Monsanto attorneys had attempted through numerous Daubert challenges to have the judge remove all of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses from the trial. The judge’s decision to allow the testimony of three plaintiff’s experts could have far-reaching consequences. Any testimony which links Roundup to cancer – more specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – may threaten Monsanto’s majority market share of the chemical farming poison industry.
Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said evidence that Roundup causes cancer seems “weak,” but the judge allowed that there was enough of it to let a jury hear the plaintiff’s experts’ opinions of that evidence. That decision means hundreds of lawsuits against Monsanto over its Roundup poison may move forward.
The lawsuits filed by cancer victims and their families say Monsanto knew for decades about Roundup’s cancer risk, yet failed to warn people of the dangers.
WHO Declares Glyphosate a Probable Carcinogen
Roundup lawsuits against Monsanto gathered steam in 2015 when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate — the listed active ingredient in Roundup — a “probable human carcinogen.” That finding unleashed a firestorm of protest from the chemical giant and its industry partners, and a flood of friendly press stories defending Monsanto and Roundup.
Monsanto EPA Collusion
Fallout from criticism of the WHO’s Roundup cancer declaration also revealed collusion, or at the very least, the rank appearance of collusion, between the EPA and Monsanto. An EPA scientist was shown in emails to have worked behind the scenes to help the chemical giant discredit any cancer link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. That EPA scientist (Jess Rowland) was shown in emails to have communicated with Monsanto to help the company thwart further study into the link between Roundup and cancer. Another EPA scientist, dying of lymphoma herself, pleaded in an email with her Monsanto-linked colleague to tell the truth of Roundup’s link to cancer.
The EPA scientist working secretly to help Monsanto stuck by his guns in defending the company, but his dying colleague’s last efforts were not in vain. Her telling email became public knowledge following lawsuit discovery which came to light when plaintiffs’ attorneys filed cases against Monsanto over Roundup.
Related: Glyphosate poisons Cereal
Monsanto’s well-coordinated attacks against the WHO continue today, as press services across the country — such as Reuter’s, Fortune magazine, and several others – continue a propaganda campaign to dismiss any Roundup cancer link.
Who’s using Junk Science?In trying to have all of the plaintiff’s experts dismissed, Monsanto defense lawyers had tried to call all of the studies which found a Roundup cancer link “junk science.” The hubris and hypocrisy of that Monsanto attack is astonishing.
In finding glyphosate a probable carcinogen, the WHO looked only at studies which were NOT sponsored, paid for, or otherwise connected with Monsanto. WHO looked only at INDEPENDENT studies, those which were independent of Monsanto. When the chemical giant’s defenders — like Reuter’s, Fortune, Snopes, and other fake news outlets — claim that hundreds of studies prove glyphosate is safe, they are looking only at studies paid for by Monsanto or sponsored by the company with a vested interest in the outcomes of those studies. Such studies which allow for no third-party (a disinterested third party) verification are the very definition of “junk science.” Virtually all of the studies not paid for by Monsanto find some link between Roundup exposure and cancer. Or else those studies which found no link between Roundup and cancer had major flaws.
Related: Monsanto sued for False Advertising
Judge Chhabria spent a week in a March 2018 listening to testimony from epidemiologists on both sides of the argument. The judge asked both sides questions about the potential strengths and weaknesses of research on the cancer risk of glyphosate.
Testimony of UCLA Epidemiologist
A UCLA epidemiologist, Beate Ritz, testified that her review of scientific literature led to her conclusion that glyphosate and glyphosate-based compounds like Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Ms. Ritz said that a 2017 National Institute of Health study which found no association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma had major flaws.
Monsanto Expert Testimony
Monsanto trotted out its own expert for the judge, a cancer epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Lorelei Mucci lauded the 2017 NIH study and reached the opposite conclusion which Ms. Ritz had. Ms. Mucci told the judge: “When you look at the body of epidemiological literature on this topic, there’s no evidence of a positive association between glyphosate and NHL risk.”
Judge: “We don’t yet know”
Judge Chhabria concluded that there was “at least a strong argument that the only reasonable conclusion one could draw right now is that we don’t yet know” whether the herbicide is causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Monsanto developed glyphosate in the 1970s. It classified the poison as an antibiotic, and among its many dangerous properties, it also contributes to the growing worldwide problem of antibiotic resistance.
Besides its link with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, glyphosate has also been linked to kidney disease, liver damage, birth defects, Parkinson’s disease and more. The poison is sold today in more than 160 countries. Farmers in California, the most agriculturally productive state in the U.S., use it on more than 200 types of crops. Unwitting homeowners continue to use it on their lawns and gardens.
Monsanto also sells “terminator seeds” that can withstand the glyphosate as it kills the surrounding weeds and spawns superweeds which have evolved to withstand glyphosate’s toxic assault. Glyphosate also kills the surrounding friendly flora and fauna in the environment as well as the friendly flora and fauna in the human gut.
The state of California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer following the IARC pronouncement that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. Monsanto continues to attack the IARC, and it has sued the state of California to de-list glyphosate.
The U.S. EPA, which has been shown to be industry-compromised by its own internal emails with Monsanto, claims glyphosate is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions. A draft report by EPA in 2017 claimed glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to people. The EPA report noted that science reviews by some other countries had reached the same conclusion, though Monsanto’s political and financial ties to those organizations make any such declarations questionable. Several countries, including France and Sweden, have banned glyphosate and Monsanto and other chemical company’s GMO’s.
Monsanto’s well-funded propaganda has paid off for the company in some respects, as a federal judge in Sacramento in February 2018 blocked California from requiring Roundup to carry a label stating that it is known to cause cancer. The judge said the warning would be misleading because almost all regulators have concluded that there is no evidence glyphosate is carcinogenic.
Experts can share Roundup Cancer LinkThe problem with any such decision is that Roundup has been shown to be many times more toxic than glyphosate alone. An industry-controlled glitch in the country’s chemical regulatory system allows chemicals like glyphosate to be tested alone, which is preposterous. Glyphosate is only one active ingredient listed in Roundup, and nobody applies glyphosate alone, without all of its ostensibly inactive additives. Many of the so-called “inert” ingredients in Roundup have recently been shown to not be inert at all. The gatekeepers cannot be allowed to play that duplicitous little game any longer. Too much is at stake. Our lives depend on getting the real science of Roundup poison out to the public at large, so that all the people can see what kind of chemical monsters are poisoning our food and our lives.