrifos for residential use off the market. But the poison is still used liberally on many crops that include citrus fruits, grapes, and almonds. It’s also sprayed on golf courses and in other non-agricultural settings.

In 2015 under the Obama administration, the EPA proposed a complete ban of chlorpyrifos, citing evidence of health risks.  But in 2017, President Trump’s EPA administrator, the disgraced industry apologist and partner Scott Pruitt, refused to ban it.

“Despite several years of study, the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved,” the EPA says on its website. The agency did not return requests for comment. But the EPA rules are clear that this pesticide should be pulled entirely, that it should have been pulled 20 years ago when the agency banned it for home use.

US Court Orders Chlorpyrifos Off Market

Last summer, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered chlorpyrifos completely off the market, but the EPA is now fighting that decision.

EPA Averse to its own Science & Scientists?

“The EPA is contradicting the findings of its own scientists,” declared Aseem Prakash, the director of the Center for Environmental Politics at the University of Washington. Mr. Prakash accused the EPA of serving the interests of the chemical industry over people’s health.

“It’s bizarre,” he said. “We have the research.”

Lorsban, Dursban from Dow AgroSciences

Several companies make chlorpyrifos products. The most recognized brand names in the US are Dursban and Lorsban, made by Corteva Agriscience, formerly known as Dow AgroSciences.

Pesticide Makers Respond

Industry “experts” paid by pesticide makers tell a different story. A former Dow Chemical Company employee Carol Burns, who now works as an epidemiologist for Corteva Agriscience, which profits from chlorpyrifos, argued that during the California Senate hearing that many studies link neurodevelopmental problems in children with the chemical compounds known as organophosphates.  However, she said, they don’t link with chlorpyrifos specifically.

Ms. Burns claimed the science is not as clear cut as the EPA scientists and others have said that it is.

“Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate, but not all organophosphates are chlorpyrifos,” said Ms. Burns.  She added that some of those studies focused on children born in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since then, children face less exposure to the chemical as a result of increasing restrictions on its use.

Chlorpyrifos, Chlorpyrifos Everywhere

Like Monsanto’s cancerous glyphosate, chlorpyrifos goes everywhere.  It can be inhaled during application.  It can drift into nearby areas.  It can be ingested as residue on food. It can also run off and fields and contaminate drinking water.

Brief exposure can result in dizziness, nausea and headaches, while more acute poisoning can cause vomiting, tremors and loss of coordination, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.

But the most harmful exposure appears to be long-term exposure, even at low levels, for young, developing brains. A 2014 study by Hertz-Picciotto and other UC-Davis researchers found that pregnant women who lived near fields treated with chlorpyrifos, primarily during their second trimester, had an elevated risk of giving birth to a child with autism spectrum disorder.

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Monsanto faces Punitive Damages in Third Roundup Cancer Trial

(April 26, 2019) Monsanto faces punitive damages in the third Roundup cancer trial, unless a California judge in the case changes her mind.  The judge said yesterday that she will likely allow jurors to consider punitive damages if they find that using Monsanto’s Roundup caused both a husband and wife to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If this jury does find Roundup caused the couple’s lymphoma, they will be the third jury in three trials to find Roundup causes cancer and that Monsanto knew or should have known it does.

The question of punitive damages would not have arisen at this stage of the trial – which began on March 28 and is not yet complete – except for the fact that Monsanto’s attorneys motioned to have punitive damages excluded from this trial. Monsanto’s attorneys’ aggressive move to make this motion appears to be ill advised. Its end result is to invite this and similar stories to be written, all of which further shed light on Monsanto Propaganda vs. the Truth of Roundup’s Carcinogenicity. It also sheds light on the recent litigation history of Monsanto’s repeated failures to buffet Roundup’s safety profile.

Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit Update:  13,400 Cases

Bayer AG’s CEO on Friday, April 26, said Monsanto faces 13,400 lawsuits over Roundup. He made the announcement to shareholders while defending Bayer’s $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto in 2018.

Monsanto Vile, Despicable, Malicious?

Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto for $63 billion last year, alleged that no evidence exists to show Monsanto’s conduct was malicious, a prerequisite for punitive damages. A Monsanto attorney called the notion that Monsanto knew of Roundup’s cancer risks in the 1980s “completely speculative.” He also said a defendant’s conduct in such a case must be “vile and despicable.”

Those adjectives do present a pretty high bar (or rather a low one, in this instance) for a judge’s granting of punitive damages.

The Monsanto attorney said, “There is absolutely no evidence that its conduct rises to that level,” he said.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, however, noted that both juries in the previous two Roundup trials awarded punitive damages over claims that Roundup causes cancer and Monsanto knew that it did, yet failed to warn Roundup users.  In this trial, he said there is “considerably more evidence” Monsanto’s conduct was malicious.  In this trial, evidence has come in which includes Monsanto’s ghostwriting of academic articles in scientific journals which misled the scientific community about Roundup’s safety profile.

Judge Winifred Smith

Alameda Superior Judge Winifred Smith said her tentative ruling was to likely deny Monsanto’s motion to strike punitive damages.  She did say, however, that she would read all the briefs before deciding.

The arguments over punitive damages came during a hearing on jury instructions, the verdict form, and the Monsanto motion to strike punitive damages.

Husband and Wife both have cancer

Plaintiffs Alva (76) and Alberta Pilliod (74) brought the Roundup lawsuit after they were both exposed to decades of spraying Roundup on their four properties.  They both now suffer from aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. The Pilliods rested their case-in-chief on April 23. Monsanto/Bayer will call their first witnesses Monday.

Monsanto’s lawyer claimed yesterday that the few small studies that suggested Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, might be carcinogenic weren’t published until the 1990s. He argued no other evidence showed glyphosate could cause cancer. He claimed the first real evidence didn’t surface until the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded glyphosate is a probable carcinogen in 2015. He said, therefore, that Monsanto couldn’t have been reasonably expected to warn consumers about Roundup’s potential risks.  He claimed Monsanto didn’t warn people because the company didn’t think it was dangerous and “no one else did.”

Monsanto’s main trial attorney further claimed “the science had not evolved to (reach) the conclusion (Roundup) causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma. At most, it’s a probable carcinogen,” he said.

The plaintiffs’ attorney said, however, that evidence shows Monsanto repeatedly refused to conduct certain cancer studies on Roundup since 1983.  He said Monsanto refused to change its Roundup formula to replace the ingredient polyethoxylated tallow amine, which has been banned in Europe and allegedly makes glyphosate 50 times more toxic.

Monsanto also didn’t warn consumers to take extra safety precautions when using the product, said the plaintiffs’ trial attorney. Instead, Monsanto continued to advertise Roundup with advertising that showed people spraying the product without gloves, while wearing t-shirts and shorts.

Monsanto’s conduct recklessly put people’s lives in danger, said the plaintiffs’ attorney.  That conduct constitutes malice under the law.  He added that there wouldn’t be any lawsuits if the court accepted Bayer’s argument that no one knew about glyphosate’s cancer link in the 1980s. He said what Monsanto knew about glyphosate’s cancer risks and when are being revealed through litigation.  He compared the process to the Tobacco cancer litigation in the 1990s.

Besides the punitive damages arguments, the parties also argued over whether the jury should be instructed using the “but for” causation standard — meaning, a harm would not have happened if not for a party’s actions — or the less-demanding “concurrent causation” standard that can hold more than one party liable for causing a disease.

Monsanto’s counsel claimed the court should use the but-for standard, because the Pilliods’ experts refused to concede that there could have been other contributing factors that caused the Pilliods’ cancer. However, the Pilliods’ lawyer argued that the tougher standard wasn’t warranted and that the other trials used the concurrent causation standard.

Judge Smith said she would examine the case law before deciding the issue. She also said the verdict form should ask the jury to make separate findings for Alva and Alberta Pilliod.

“I think it’s important that [the jury] understand these are two separate cases being decided together,” she said.

11,200 Roundup Lawsuits
The Pilliod trial is the third case to go to trial out of approximately 11,200 lawsuits pending that allege Roundup causes cancer.

1. The first trial against Monsanto over Roundup’s links to cancer was held last summer in state court in San Francisco. That jury reached a $289 million verdict against Monsanto, including $250 million in punitives. A total later cut to $78 million. Bayer filed its opening brief appealing that judgment in state appeals court April 23.

2. The second Roundup cancer trial was Ed Hardeman v. Monsanto. It ended last month in federal court with an $80 million verdict which included $75 million in punitive damages. Bayer, of course, said it would appeal the verdict. 

More of Bayer/Monsanto’s Dirty Pool

The Pilliod’s attorney told the judge yesterday that Bayer/Monsanto released the names and contact information of the jurors in the first Monsanto Roundup trial.  He asked the judge to prohibit Monsanto from releasing the names and contact information of the jury in this case. The Monsanto attorney told the judge Monsanto wouldn’t release the names of the jurors in this case.

The case is Pilliod v. Monsanto Co., case number RG17862702, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda.

Related

* Monsanto Lawsuit Lawyer | Attorney

* Monsanto loses $80 Million Verdict

* Monsanto loses $289 Million Verdict

* California Winephosate

* Monsanto earns Monsatan Moniker

* Monsanto faces Punitive Damages in Third Roundup Cancer Trial

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J & J settles 3 More Talc-Mesothelioma Lawsuits

(April 25, 2019) Johnson & Johnson settled three more talcum powder-mesothelioma lawsuits this week.  All three cases were in the midst of trials brought by women who claimed they were exposed to asbestos while using J&J’s Baby Powder products. Their lawsuit petitions said that exposure led to their developing mesothelioma. Though Johnson agreed to pay the women’s suits, a company spokesman claims they were a “one-off” (though they seem more like a “three-off”) and still denies there was ever asbestos in J&J talcum powder.

The settlements come as New Jersey-based giant Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of talcum powder mesothelioma lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who claim to have developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer from the products.

The three latest settlements:

  • Plaintiff Sharon Pipes reached a settlement as her Oklahoma jury had begun deliberating after a two-and-a-half-week trial.
  • Plaintiff, Gail Koretoff reached a settlement agreement after jurors had deliberated for two days on her case.
  • Plaintiff Jenny Shulman reached a settlement as her case was scheduled to begin trial this month. She was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma after using J&J’s talcum powder for feminine hygiene. An expert witness was set to testify about finding talc and asbestos in her ovarian and fallopian tissue. Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

All three plaintiffs had developed peritoneal mesothelioma and claimed to have used J&J’s talc powder products for long periods of time, mostly for feminine hygiene.

Johnson officials have denied rumors that J&J is shifting its talc powder litigation strategy. The company told Bloomberg News that these settlements were “one-off situations.”

J&J maintains its talcum powder products do not contain asbestos. Several juries have nevertheless found J&J responsible for some plaintiffs’ ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

More than 20 talcum powder trials are scheduled this year in the U.S. Virtually all of the cases involve plaintiffs with a mesothelioma diagnosis.

In December 2018, J&J and Imerys SA, the company’s talc supplier, came to a $1.5-million settlement in a similar mesothelioma case. Imerys later declared bankruptcy which the company said was brought on by all the talc cancer litigation in the country.

Related

•  Talc Mesothelioma Verdict $29 Million against J&J

•  Talcum-Mesothelioma Cancer Lawsuit

•  Imerys seeks Bankruptcy over Talc Lawsuits

•  J & J settles 3 More Talc-Mesothelioma Lawsuits

 

 

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NYC Leaders Move to ban Roundup

(April 22, 2019) NYC leaders have moved to ban Roundup (with glyphosate) in city parks.  Two councilmen are working to stop the city park system from using the carcinogenic weed killer which raises the risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. They’ve introduced legislation that would ban city agencies from spraying glyphosate-based weed killers and other pesticides in parks and other public spaces.

Environmental Health News reports that the NYC council action is the latest in a series that shows a growing concern over pesticide use, particularly the products made by Monsanto. It is another indication of a groundswell of people, homeowners, educators, farmers, business leaders and others who are rejecting Monsanto – and now Bayer – assurances that glyphosate-based pesticides are safe.

Growing Movement to Ban Glyphosate

Cities, school districts, and suppliers across the US are increasingly halting use of Monsanto pesticide products. Residents in Leesburg, Virginia called on the town’s officials last week to stop using glyphosate along area stream banks, and local school children also petitioned for a ban.

Since the World Health Organization declared glyphosate, the main listed active ingredient in Roundup and other Monsanto concoctions, a probable carcinogen, Monsanto has lost every jury verdict over its best-selling poison.  In the last year it has been ordered to pay Roundup non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma victims $289 million (later reduced to $78 million) and $80 million, with a third Roundup trial now in progress in California.

Discovery in the lawsuits against Monsanto has uncovered a trove of internal Monsanto emails in which company executives discuss ghostwriting articles for academics like disgraced corporate apologist Henry I. Miller and others.  The Monsanto Papers have shown how hard the company has worked and how much money it has spent, to spin all studies over Roundup in its favor, regardless of the toxicity and the links to cancer that many studies not sponsored by Monsanto have found.

Trial evidence has also shown Monsanto worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to block a toxicity review of glyphosate by a separate government agency. See Monsanto EPA Collusion?

Monsanto Defense

Monsanto has claimed in all of the trials, and in full page propaganda missives published in the New York Times and elsewhere, that hundreds of studies and decades of Roundup use have proven it safe. Monsanto has also been accused by plaintiffs’ attorneys of “geofencing,” specifically targeting San Francisco juries’ zip codes in social media ads and notices, as well as peppering them with pro-glyphosate propaganda in local newspapers.  Court testimony has shown that virtually all of Monsanto’s studies were too short term to be relevant, or were skewed in their design for one reason or another, always erring on the side of exonerating glyphosate and Monsanto. The company also spent millions — trial evidence has shown — trying to marginalize and discredit the WHO after it determined in 20015 that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.

Many corporations have also been paying attention to the trials and their results.

Retail giant Costco has stopped selling Roundup. A Florida-based golf and landscaping supply store called Harrel’s stopped offering Monsanto’s Roundup on March 1 this year. CEO Jack Harrell, Jr. said the company’s insurance supplier will no longer insure it.  In addition, Pike Nurseries, a large independent company, said it would no longer stock Roundup due to declining sales.

More than 11,000 cancer victims are suing Monsanto, alleging exposure to Roundup and other glyphosate products the company sells caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Longtime Monsanto researcher Carey Gilliam of US Right To Know, reported that Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Tom Claps has warned shareholders to brace for a global settlement of between $2.5 billion and $4.5 billion. “It’s not a matter of ‘if’ Bayer will reach a global Roundup settlement,” Claps told investors in a recent report. “It is a matter of ‘when.”

Monsanto MDL Judge Orders Mediation

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria has ordered Bayer to enter into mediation, to discuss just such a potential settlement of the Roundup litigation. He put the next Monsanto trial in his court on hold to give mediation a chance to work for a settlement.

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FDA Recalls Mesh Products for Women

(April 17, 2019)  The US FDA announced yesterday that it was recalling all remaining surgical mesh products used on women to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP).  The FDA said it determined that Boston Scientific and Coloplast, makers of those plastic mesh products, had failed to demonstrate a reasonable assurance of their safety and effectiveness.  That assurance is the premarket review standard that had applied ever since the agency reclassified POP meshes as class III (high risk) in 2016.

That reclassification meant POP mesh makers were henceforth required to submit and obtain approval through premarket approval (PMA) applications.  PMA is the  FDA’s most stringent device review path for marketing medical devices in the US.

The agency said BSC and Coloplast now have 10 days to submit a plan to withdraw their products from the market.

FDA Announcement of April 16, 2019:

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today ordered the manufacturers of all remaining surgical mesh products indicated for the transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) to stop selling and distributing their products in the U.S. immediately. The order is the latest in a series of escalating safety actions related to protecting the health of the thousands of women each year who undergo surgery transvaginally to repair POP.”

Transvaginal Mesh not FDA Approved

Plastic mesh to treat POP and SUI was never formally approved by the FDA in the usual PMA process.  These meshes were, rather, “cleared” under the auspices of the agency’s 510k program, which allows some devices to reach the market if the agency determines the product in question is substantially equivalent to a product already approved.  In the case of transvaginal mesh (TVM), that comparison has always been shaky at best. Polyurethane or plastic mesh was first used in hernia repair surgery in the mid 1970s, and even then it was shown to cause problems in some people.  The company that made the oil-based plastic product is on record as saying it should never be implanted in the human body, but medical device companies used it anyway, and continue to use it.

FDA Dr. Jeffrey Shuren

Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said, “In order for these mesh devices to stay on the market, we determined that we needed evidence that they worked better than surgery without the use of mesh to repair POP. That evidence was lacking in these premarket applications, and we couldn’t assure women that these devices were safe and effective long term.”

100,000 + TVM Lawsuits

A multi district litigation court was created to handle more than 100,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits filed over the plastic devices used to treat POP and SUI.  It was the largest ever MDL ever assembled. Jury trials resulted in several large verdicts for plaintiffs, and several thousands of cases were quietly settled for injured women.  Hundreds of TVM lawsuits are still on file, and more trials are ongoing.

FDA Recalls Mesh Products for Women

One lawyer, David Matthews, who won a large jury verdict in a TVM case and later settled several others, said: “The FDA has finally done what the mesh industry would not do on its own. The adverse event reports, which reflect less than 10% of actual injuries to the women implanted with this product, coupled with multiple large jury verdicts based on expert opinions, has shown the risks of these products far outweigh their benefits, if any. This is yet more evidence that the clearance process for these dangerous products is inadequate.  As lawyers who have been represented those injured by these defective products for more than eight years, we thank the FDA for declaring these plastic devices unfit for use.”

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Monsanto loses Third Pesticide Case

(April 15, 2019)  Monsanto lost another pesticide case last week, making it the third time in less than nine months that the company has lost a court trial over its poison products. The first two jury decisions against Monsanto in the last year were in the US, for several million dollars each over Roundup. This third win for plaintiffs came from a French jury over Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer. That jury ruled Monsanto was responsible for poisoning a local farmer. Actual monetary damages in the case are still pending.

This third Monsanto loss stemmed from 2012 when a French court first found Monsanto guilty of poisoning Paul Francois.  The man had filed suit against Monsanto in 2007 after he developed neurological problems from using Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer. In 2012 a jury found Monsanto guilty in the case, but Monsanto refused to pay for damages; so Mr. Francois was forced to keep fighting.

Monsanto Appeal

Though the French man appears to have finally brought the biotech bully from St. Louis, MO to justice, Monsanto is virtually certain to appeal again. The company always appeals any decision against it, always denies responsibility for its crimes against nature and humanity, always blames those who use the company’s poison products when those products turn out to harm the user. Or else Monsanto claims the injury that the jury or court rules was caused by Monsanto was not caused by Monsanto, or that the product-related injury is so rare that it doesn’t merit damages because every product made is potentially hazardous.

Monsanto Lassoes Plaintiff’s Health

Mr. Francois said he began experiencing problems that included blackouts, headaches and a loss of balance and memory after he inhaled fumes from Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer, which is now banned.

Monsanto appealed the 2012 court decision and lost in 2015; so the company appealed again, resulting in this third round loss on April 11, 2019.

“I won, and I’m happy, but at what cost?” Mr. Francois told reporters following the verdict.

Monsanto’s Legal Harassment

Mr. Francois denounced what he called years of “legal harassment” by Monsanto, which can still appeal the ruling by a top French appeals court, the Cour de Cassation.

Mr. Francois called the ruling “a message to the government.”  He urged his government to ban other toxic pesticides that contain glyphosate, which is the main active ingredient listed in Monsanto’s best-selling poison, Roundup.  Though the regulators (like the US EPA) and the courts often see it that way, glyphosate is not the only relevant ingredient, given surfactants and other so-called “inert” ingredients, which, when mixed with glyphosate, increase by as much as 1,000x the potency of the poison.

“History will judge [the government] for not acting,” said Mr. Francois.  He referred to a campaign pledge by President Emmanuel Macron to phase out glyphosate in France, a pledge which the seasoned politico backed down on last year. Monsanto’s control of politicians is legion, and it has undoubtedly grown since the company’s acquisition by the German giant Bayer company last year.  Historically, Bayer is a spinoff sister company of the chemical giant IG Farben, which was convicted of war crimes following WWII, for its execrable practices which included the use of political prisoners for slave labor at its chemical plants. The company also produced Zyklon-B  gas for the extermination chambers at Auschwitz, Belzec, and elsewhere across Eastern Europe.

Injured by Banned Monsanto Product

Mr. Francois said he fell ill in 2004 after accidentally inhaling fumes from a vat full of Lasso, a monochlorobenzene-based weedkiller that was legal in France until 2007, but which had already been banned in 1985 in Canada and in 1992 in Belgium and Britain.

Fr. Francois said Monsanto was aware of Lasso’s dangers long before it was withdrawn from the French market. He sued Monsanto for more than one million euros ($1.13 million) for chronic neurological damage that required long hospital stays.

Monsanto Failed to Warn Farmer

The court in Lyon, southeastern France, rejected Monsanto’s appeal but did not rule on how much Monsanto might have to pay.  A full financial penalty will be determined in a separate ruling.

The court did order Monsanto to pay 50,000 euros immediately for Mr. Francois’s legal fees. It ruled Monsanto should have clearly indicated on Lasso’s labeling and instructions for use “a notice on the specific dangers of using the product in vats and reservoirs”.

“The plaintiff’s assumed technical knowledge does not excuse the lack of information on the product and its harmful effects.”  The court added: “A farmer is not a chemist.”

Following the verdict, a lawyer for Monsanto in France said Monsanto would probably appeal. Parent company Bayer confirmed it was weighing an appeal.

Monsanto said in a statement: “Supposing that Paul Francois was accidently exposed to Lasso, by definition such exposure is rare.”

Monsanto faces Thousands of Lawsuits

Monsanto faces thousands of US lawsuits over glyphosate exposure.  Last month it was ordered by a San Francisco jury to pay some $80 million to a retiree suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Last summer, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay a former school groundskeeper $289 million (later reduced to $78 million) after it found the company responsible for the man’s diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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Conroe, Texas Priest named in Sex Abuse Lawsuit

(April 6, 2019)  A Conroe, Texas priest was named in a civil lawsuit yesterday in a sex abuse case filed in Houston’s Harris County Courthouse. The plaintiff – referred to as “J.R.” in the petition – is an adult male who now lives in Galveston. Defendants are the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Conroe; and Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston, Houston – which employed Father Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, who was known as “Fr. Manuel” when he was working for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Conroe.

Father Manuel LaRosa-Lopez first came to the greater pubic’s attention when he was arrested by Conroe police last year for allegedly sexually abusing minors.

J.R. vs. Sacret Heart Catholic Church

The lawsuit petition reads that “Fr. Emanuel and other employees of the Defendants (were) obligated to arrange, render, and coordinate the religious and educational care of the children enrolled in (the school).”

The Defendants had, says the petition, “total responsibility for the protection and prevention of the numerous acts of sexual mental and physical abuse by (clergy) member, Fr. Manuel.”

The Sacred heart Catholic church diocese is charged with having knowledge of Fr. Manuel’s sexual abuse of several students, and then hiding that knowledge from civil authorities and putting him back in circulation, where he was able to abuse other children.

Father Manuel LaRosa-Lopez

J.R., the petition alleges, was abused in 2000, eight years after the first incidence of Fr. Manuels’ sexual abuse of minors was first revealed to church officials.

In 1992, a sixth grade boy accused Fr. Manuel of inappropriately touching him. The church then hired an attorney to investigate whether the Church was required to notify Child Protective Services.  Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza wrote to an attorney saying a psychological exam would be conducted on Fr. Manuel before he was re-admitted into the seminary. The wayward priest then spent nine months in the Shalom Recovery Center. He was re-admitted to the seminary in the spring of 1993.

In 1999 and 2000, an underage male and female accused Fr. Manuel of sexual abuse. The female victim and her family reported the abuse in 2001 and then moved to Israel. Fr. Manuel then went back to the Shalom Recovery Center for nine more months, from April 2001 to Jan. 2002.

Boy Abused during Confession

J.R., says the petition, was abused by Fr. Manuel during the summer of 2000.  Then 15, the boy had gone to make a confession, as many Catholics regularly do, to a priest in the confessional booth.  Rather than hearing J.R.’s confession and then offering guidance or absolution through an assignment of prayers and penance, Fr. Manuel attempted to engage the boy in a profane conversation about sex with a same-sex partner.

J.R. said that he was confused by the questions and wondered if this was part of a new confessional process.  The 15-year-old did not respond to any of the several questions the priest asked him. Fr. Manuel then opened the partition window between them in the booth and exposed himself to J.R.

J.R. came forward after he saw in the news that Fr. Manuel had been arrested.  Shortly before that arrest, J.R. had confided his abuse at the hands of Fr. Manuel to a therapist.

Statute of Limitations

Sexual abuse cases brought more than two years after the alleged crime can often be successfully defended under statute of limitations laws in Texas.  However, writes J.R’s. lawyer, David Matthews, in the lawsuit petition:

“Defendants are prevented from relying on any statute of limitations defense by virtue of their acts of fraudulent concealment, because of Defendants’ knowledge of the wrongful acts of Fr. Manuel, while allowing him contact with trusting children, their representations that Fr. Manuel was fit for priesthood and supervision of children, their silence on his known sexual abuse, and their fixed purpose to conceal the wrong.“

Texas Priest named in Sex Abuse Lawsuit

The petition demands a jury trial. The case is J.R., Plaintiff v. Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Conroe and Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

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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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