The Roundup cocktail that has killed living things for decades now threatens its Monsanto creator. One is reminded of Macbeth’s pausing to consider the fallout before he murders Duncan: “That we but teach bloody instructions which, being taught, return to plague the inventor.” Monsanto has taught a lot of bloody instructions through the years, all over the world. And now the company that kills for a living may fast be approaching its day of reckoning, despite whatever its well-paid lawyers and executives endlessly repeat about jury appeals as the company loses each new trial in spectacular fashion.
Or consider a Frankenstein metaphor – Monsanto as mad scientist creating an ugly monster that destroys its creator. All metaphors break down on close inspection, but this one might not be hyperbole, given the enormous verdicts against Monsanto that Roundup has wrought so far. What seemed unthinkable just six months or a year ago is now eminently thinkable: The toxic Roundup cocktail may yet destroy its creator. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Bayer is worth less now than the $63 billion it paid for Monsanto about a year ago.
The WSJ wrote on Monday, May 20, 2019:
“Bayer’s market capitalization has shrunk by more than 40% to roughly $59.13 billion. Worried that liabilities from the weedkiller are going to rise, investors have abandoned the stock, sending the shares into a downward spiral.”
Monsanto loses a third Roundup Trial, now 0-3 against Roundup Users
The latest Roundup trial – which brought a staggering $2 Billion verdict against Monsanto – has revealed to the world the glaring EPA loophole which allowed Monsanto to unleash Roundup on the world. It is a loophole that was clearly designed by chemical industry executives working through back doors with “our” government regulators. It was clearly not designed by regulators working first and foremost with the health of the public, the birds, bees, animals, and the land in mind. This glaring loophole has helped corporations escape liability in most environmental or product liability cases for many decades.
The Glyphosate Loophole
The regulatory loophole is so large and glaring that it is difficult to imagine it being allowed by any sane agency, government, or people. This loophole allows a company to list and test for safety only whatever that company decides to call an “active ingredient.” Roundup, as well as virtually any pesticide or poison you can think of (including the fluorosilicic acid dumped into most of the nation’s drinking water), has a twisted and tortured regulatory history. In the case of Roundup, Monsanto was allowed to tell the EPA that glyphosate is its only active ingredient, and that the others were virtually irrelevant. The company had gotten away with that ruse – using a see-no-evil, speak-no-evil, hear-no-evil EPA – since the 1970s. All that has finally changed with the Roundup trials. The world is apparently waking up as juries are finally being allowed to hear the truth. The EPA classifies an ingredient as “inert” if it does not do the actual weed-killing, but that classification doesn’t mean the ingredient is not relevant, or doesn’t make the entire cocktail more toxic.
Inert Ingredients Matter
The obvious truth is that ALL the ingredients in a given toxic cocktail matter. The truth is that a company’s calling an ingredient “inert” doesn’t necessarily make it so. That’s what three juries have discovered as Monsanto has lost all three trials over Roundup so far – for $289 million, $80 million, and $2 billion. Monsanto has lost those trials principally because all three juries have been able to hear evidence of how the entire toxic cocktail called Roundup is at least 50x more toxic than glyphosate alone. (Who’d have thunk it? Not the US EPA, which still backs Monsanto.) As the Pilliods’ lawyer put it before the jury which reached the $2.06 billion verdict, Roundup isn’t just glyphosate. It includes other “highly more toxic” components that “have a synergistic effect with glyphosate.”
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias noted: “The trial judge let in a lot more in the third trial than [was let in] in the first two. (It) seems like they heard more, and more of it was bad.”
Roundup Ingredient banned in Europe
Mr. Tobias noted that Alameda Superior Court Judge Winifred could again allow plaintiffs to reveal to the jury that a surfactant in the toxic Roundup cocktail, polyoxyethylene tallow amine, known as POEA, is banned in Europe. POEA helps the Roundup liquid spread across leaves’ waxy surfaces and coat them instead of beading up. The Pilliod case jury was the first to learn of the European ban. Just as it coats living plants, Roundup coats the human skin in similar fashion, then leeches into the bones and the lymph, where it triggers non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Just as the plants are unable to uptake vitamins and minerals to keep them alive after Roundup surfactants attach and attack, eating Roundup-contaminated GMO food attacks the human gut and damages its ability to uptake needed nutrients.
(Many obese and even morbidly obese people are sadly living nutrient-deprived lives as a result. No matter how much they eat, they are sadly always hungry because their bodies are unable to uptake vital nutrients.)
Monanto’s lawyers’ rebuttal at trial was to claim that dozens of studies were done on surfactants and that they were all found safe. What entities performed those studies, what company paid for them, and how they were designed were all questions that came up in court and were tackled by the plaintiff’s side. Again and again plaintiffs showed in all three trials that Monsanto paid for virtually all of the studies which suggest Roundup might be safe to use. Monsanto lawyers, meanwhile, repeated over and over that hundreds of studies have shown glyophosate is safe, though virtually all of those studies were done by Monsanto or were paid for my Monsanto, or were done by scientists or researchers with vested interests in Monsanto.
The Pilliods’ lead attorney Brent Wisner told the jury that Monsanto knew for a long time that combining glyphosate with the surfactant is more genotoxic and has a “synergistic effect.” He said Monsanto knew as much as early as 2000, that the company had heard it from a consultant whose findings Monsanto then dismissed for not helping support the company.
Internal Monsanto emails showed Monsanto religiously avoided switching to a known safer surfactant in the U.S. for fear that the change would look like an acknowledgement that Roundup was dangerous. Switching would have alerted the world, leading to Roundup bans everywhere, and it might have led to the exact types of lawsuits the company now finds itself fighting.
Monsanto claimed the change in Roundup’s European formula was for “market tastes.” The jury clearly didn’t buy it.