What is Roundup?
Roundup is a herbicide used to control many varieties of invasive exotic plants. Glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup, inhibits a specific enzyme called EPSP synthase, which plants need to grow1. Without EPSP synthase, plants are unable to produce other proteins essential to growth, so they wither and die over a period of days or weeks. Since most plants require EPSP synthase, almost all forms of vegetation succumb to Roundup.
Use of glyphosate has soared in recent years due to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, which account for most corn and soybeans now grown in the U.S. These crops are genetically modified (GMO) to be resistant to glyphosate, allowing farmers to spray their fields without damaging the crops.
Monsanto’s History of Deception
From 1996 to 2011, the use of Roundup Ready GMO crops increased herbicide use in the U.S. by 527 million pounds -- even though Monsanto claimed its GMO products would reduce pesticide and herbicide use.2 Monsanto has continually falsified data on Roundup’s safety, and marketed the herbicide as “environmentally friendly” and “biodegradable,” to promote sales, according to EcoWatch. In January 2007, a French court ruled that these claims amounted to false advertising.3
Roundup ‘Probably’ Causes Cancer: Report
In 1985, an EPA committee found that Roundup may cause cancer, according to the New York Times. Six years later, the agency reversed itself after re-evaluating the study it had based its original conclusion on.
Now the issue is back again. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), published a report in The Lancet Oncology which found that the glyphosate contained in Roundup “probably” causes cancer in humans.5
“All three lines of evidence sort of said the same thing, which is we ought to be concerned about this,” said Aaron Blair, a retired epidemiologist from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and chairman of the group of 17 reviewers who unanimously agreed with the classification.
Types of Cancer Linked to Roundup
Our lawyers are accepting potential lawsuits for people who developed the following forms of cancer after using or being exposed to Roundup weed killer:
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Large Diffuse B-cell Lymphoma
- Follicular Lymphoma
- Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
- Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma
- Mantle Cell lymphoma (MCL)
- Primary Central Nervous System (CNS) Lymphoma
How Toxic is Roundup?
Glyphosate has long been considered by many to be completely safe because it works by inhibiting an enzyme pathway that only exists in green plants, and not in humans or other animals. Since the introduction of Roundup-Ready crops -- which Monsanto engineered to be resistant to glyphosate -- in the mid 1990s, American farmers have been able to use large quantities of the herbicide to kill weeds selectively.
However, over the past 20 years, numerous studies have also suggested that glyphosate may not be as safe as originally believed. A recent collaborative study published in Mutation Research reported that individuals with particularly high exposures to glyphosate (i.e. those who spray it) could have a 41% increased relative risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
There has been much speculation concerning what exactly causes the increased risk for lymphoma, including the notion that glyphosate may mimic the behavior of certain hormones in humans. One study, conducted by researchers in Thailand, found that by taking on the traits of these hormones, even minuscule amounts of glyphosate could increase the rate of breast cancer cell growth in petri dishes.
Numerous research papers have been published stating that glyphosate is harmless, and just as many have entered the literature contending the opposite. Still other studies have failed to reach any definitive conclusion. A recent 20-year analysis of data on nearly 45,000 farmworkers who applied glyphosate herbicides to their crops found no association with lymphoma and overall cancer risk.
Judge Cancels Roundup Cancer Trial to Aid Settlement Talks
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria has vacated the second federal Roundup bellwether trial in order to give lawyers more time to negotiate a settlement, according to the Genetic Literacy Project.
“The order will provide room for the parties to continue the mediation process in good faith and avoid the distractions that can arise from trials,” Bayer said in a statement.
A federal jury in the first bellwether trial in 2019 awarded $80 million to a man alleging he developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma from exposure to Roundup.
Bayer Chairman Resigns Amid Roundup Litigation
Bayer has announced that its current Chairman, Werner Wenning, will be stepping down earlier than planned and be replaced by a former PricewaterhouseCoopers executive, according to Barron's. Wenning has agreed to resign at the end of this year’s annual shareholders meeting on April 28 to be replaced by Norbert Winkeljohann, who joined Bayer in 2018. The replacement of Wenning, a Bayer veteran with over 50 years service, comes as the company faces pressure to settle thousands of Roundup Cancer Lawsuits.
Bayer Close to Roundup Settlement, Mediator Says
Bayer could be close to settling more than 75,000 cancer lawsuits filed over Roundup herbicide, according to Bloomberg. Mediator Ken Feinberg said on Friday he was "cautiously optimistic that a settlement will ultimately be reached" by mid-February, but declined to discuss the terms of any potential settlement.
The group of plaintiffs' lawyers involved in the negotiations has recently been expanded, suggesting a potential wide-ranging settlement. Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the number of cases filed over Roundup had grown to between 75,000 and 85,000.
Update: Bayer Prepares for 4th Roundup Cancer Trial
Jan. 24, 2020 - Bayer AG is scheduled to begin its fourth jury trial on Friday to dispute allegations that its Roundup weedkiller causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to Reuters. The venue for this landmark 4-plaintiff lawsuit is St. Louis, Ohio, hometown of Bayer's agricultural subsidiary Monsanto. Bayer is currently facing about 75,0000 Roundup lawsuits; the company's share price has plummeted following 3 consecutive victories for plaintiffs.
New Mexico City Bans Glyphosate
August 22, 2019 - Las Cruces, New Mexico, voted on Monday to remove all glyphosate herbicides from use on city property once remaining stocks are depleted, according to Las Cruces Sun News. Parks and recreation director Sonia Delgado said the city's supplies of the weed killer have mostly been used. Monday's resolution bars future use of any herbicides containing glyphosate.
St. Louis Judge Denies Monsanto Bid to Postpone Roundup Cancer Trial
August 14, 2019 - Monsanto's attempt to postpone the next St. Louis trial it faces involving Roundup cancer allegations has been snubbed by Circuit Court Judge Michael Mullen, who said the case shall proceed as scheduled in October, according to the American Council on Science and Health (USRTK). The trial, Walter Winston v. Monsanto, would mark the 4th time Monsanto has had to defend lymphoma claims over Roundup, but just the first time in its hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Another trial that had been set to begin in St. Louis on Aug. 19 was delayed by court order last week, and a trial that was slated for September has also been continued. Judge Mullen refused to do the same with the Winston case, saying depositions and discovery should continue until Sept. 16, with the jury selection to begin on Oct. 10.
Bayer Proposes $8 Billion Settlement for Roundup Cancer Suits
August 9, 2019 - Bayer AG is proposing to settle the Roundup litigation -- nearly 18,000 products liability lawsuits alleging glyphosate caused cancer -- for about $8 billion and change, according to Bloomberg. The agreement, which would take months to work out even if all parties agreed to the terms, would do wonders to reduce the stress on Bayer, which purchased Monsanto last year for around $66 billion. The ensuing litigation has decreased Bayer's market value by $30 billion, prompted an unprecedented shareholder vote of no confidence, and even sparked rumors of a company breakup. Plaintiffs' lawyers have stated they want more than $10 billion to resolve the claims, and there's no sure way to deal with future plaintiffs who have yet to be diagnosed, which means there's a high likelihood the lawsuits will stay put for the time being.
Santa Barbara to Eliminate Roundup Use in City Parks
July 31, 2019 - As part of its updated integrated pest management Program, the city of Santa Barbara, California, has announced plans to eliminate the use of glyphosate herbicides in parks, according to NOOZHAWK. The city already avoids the chemical in most parks, but will add Cabrillo Ball Field, Dwight Murphy Park, Franceschi Park, MacKenzie Park, Orpet Park, Pershing Park, San Roque Park, Sylvan Park and Hidden Valley Park. Santa Barbara uses neem oil, a natural product, instead of glyphosate to combat insects and fungus.
Watsonville, CA., Latest to Ban Roundup, Glyphosate Over Lymphoma Concerns
May 6, 2019 - Watsonville banned glyphosate from use on city-owned land in a unanimous City Council vote on April 23, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The ban is to take effect on July 1.
Concerns that glyphosate may have the potential to cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other types of cancer have been mounting for years, with allegations coming to a head in the form of more than 10,000 lawsuits filed against Bayer AG, which purchased the Monsanto Company last August for about $63 billion.
A peer-reviewed study published in October by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found trace amounts of glyphosate in at least 28 cereals and other foods marketed toward younger consumers. All but 2 of the 28 samples had levels of glyphosate above EWG’s own benchmark of 160 parts per billion (ppb). Foods tested included 10 samples of General Mills’ Cheerios and 18 samples of Quaker brand products, including instant oatmeal, breakfast cereal and snack bars.
In addition to the new moratorium in Watsonville, the use of Roundup and other glyphosate weed killers has already been banned or heavily restricted in more than 25 California cities, counties and school districts, including:
- Corte Madera
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles County
- Mill Valley
- Palo Alto
- San Anselmo
- San Francisco
- San Lorenzo Valley
- Santa Rosa
- Thousand Oaks
Los Angeles County became the largest California government to ban glyphosate in March, issuing a moratorium on the herbicide and citing the need for additional studies into the potential health risks posed by the chemical.
Watsonville Mayor Francisco Estrada acknowledged the decision to ban glyphosate outright could complicate maintenance, but said it was a necessary step to put public health concerns first.
“I think that this was something that was within our reach and something I could participate in to make a positive change,” Estrada said. “Will there be a cost, yes, will there be consequences, yes. I’m ready for the consequences.”
General Mills Sued Over Glyphosate in Nature Valley Granola Bars
Three nonprofit organizations have filed a lawsuit against General Mills for allegedly misleading the public by labeling Nature Valley granola bars as “100% natural” when they actually contain glyphosate.
The lawsuit was filed under the District of Columbia's Consumer Protection Procedures Act, according to Bloomberg. Plaintiffs include Moms Across America, Beyond Pesticides, and the Organic Consumers Association.
“As a mother, when I read '100% Natural,' I would expect that to mean no synthetic or toxic chemicals at all," said Zen Honeycutt, founder and executive director of Moms Across America. "Glyphosate is a toxic chemical that the EPA recognizes as a 'reproductive effector' which 'can cause liver and kidney damage' and 'digestive effects.' It is unacceptable that Nature Valley granola bars contain any amount of this chemical.”
A 2015 Consumer Reports survey found that 66% of consumers look for foods with the word "natural" on the labeling under the assumption they are produced without pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), hormones, or artificial ingredients.
Glyphosate is used in production of oats, the major ingredient in Nature Valley granola bars, which are marketed as “natural” and labeled “Made with 100% Natural Whole Grain Oats.” Monsanto says the residue levels found in many foods and beverages in the U.S. are below allowable levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2014, and therefore consumers have no reason to be concerned.
However, a 2015 study published in the journal Environmental Health found that chronic, low-dose exposure to glyphosate -- as low as 0.1 parts per billion -- can cause adverse effects on the liver and kidneys. Another study published earlier this year determined that glyphosate exposure can cause changes to DNA function resulting in the onset of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.
The complaint alleges that General Mills misled consumers by failing to disclose the presence of glyphosate in its Natural Valley products and warn of its harmful effects. Plaintiffs claim that General Mills’ “natural” labeling is deceptive, misleading and unlawful, and require its removal from the market.
Caltech Bans Use of Glyphosate at Student Housing
July 24, 2019 - The discovery that a landscaper applied the glyphosate-containing weed killer Ranger Pro at a Caltech housing facility has sparked some controversy among staff and the student body, but in a Monday announcement the university defended the herbicide and the landscape vendor’s manner of applying it, according to Pasadena Now. Caltech Director of Housing Maria A. Katsas claimed the Institute will stop using “pesticides” in the near future, and is committed to any needed clean-up efforts.
“We are … consulting with a toxicologist to determine what clean-up measures would be needed and most effective,” Katsas said. “We regret that you were not notified in advance of the use of RangerPro at the Villa student housing complex in the past."
CA Jury Awards Couple $2 Billion in Landmark Roundup Cancer Trial Verdict
May 14, 2019 - A jury in San Francisco, California, on Monday awarded more than $2 billion to a couple who claimed Roundup herbicide caused their cancer.
The recent verdict spells bad news for Bayer, which still faces more than 13,000 similar lawsuits alleging Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides cause cancer. Bayer shares fell 2% on the news, and have plummeted more than 45% this year, according to CNN Business.
As in its previous defeats, Bayer vows to fight the verdict, and maintains that Roundup is completely safe, and one of the most thoroughly tested chemicals in existence.
Although Bayer did see a bit of good news last month when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, its best bet may be to settle the remainder of the litigation, else the company may never hear the end of claims over Roundup.
EPA Says Roundup Chemical Not Linked to Cancer
May 3, 2019 - EPA’s declaration opposes a growing body of research which suggests that glyphosate increases the risk for lymphoma and other deadly forms of cancer.
“Today’s decision by Administrator Wheeler, like virtually every one he and the Trump administration make, completely ignores science in favor of polluters like Bayer,” said Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “This move by EPA should not come as a surprise. Under the control of Trump and Wheeler, the agency is virtually incapable of taking steps to protect people from dangerous chemicals like glyphosate.”
EPA’s ruling marks a welcome -- albeit temporary -- sigh of relief for Bayer, which purchased Monsanto last August for $63 billion, and has recently lost 2 straight Roundup cancer trials in the Northern District of California, where MDL 2741 is being overseen by Judge Vince Chhabria.
In March 2017, Judge Chhabria released records exposing how a corrupt former EPA official bragged to Monsanto that he deserved a medal if he could kill an investigation into the cancer risk with glyphosate. Monsanto was seeking the help of Jess Rowland, former manager of EPA’s pesticide division, to help stop an investigation into the glyphosate cancer risk by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland told a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager, who recounted the conversation in an email to his colleagues.
Rowland’s statements illustrate how the EPA, which was supposed to be policing Monsanto’s activities, was actually colluding with the agrochemical giant to downplay the Roundup cancer link. He apparently succeeded, as ATSDR never published a toxicological profile of glyphosate.
Exposure to Roundup “Most Significant Contributing Factor” in Plaintiffs’ Cancer, Pathologist Says
April 9, 2019 - A pathologist from the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, who claims to have poured over more than 2,000 pages of medical records for plaintiffs in the next Roundup cancer trial concluded that exposure to glyphosate was the “most significant contributing factor” in causing their development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Dr. Dennis Weisenburger, a pathologist hired by the plaintiffs who has studied the significant increase in lymphoma cases since glyphosate has been on the market and authored nearly 400 peer-reviewed articles, seemed confident in his assertion that Roundup was the likely causative agent in both plaintiffs’ development of the disease.
"It's not a hard call," Weisenburger said.
Weisenburger is the most recent witness to testify in a jury trial alleging that the plaintiffs’ regular exposure to thousands of gallons of Roundup on their 4 properties for more than 3 decades caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The trial is expected to conclude sometime next month.
During his testimony on Tuesday, Weisenburger spent a good portion of his time on the stand explaining epidemiological studies on glyphosate to the jury. He mentioned one study in particular which found that the Roundup mixture was 200 times more genotoxic, or DNA damaging, than glyphosate alone.
Weisenburger estimated that Mr. Alva had sprayed Roundup a total of at least 729 times, and Alberta sprayed it approximately 270 times, on their 4 properties over the previous 35 years. Both used the herbicide without taking extra safety protections and in casual clothing, he said.
The couple were diagnosed with lymphoma within years of each other, Weisenburger said, and that Alva continued to spray Roundup even after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011.
The lawsuit is: Pilliod v. Monsanto Co., case number RG17862702, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda.
California Jury Awards Plaintiff $80 Million Settlement in Roundup Cancer Lawsuit
Monsanto has been ordered to pay an $80 million settlement to a San Francisco man who claims that his development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma was the result of his use of Roundup weed killer, in a rare split-trial which could influence the outcome of thousands more cases.
Monsanto’s request to bifurcate the first federal trial involving allegations that Roundup caused cancer seems to have backfired, as the jury on Friday reached verdicts against the Bayer AG unit, awarding the Plaintiff over $80 million in damages.
The trial got underway in federal court in San Francisco on Feb. 25, overseen by the honorable U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria. Ed Hardeman, the 70-year-old Santa Rosa man who filed the claim, alleged that his use of Roundup for decades on and around his property significantly contributed to his development of lymphoma.
The jury deliberated for about a week over the first portion of the trial, and just 1 day for the second, unanimously ruling in favor of Hardeman in both instances. Monsanto was found guilty on a failure to warn claim, a design defect claim, and a negligence claim. The jury awarded Plaintiff over $80 million in damages, including $75 million in punitive damages.
Bayer’s Shares Plummet Following Consecutive Roundup Trial Losses
March 22, 2019 - Shares of Bayer AG dropped over 12% on Wednesday after a jury in federal court in San Francisco ruled for the second time that its Monsanto Roundup weed killer caused cancer. It was the pharmaceutical giant’s biggest 1-day loss in 16 years, according to Reuters.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Edwin Hardeman, who claimed that decades of using Monsanto Roundup on his 56-acre property in Santa Rosa, California, caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After deliberating for a week, the San Francisco jury unanimously agreed, finding that Roundup was likely a “substantial factor” in causing Hardeman's cancer.
The decision dealt Bayer a hefty second blow in the Roundup litigation, having been defeated last August in a similar lawsuit filed by Dwayne Johnson, who now has terminal stage 4 cancer and was not even expected to survive the end of his trial.
“This looks like 2-0 plaintiffs, and clearly not helpful for the overall payout calculus and resolution of the litigation,” said Bernstein analyst Gunther Zechmann.
The Hardeman case marked the first federal bellwether trial in MDL 2741. The lawsuit is unique in that the trial consists of 2 phases: the first to cover scientific disputes, and the second to address allegations of wrongdoing by Monsanto. Bayer still faces thousands of additional lawsuits alleging Roundup herbicide caused cancer.
San Francisco Jury Rules Plaintiff’s Cancer Caused by Roundup
March 19, 2019 - The jury of 5 women and 1 man reached a unanimous decision in favor of plaintiff Ed Hardeman after deliberating for a week, according to Law360. The verdict marks another costly setback for Bayer AG, which purchased Monsanto last August for about $63 billion, but which had to have seen at least a portion of these woes coming, as the litigation was already in full swing at the time.
During the trial, Hardeman testified that he used Roundup for more than a quarter century (1986-2012) on his 56-acre property in Santa Rosa, CA, to kill weeds and poison oak. During this process, Hardeman said mist from the herbicide fell onto his skin and face. He was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2015 at age 66, and has since been forced to undergo cancer treatment.
A series of medical professionals testified for both sides during the trial, presenting the jury with vastly different opinions regarding the link between Roundup and cancer.
During closing statements, Hardeman’s legal team argued that his exposure to Roundup had been extreme and that their side had shown “overwhelming evidence” from animal studies, mechanistic data and epidemiological data confirming the link between Roundup and cancer.
Monsanto contended on rebuttal that Harderman’s cancer studies were inadequate and unreliable, and that he has the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma which makes it impossible to rule out chronic hepatitis C and hepatitis B as a contributing factor to his disease.
The jury ultimately sided with the prosecution, determining that it was more than 50% likely that Roundup “significantly contributed” to his cancer.
The case is: Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. et al., case number 3:16-cv-00525.
Monsanto Cancer Report Deemed Admissible in Roundup Lawsuit
March 7, 2019 - U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said Monsanto's attorneys "opened the door" to allowing the report by arguing that glyphosate is not genotoxic — meaning that it can't cause genetic damage to human cells. The judge said Monsanto's position is contradicted by its own internal report, which was produced by Dr. James M. Parry.
The issue came up during a hearing for the bellwether trial, which began last week only to be paused momentarily for a sick juror, according to Law360.
Last August, a California jury found Monsanto liable in a similar lawsuit filed by a man alleging that Roundup caused his cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages, which was later slashed to $78 million.
In the Hardeman case, pathologist Dr. Dennis Weisenburger testified on Wednesday that he believed Roundup caused the plaintiff’s lymphoma, refuting an argument by Monsanto that the disease was a result of the man’s hepatitis C and age-related factors.
"If he was going to get lymphoma, he would have gotten it when he had the infection, not nine years after he was cured," Weisenburger said.
The pathologist also said when Hardeman was cured of hepatitis in 2006, any cells damaged by the virus would have died off, rejecting Monsanto's claims that his 2015 diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma was caused by the hepatitis.
New Study Finds Glyphosate in Dozens More Cereals, Children's Foods
October 25, 2018 - A new study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found the controversial herbicide glyphosate in at least 28 cereals and other children’s foods, less than 3 months after another study found “a hefty dose” of the weed killer in dozens of similar products.
EWG’s peer-reviewed study focused on oat-based cereals and other foods marketed at children, and arrived at conclusions which “fly in the face of claims by two companies, Quaker and General Mills, which have said there is no reason for concern,” the watchdog group claims.
EWG tested 28 products—all of which were made from “conventionally grown” (i.e. non-organic) oats—and found only 2 had glyphosate levels below its benchmark of 160 parts per billion (ppb).
“Almost all of the samples tested by EWG had residues of glyphosate at levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety,” the group said. “If those companies would just switch to oats that aren’t sprayed with glyphosate, parents wouldn’t have to wonder if their kids’ breakfasts contained a chemical linked to cancer.”
Manufacturers say their products are safe, but the new study argues that most of the foods tested have glyphosate in amounts that could pose a cancer risk with long-term exposure.
None of the foods violated EPA limits on the herbicide; however, EWG uses a far more conservative health benchmark. California's proposed glyphosate limit, which would be the most restrictive in the U.S., still allows for glyphosate levels that are over a hundred times higher than EWG's allowance.
Landmark Roundup Trial Ends in $289 Million Award to Plaintiff
August 13, 2018 - The jury ruled that Roundup herbicide and Ranger Pro products presented a “substantial danger” to the now 46-year-old Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using the spray for more than 2 years as a groundskeeper in San Francisco. Jurors concluded that Monsanto knew or should have known of the potential health risks associated with the chemicals.
The jury awarded Johnson $289 million -- mostly in the form of punitive damages intended to dissuade Monsanto from allowing the same fate to befall others that Johnson was forced to endure.
The now 46-year-old used Roundup weedkiller 20 to 30 times per year while working as a groundskeeper for a San Francisco area school district, according to the lawsuit. He claims that during this time, he had 2 accidents in which he was soaked with the herbicide.
Johnson's case was the first to go to trial because doctors said he didn’t have long to live, and in California, dying plaintiffs can be granted expedited trials. Next up to trial is 48-year-old Aaron Johnson, a former macadamia nut field manager who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2014, after using Roundup for 12 years.
Roundup Cancer Trial Moves Forward
July 12, 2018 - Hundreds of lawsuits alleging Roundup caused cancer advanced a crucial step forward on Thursday when a judge in San Francisco Superior Court ruled that a cancer victim could present expert testimony linking the herbicide to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Judge Chhabria said evidence linking glyphosate was “rather weak”; however, he also affirmed that the opinions of 3 experts linking the weed killer to cancer were relevant, and not tantamount to “junk science.”
The suits allege that Monsanto has known for decades about the cancer risk with Roundup, yet failed to adequately warn the public, medical, and scientific communities. Chhabria’s ruling allows the complaints to advance a crucial step forward, though Chhabria warned it could be a "daunting challenge" to convince him that glyphosate causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Many U.S. government agencies have rejected the link between cancer and glyphosate. Monsanto has, of course, forcefully denied the connection, claiming that the chemical is among the most tested of all-time, and that hundreds of studies have established that the chemical is safe.
Human Glyphosate Levels Increased 500% Since 1993, Study Finds
October 31, 2017 - A new study has found that humans levels of glyphosate have more than doubled since 1993.
The study, which analyzed glyphosate levels in the urine of 100 people in California, was conducted by the San Diego School of Medicine and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
“The data compares excretion levels of glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid in the human body over a 23-year time span, starting in 1993, just before the introduction of genetically modified crops into the United States,” said Dr. Paul J. Mills, who led the study.
The researchers found that detectable amounts of glyphosate increased from about 0.2 micrograms per liter to .44 micrograms per liter between 2014 and 2016. The daily limit set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 1.75 milligrams (MGs) per kilogram.
Mills said the next step for the study’s authors is to investigate the overall health of participants who had increased levels of glyphosate in their urine.
“I am concerned,” Mills said. “This is one of the reasons I put together this study, because there wasn’t such information in the biomedical literature, and I thought we needed it, and we needed to start having some good data to have a conversation around these questions.”
Use of glyphosate has increased about 500% since the early ’90s, the researchers found.
Regulators to Consider Tighter Restrictions on Glyphosate Use
Whether or not the IARC report affects sales of Roundup depends on if regulators decide to impose tighter restrictions on glyphosate use. A spokesman for the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said it was evaluating whether glyphosate-containing products may have to be re-labeled as posing a cancer hazard under Proposition 65, according to the Times.
EPA to Re-evaluate Herbicide Toxicity
Some consumer and environmental groups have called on the EPA to strengthen the labeling of genetically modified foods, and to re-evaluate the safety of glyphosate and a newer weed killer made by Dow Chemical that combines glyphosate and another herbicide, 2,4-D. EPA said it would consider the findings of the new report in its own review of glyphosate; however, the agency continues to maintain its classification for the chemical as having “evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans” since 1991, according to the Times.
Working to Limit Roundup Use Over Health Concerns
In April 2013, a study published in the journal Entropy 6 looked at glyphosate’s ability to interfere with normal bodily functions. The authors state “[Glyphosate's] negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body."
Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-author of the study, highlighted the need for additional research into the potential health effects of Roundup, stating that the team’s research has "hit upon something very important that needs to be taken seriously and further investigated."
Danish Authority Reclassifies Roundup as Cancer-Causing Substance
June 8, 2015 - Roundup weed killer is now listed as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing substance, by Denmark’s Working Environment Authority (WEA).
Lymphoma diagnoses have been increasing in Denmark for unknown reasons in recent years; the disease now affects over 1,000 Danes annually. These findings raised concerns from Philippe Grandjean, a professor of environmental medicine at the University of Southern Denmark.
“We know that glyphosate causes cancer in other mammals, but it has not been demonstrated in humans. That is because the effects are not investigated thoroughly enough in people yet. But when we see that other mammals get cancer from glyphosate, we must assume that people who are exposed to the substance can also develop cancer,” Grandjean said.
Roundup is the most popular pesticide and weed killer in Denmark, and Grandjean encourages people to stop using it. “Gardeners should remove Roundup as hazardous waste,” Grandjean said. “Pesticides have often proved more dangerous than we thought, and I do not think they belong in our homes.”
Despite its widespread use in home gardens, the vast majority of Roundup in Denmark is used in agricultural applications. In 2013, nearly 1,400 tons of glyphosate was sprayed on Danish soil.
“It is so common a substance, and our use of it is so extensive that this WHO report must be taken seriously,” Grandjean said.
“Philippe Grandjean is one of the world’s leading professors on toxicity especially on brain damage due to chemicals,” said Ib Borup Pederson, a Danish pig farmer who documented the significant change in the health and productivity of his livestock, as well as the profitability of his farm when he stopped using feed contaminated by glyphosate 4 years ago. “His appearance is of great importance; nobody in Denmark from the industry has clout enough to go against him, as he is both professor in Denmark and USA (at Harvard School of Public Health), and is widely recognized for his work.”
- Ho, Dr. Mae-Wan & and Swanson, Dr. Nancy. “Glyphosate ‘Probably Carcinogenic to Humans’ Latest WHO Assessment”. Institute of Science in Society (ISIS). March 24, 2015.
- Pederson, Ib Borup. “Changing from GMO to Non-GMO Natural Soy, Experiences from Denmark”. Institute of Science in Society (ISIS). September 9, 2014.
Monsanto Lobbyists Banned from EU Parliament
October 10, 2017 - Lobbyists working for the Monsanto Company have been barred from entering the European parliament after the company refused to attend a hearing regarding allegations of regulatory interference into Roundup safety studies.
Members of European parliament (MEPs) took the unprecedented step after Monsanto skipped a hearing called to discuss allegations that it tampered with studies investigating the safety of glyphosate. This is the first time MEPs have implemented new rules granting it the power to block access to companies that ignore a summons to attend parliamentary inquiries or hearings, according to The Guardian.
Leaders of all parliamentary blocks voted to back the ban on Thursday. Monsanto officials will now be unable to meet MEPs, attend meetings, or use digital resources on parliament grounds at Brussels or Strasbourg.
A public hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday to discuss allegations that Monsanto unlawfully influenced studies into the safety of glyphosate.
“Those who ignore the rules of democracy also lose their rights as a lobbyist in the European Parliament,” said Philippe Lamberts, President of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. “There remain many uncertainties in the assessment of the pesticide glyphosate. Monsanto has to face the questions of parliamentarians and should not hinder the clarification process.”
France to Phase Out Glyphosate Over 5 Years
October 6, 2017 - French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced that France will phase out glyphosate over the next 5 years until the herbicide is banned outright in 2022.
In response to worries from French farmers about an outright ban on glyphosate, Philippe proposed a gradual drawdown over the next 5 years, according to Organic Authority.
The majority of French farmers have reacted in favor of the proposal, with Christiane Lambert, head of France’s largest farm union, FNSEA, saying it meant the government was “starting to understand that a full ban would be impossible to apply in France.”
France’s Ministry of Environment announced in September that the county would be voting against renewal of the chemical’s license in the EU.
Last week, about 300 French farmers took to the Champs-Elysées in protest of an outright ban on glyphosate. FNSEA argued that seeing as there is no current alternative to the herbicide, an across-the-board ban placed French farmers at a severe disadvantage in the EU and across the globe.
The European Commission has proposed extending the licence for glyphosate for a decade, which France has said it will vote against and try to block. FNSEA is fighting the block, fearing that any type of ban would put farmers at a competitive disadvantage.
Roundup Labels to Carry Cancer Warning in California
June 27, 2017 - A California judge has ruled that state health officials can require Monsanto to include a cancer warning on the labeling of Roundup weed killer. If California carries out the proposal, it would be the first state in the U.S. to require such strict labeling for Monsanto Roundup, the most widely-used agricultural chemical on earth.
Monsanto rejects any notion of health risk associated with Roundup, and sued California to block the proposed labeling, claiming that it unconstitutionally made its claims based on IARC's claim that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic.”
Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan still must issue a formal decision, which she said would come soon. California regulators are waiting for the formal ruling before moving forward with the warnings. Once a chemical is added to a list of probable carcinogens, the manufacturer has a year before it must attach the label.
With so much suspicion surrounding Monsanto due to its dubious track record, and the numerous studies linking Roundup to cancer and many other serious health risks, the ruling is being applauded by many as a victory for the people against the widely-criticized agrochemical giant.
Monsanto Sued for Mislabeling Roundup
June 22, 2017 - A lawsuit has been filed against Monsanto in Wisconsin federal court by a group of plaintiffs who claim that Roundup herbicide is mislabeled with the statement that its active ingredient targets an enzyme not found in humans or pets.
The complaint (PDF), filed Tuesday by 6 consumers from states across the U.S., focuses on the promotion, marketing and sale of Roundup, rather than physical injuries alleged from the weed killer. Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., which also markets Roundup products, is named as a co-defendant in the case.
The lawsuit claims that Monsanto and Scotts label, market, and promote Roundup products with the “false statement that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, targets an enzyme that is not found ‘in people or pets.’”
Plaintiffs contend this is a false and deceptive claim, as the enzyme has been identified in the gut bacteria of humans and pets, and glyphosate can adversely affect their immune system.
Monsanto aggressively markets Roundup as safe for humans and animals, despite recent studies which have found that glyphosate may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and affect human and animal cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous, and reproductive systems.
No reasonable consumer seeing these representations would expect that Roundup actually targets a bacterial enzyme that is found in humans and animals, and that affects their immune system health.
Plaintiffs are seeking equitable relief on behalf of the general public, with all profits earned by Monsanto for sales of Roundup in D.C. to be deposited into a charitable fund for the raising of consumer awareness regarding the effects of glyphosate.
Glyphosate vs. Dicamba
Even more toxic than glyphosate is dicamba, a new herbicide designed for use on Monsanto's next generation of biotech crops. According to the Pesticide Management Education Program (PMEP) at Cornell University, dicamba is toxic by ingestion, inhalation and dermal exposure. Signs and symptoms of dicamba toxicity include:
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Muscle weakness
- Slowed heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Central nervous system effects (victim may become excited or depressed)
- Benzoic acid in the urine
- Cyanosis (bluing of the skin and gums)
- Exhaustion following repeated muscle spasms
EU Approves Roundup Ready Soybeans
The European Union (EU) has approved the import and processing of Monsanto Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, after debates over the potential health risks of glyphosate delayed introduction of the genetically modified crops for months.
The Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans have gone through a rigorous authorization protocol, including a favorable scientific assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The GMO crops are now authorized to be used both in human and animal food, but not for planting in the EU. The authorization is valid for a decade; however, “any products produced from these GMOs will be subject to the EU’s strict labeling and traceability rules,” according to the European Commission.
“Today the Commission authorized three GMOs for food/feed uses (soybean MON 87708 x MON 89788, soybean MON 87705 x MON 89788 and soybean FG72), all of which have gone through a comprehensive authorization procedure, including a favorable scientific assessment by EFSA,” the commission said on Friday.
Although Roundup Ready soybeans are tolerant to both glyphosate and dicamba weed killers, use of dicamba on the crops has not yet been approved by the EPA. The soybeans were approved earlier this year by a major Chinese importer. Monsanto is now planning on supplying 15 million U.S. soy acres to meet export needs.
The new crops make up what the company has called the 'Roundup Ready Xtend crop system,' designed to kill superweeds that have adapted to tolerate glyphosate herbicides.
EPA approved Dicamba in 1967, and the chemical has since been linked to high rates of cancer and birth defects in the families of food growers. Consumer, health and environmental advocates have fiercely opposed Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend crop system over health and environmental concerns.
40 Californians File Roundup Cancer Lawsuit
April 5, 2017 - Forty California residents have filed a products liability lawsuit against Monsanto alleging that Roundup weedkiller caused them to develop “non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers, other permanent defects and permanent bodily impairments.” The complaint, filed last month in Alameda Superior Court, alleges that Monsanto says Roundup is safe to use and poses no unreasonable health risk to humans or the environment.
Study Links Glyphosate to Autism
March 8, 2017 - A new study has been published linking glyphosate to an increased risk for autism.
For the study (PDF), a research team led by William Shaw, Ph.D. of The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc. found extremely high levels of glyphosate in urine samples taken from a set of triplets. The amount of glyphosate dropped significantly after implementing a strict diet of organic foods, with improvements noted in the functioning of the children.
The two boys from the triplet set have autism while the girl has significant medical problems but does not have autism. Shaw found the results significant because previous research has shown that the rate of autism in the U.S. is highly correlated with the increased use of glyphosate.
The findings could also demonstrate a potential mechanism by which glyphosate could lead to brain damage. People are exposed to high amounts of glyphosate when they eat genetically modified foods that are engineered to survive glyphosate toxicity. Weeds that are not genetically modified die when exposed to the chemical.
It was previously believed that humans and other animals lack the enzymes that weeds possess, so therefore would not be affected by glyphosate toxicity. However, recent studies have found that glyphosate also kills beneficial bacteria in the environment and in the intestinal tracts of farm animals and humans by the same mechanism which it kills weeds.
Pathogenic bacteria such as Clostridia and Salmonella, on the other hand, lack the genes that kill beneficial bacteria. This factor was important since the two boys with autism had elevated markers which indicated Clostridia overgrowth. These markers may alter brain function by inhibition of the enzyme dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH), which is responsible for the conversion of dopamine to a brain chemical called norepinephrine.
Over time, this inhibition of DBH leads to the overproduction of dopamine, which may be toxic and cause brain damage at high concentrations. Some medications used to treat autism like Risperdal (generic: risperidone) block the effects of excessive dopamine.
Roundup Linked to Liver Disease, Study Finds
January 10, 2017 - A new study has found that glyphosate causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in laboratory rats at very low doses.
The study, published Monday in Scientific Reports, used cutting edge profiling methods to analyze the molecular composition of the livers of female rats that were given extremely low doses of Roundup herbicide (thousands of times lower than what is permitted by worldwide health regulators) over a 2-year period.
The results indicated that these animals developed NAFLD. According to the researchers, this study is unique in that it is the first to show a causative link between exposure to Roundup and a serious disease.
“The findings of our study are very worrying as they demonstrate for the first time a causative link between an environmentally relevant level of Roundup consumption over the long-term and a serious disease – namely non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” said Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London, lead author of the study. “Our results also suggest that regulators should reconsider the safety evaluation of glyphosate-based herbicides.”
The study indicates that long-term consumption of an ultra-low dose of Roundup at a glyphosate intake level of just 4 nanograms per kilogram of body weight per day -- which is 437,500 times below the level permitted in the U.S. -- results in NAFLD.
Health regulators accept toxicity studies in rats as an indicator of potential human health risks. Therefore, the new findings may have serious consequences for human health, according to the researchers.
NAFLD currently affects about 25% of the U.S. population. Risk factors include being overweight or obese, having diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides in the blood. Rapid weight loss and poor eating habits also may lead to the disease.
Symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Spider-like blood vessels
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Fluid buildup and swelling of the legs (edema) and abdomen (ascites)
- Mental confusion
If left untreated, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can progress to the more serious condition non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
EPA Panel to Investigate Roundup Cancer Link
December 13, 2016 - The EPA is holding a three-day series of meetings this week dedicated to examining evidence linking Monsanto Roundup to cancer, according to The Hill. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA) will meet first on Tuesday to review a set of scientific issues regarding EPA’s evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate. The goal of the meetings is to determine how the agency should interpret relevant data and how this information should translate into a “carcinogen risk” classification for glyphosate.
Glyphosate Found in Oatmeal, Baby Food
October 3, 2016 - The FDA has found residues of glyphosate in a variety of oat products including plain and flavored oat cereals for babies. Data (PDF) presented by FDA chemists at a meeting in Florida showed residues of glyphosate in the following products:
- “Cinnamon spice” instant oatmeal
- “Maple brown sugar” instant oatmeal
- "Peach and cream" instant oatmeal
- Banana strawberry and other banana-flavored varieties of infant oat cereal
- Other similar products
Glyphosate levels ranged from none found in several different oat products to 1.67 parts per million (PPM), according to the FDA. The EPA maintains that glyphosate is "not likely" to cause cancer, and has established tolerance levels for the chemical in oats and other foods. The levels identified by FDA in the above products fall within EPA’s guidelines, which for oats is 30 ppm. The U.S. typically allows far more glyphosate residue in food than other countries. In the EU, for example, the tolerance for glyphosate in oats is 20 PPM.
Monsanto, which generates nearly one-third of its $15 billion annual revenues from glyphosate products, helped the EPA in setting tolerance levels for glyphosate, and in 2013 asked for and received higher tolerances for the chemical in a large number of foods. The company has developed genetically engineered (GMO) crops including corn, soybeans, canola and sugar beets that are designed to tolerate direct spraying with glyphosate.
In May, San Francisco resident Danielle Cooper filed a class action lawsuit (PDF) against Quaker Oats Co. after glyphosate was found in the company's oat products, which are used by millions of consumers as cereal and for baking. Cooper said she expected the oats, which are labeled as "100% Natural," to be free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
"Glyphosate is a dangerous substance, the presence and dangers of which should be disclosed," the class action states.
Glyphosate Restrictions go into Effect in EU
August 24, 2016 - New restrictions concerning the use of glyphosate came into effect across the European Union (EU) on Monday, according to AgriLand. Under the new regulations:
- There is a ban of a co-formulant called polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA) from glyphosate-containing products;
- Greater scrutiny will be placed on the pre-harvest use of glyphosate, and
- Reduction of the chemical's use in specific areas such as public parks, playgrounds and sports grounds.
Glyphosate Linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS, Study Finds
A new study has found that glyphosate alters DNA function, increasing the risk for a number of serious, potentially life-threatening diseases.
According to the study, entitled “Glyphosate pathways to modern diseases V: Amino acid analogue of glycine in diverse proteins”, glyphosate acts as a glycine analogue that incorporates into peptides during protein synthesis. When this occurs, the herbicide changes proteins that depend on conserved glycine to function.
According to the study, glyphosate substitution for glycine is associated with a number of serious diseases including (but not limited to):
- Type 2 diabetes
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
Glycine, the smallest of the 20 amino acids found in proteins, has unique properties that have the ability to anchor to the plasma membrane or cytoskeleton. The new study, taken in conjunction with correlating data, makes a compelling argument that glyphosate action as a glycine analogue accounts for a high percentage of glyphosate’s toxicity.
Additionally, the researchers found that the herbicide may be incorporated into polypeptide chains during protein synthesis, which affects the structure and function of the proteins. Proteins fold up, and glycine is a tiny molecule that is often found in the folding spaces. Since glyphosate is much larger, it prevents the protein molecule from folding correctly, disrupting the function of proteins involved with metabolism and regulatory processes, according to the study.
This mechanism affects humans and other organisms in a number of ways including:
- Impaired fatty acid release leading to obesity;
- Impaired insulin receptor response leading to type 2 diabetes;
- Impaired one-carbon metabolism leading to neural tube defects and autism;
- Impaired cell cycle control during DNA synthesis, and
- Dysregulated phosphorylation cascades leading to cancer, lung disorders and autoimmune diseases.
Monsanto touts glyphosate as a “low toxicity” herbicide and “safer” than other weedkillers. However, the chemical has also been shown to have negative effects on humans and the environment. Given its massive use on residential and agricultural sites, its toxicity is of growing concern.
Glyphosate Approved in Europe Despite Cancer Fears
June 30, 2016 - A European Commission has extended approval of the herbicide glyphosate through 2017 after EU member states failed to either approve or ban the chemical.
The EU's current approval of glyphosate was set to expire today, according to EcoWatch. Had that happened, manufacturers would have had to phase out products containing the ingredient within 6 months.
Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis announced the last-minute extension on Tuesday, despite failing 3 consecutive times to secure a majority decision from the EU member states.
Europe’s view on glyphosate has been divided since March 2015, when the World Health Organization published a report stating that the herbicide is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” To complicate matters, other regulatory agencies including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have since declared glyphosate to be safe.
The 18 month extension will allow the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to further investigate the chemical’s safety. However, because the commission initially proposed to extend glyphosate for another 15 years but has now reduced it to a temporary approval underscores the uncertain fate of glyphosate in Europe.
“There are clear concerns about the health risks with glyphosate, both as regards it being a carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor,” said Green Party MEP Bart Staes. “Moreover, glyphosate’s devastating impact on biodiversity should have already led to its ban. The process of phasing-out glyphosate and other toxic herbicides and pesticides from agriculture must begin now, and this means reorienting the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy towards a more sustainable agricultural model and a Common Food Policy.”
Staes further noted that under the current legislation, EU member states have the power to impose restrictions on glyphosate, with France and others already saying they will do so.
Scientists Urge EPA to Ban Glyphosate
June 17, 2016 - A delegation of independent scientists have urged the EPA to ban Monsanto’s flagship weed killer Roundup.
Providing testimony that Roundup poses an unreasonable environmental and public health threat, scientists spoke with EPA officials in a closed meeting at the O’Neill House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The scientists laid out the physiological reasons why exposure to glyphosate can increase the risk of autism, Alzheimer’s, cancer, birth defects, obesity and other serious health problems.
“When a cell is trying to form proteins, it may grab glyphosate instead of glycine to form a damaged, mis-folded protein,” said Dr. Stephen Frantz, a pathobiologist research scientist who led the team. “After that it’s medical chaos. Where glyphosate replaces glycine, the cell can no longer conduct business as usual causing unpredicted consequences with many diseases and disorders as a result.”
Roundup also damages a crop’s ability to extract carbon from the air, a fundamental component of climate change.
“Glyphosate negatively affects the soil microbiome,” Frantz said. “It is destroying the ability of soil to be a nutritive medium for producing crops…We call for a ban on glyphosate.”
Frantz also said that Roundup is a patented antimicrobial. “By eating glyphosate-laden foods, we are exposed to a chronic, low dose antibiotic. This is likely causing antibiotic resistance and superbugs.”
At least 300 million pounds of Roundup are sprayed on U.S. crops each year, and nearly half of Monsanto’s annual sales (about $5 billion) come from the weed killer, according to the Huffington Post.
Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt was also at the meeting in Washington. Her son was diagnosed with autism, allegedly the result of his consumption of processed foods, until his mother switched to an all-organic diet.
“Mothers and caretakers are seeing their loved ones get sick on GMOs and glyphosate/herbicide sprayed foods and get better when they avoid them,” Honeycutt said. “Because glyphosate is contaminating our urine, water, breast milk and nearly all our foods, we are systematically causing sickness throughout America. For the sake of our country, this must stop. We simply cannot afford glyphosate.”
The Deputy Director of EPA’s Pesticide Programs said it could take until late next year before a decision is made on whether the agency will re-register glyphosate for continued use in the U.S. Frantz is demanding immediate action because he views use of the chemical as outright poisoning of our food sources and environment.
“By the end of 2016, the EPA will have something done and then comment periods, and then there’s another step, and there’s more comment periods, and this is like business as usual,” Frantz said. “The evidence we presented about this chemical being a glycine analog, that really should excite people. And I didn’t see any excitement. It should upset people.”
EU Rejects Extension on Glyphosate
June 6, 2016 - European Union nations have refused to back a limited extension on glyphosate, threatening withdrawal of the weed killer if no decision is reached by the end of the month.
EU representatives in Brussels today failed to pass a 1-2 year re-authorization of glyphosate to allow for completion of a safety assessment currently underway at the ECHA, according to Reuters.
If the commission fails to reauthorize the chemical’s use by the end of the month, it will be illegal to use throughout the EU, and all products containing glyphosate would be removed from the European market within 6 months. A number of countries including the Netherlands and France have already moved to restrict public access to the herbicide over health and environmental concerns.
Following today’s vote, the commission now has 2 options. The issue will either be referred to an appeal committee which would be scheduled June 20 to allow for a resolution by the end of the month, or the committee can do nothing and allow the June 30 deadline to pass, resulting in an across-the-board market pull of all glyphosate products. However, EU officials are acutely aware of the potential lawsuits that would likely be filed by Monsanto and other glyphosate producers if this were to happen.
Lawsuit Alleges Roundup Caused Bone Cancer in Farm Worker
A former California farm worker has filed a federal lawsuit against Monsanto alleging that the company’s Roundup weed killer caused her to develop bone cancer after years of exposure to the herbicide.
According to the lawsuit, plaintiff Enrique Rubio sprayed Roundup on crops in California, Oregon and Texas from 1986 to 1995, and was subsequently diagnosed with bone cancer at 38-years-old.
Rubio claims that during her years as a field worker, she drove a tractor and used a hand pump to spray vegetables with the weed killer with nothing more than a paper mask to protect her from the chemicals.
The complaint alleges that Monsanto’s “prolonged campaign of misinformation” about the safety of Roundup amounted to willful negligence, and that there was no way Rubio could have known about the health risks of the herbicide. To support this claim, the lawsuit notes that the EPA found that 2 laboratories hired by Monsanto falsified test results; however, the company was allowed to sell the weedkiller in the U.S. and around the world. The lawsuit furthermore contends that in light of numerous recent peer-reviewed studies, Monsanto can no longer deny the herbicide’s health effects.
As a result of the study’s findings, the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) earlier this month officially classified glyphosate as a known carcinogen under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
Rubio’s lawsuit alleges that Monsanto has known for years about Roundup’s toxicity to humans and the environment, but continues to claim that the weed killer poses no unreasonable risk. The complaint accuses Monsanto of:
- Strict liability over a known design defect that could have been made less harmful;
- Failure to warn of the dangers of Roundup;
- Willful negligence, and
- Breach of implied warranty.
As a result of these alleged misdeeds, Rubio “has suffered and continues to suffer grave injuries” including economic hardship and medical expenses that will continue indefinitely. Since being diagnosed with bone cancer in 1995, Rubio has become disabled and is no longer able to work, according to the lawsuit. She is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as payment of legal expenses.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Monsanto in California
May 9, 2016 - The widow of a California farmer has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Monsanto alleging that the company purposely downplayed the cancer risk associated with its Roundup weed killer.
According to the lawsuit (PDF), Jack McCall developed terminal cancer after using Roundup herbicide for nearly 30 years. In September 2015, McCall was admitted to a hospital with swollen lymph nodes in his neck. His doctor informed him that the swelling was caused by anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. No one on his farm knew that Roundup could cause cancer since Monsanto maintained for decades that the weed killer was non-toxic to humans, according to the complaint.
After being diagnosed with ALCL and learning of the link between Roundup and cancer, he stopped using the herbicide on his farm. Unfortunately, by then it was too late. Three months after his diagnosis, while undergoing treatment on Christmas Eve 2015, McCall had a massive stroke and died 2 days later. He was 69-years-old.
According to allegations raised in the complaint, Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate is carcinogenic, but failed to adequately warn consumers of its potential health risks. Instead, the company continued to market the herbicide as non-toxic, and hid the dangers as it generated billions in profits worldwide. To this day, Monsanto has failed to adequately and accurately warn of the true risks associated with Roundup and glyphosate, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint was filed on May 4 in federal court in Los Angeles, California, on behalf of Jack McCall’s widow, Teri McCall, under case number 2:16-cv-01609. The lawsuit seeks wrongful death and punitive damages, alleging that Monsanto designed a dangerous and defective product, committed gross negligence, and defrauded millions of farmers about the safety of Roundup.
Lawmakers Pressure EPA Over Glyphosate Safety Report
May 13, 2016 - U.S. lawmakers have put pressure on the EPA to explain why it released and then quickly withdrew documents concerning its review of glyphosate.
The documents, which included a report indicating that glyphosate is probably not carcinogenic to humans, were posted to the EPA’s website on April 29 and then taken down 4 days later.
In response, the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture sent a letter to the EPA which said that it is looking into its review of glyphosate and atrazine, another widely-used chemical found in agricultural herbicides. The aim of the report, which started in 2009, is to examine the chemicals and their potential human health and environmental risks.
"We are troubled that EPA mistakenly posted and later removed documents related to assessments of two different chemicals within one week," the letter said. "These mistakes indicate systemic problems with EPA's management of its chemical review and publication processes."
The committee asked EPA who is in charge of managing the risk assessment protocol for chemicals, and for a step-by-step description of its publication approval process. The letter also inquired about the steps needed to finalize the glyphosate report, which is expected in July.
"We are concerned that EPA has continually delayed its review of glyphosate," the letter said.
The committee will consider what action to take after the EPA responds. The agency told Reuters it has received the letter "and will respond appropriately."
EPA Pulls Report Saying Glyphosate is Safe
May 5, 2016 - The EPA says it accidentally released an 87-page report which concluded that glyphosate is "not likely" to cause cancer in humans.
The documents, revoked earlier this week, are from a report by the EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee (PDF) which says "epidemiological studies in humans showed no association between glyphosate exposure" and 15 types of cancers, according to the Des Moines Register.
EPA said it doesn't expect to finish its review of glyphosate until later this year. The agency periodically reviews chemicals to ensure they're performing as designed and aren't causing harm to people or the environment.
“Documents on glyphosate that are still in development were taken down from the agency’s docket because our assessment is still ongoing and not final,” said EPA spokesman Nick Conger.
Monsanto argued that the agency’s findings contradicted decades of studies which have found that glyphosate is safe. The company criticized the IARC for "cherry picking" data, and accused it of promoting "an agenda-driven bias." Monsanto said the revoked EPA report was just the latest piece of data to concluding that glyphosate doesn't cause cancer.
Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said the EPA report should be the final assessment on the cancer risk associated with glyphosate. She said the agency still needs to release data on the chemical’s impact on the environment and wildlife.
"Monsanto could have written (this report)," said Sass. "It's really outrageous that (the EPA) came out so different than where the World Health Organization and other agencies are."
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Glyphosate in Quaker Oats
May 2, 2016 - Quaker Oats is being sued for $5 million by a New York man who alleges the company uses glyphosate during production, according to the New York Post. The class action was filed by Lewis Daly, a Brooklyn resident who claims Quaker Oats' advertising is "false, deceptive and misleading." Daly says the carcinogenic substance glyphosate is used to grow the oats and sprayed on them during harvest, undermining the company's claims that its products are "100 per cent Natural."
Glyphosate Found in Many Breakfast Foods, Study Finds
April 20, 2016 - Glyphosate has found its way into many common breakfast foods including bagels, cereals and eggs, according to a new report.
According to the report, which was issued by the Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA), testing procured from Microbe Inotech Laboratories in St. Louis found detectable levels of glyphosate in 10 out of 24 breakfast food items including oatmeal, bagels and coffee creamer. “Americans are consuming glyphosate in common foods on a daily basis,” ANH said.
Notably, some of the highest levels of glyphosate were detected in organic foods such as eggs which are advertised as being “organic, cage-free, antibiotic-free;” and in organic bagels and bread. Indeed, the organic cage-free eggs contained more glyphosate than health authorities allow, ANH said. The agency also tested flour, corn flakes, instant oatmeal, yogurt and frozen hash browns.
ANH said the test results indicate that glyphosate is entering the food supply in a number of ways, including being sprayed on crops like wheat to help speed the crop to harvest, and through genetically engineered livestock feed that builds up in poultry and other farm animals.
The agency acknowledged that most samples which detected glyphosate residue were at levels under what American health officials classify as “allowable daily intake.” However, ANH also noted that what is considered safe in the U.S. is far higher than that allowed by the EU, and that some critics believe commercial formulations of glyphosate weed killers are more toxic than the chemical alone.
“The fact that it is showing up in foods like eggs and coffee creamer, which don’t directly contact the herbicide, shows that it’s being passed on by animals who ingest it in their feed,” said Gretchen DuBeau, executive and legal director of ANH-USA. “This is contrary to everything that regulators and industry scientists have been telling the public.”
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- Pollack, Andrew. "Weed Killer, Long Cleared, Is Doubted." The New York Times. March 27, 2015; B1.<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/business/energy-environment/decades-after-monsantos-roundup-gets-an-all-clear-a-cancer-agency-raises-concerns.html?_r=0>.
- Benítez-Leite, S, Macchi, ML, & Acosta, M. “Malformaciones congénitas asociadas a agrotóxicos.” Pediatría (Asunción), 34(2), 111-121. <http://scielo.iics.una.py/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1683-98032007000200002&lng=en&tlng=es>.
- Guyton KZ et al. “Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate." The Lancet. May 2015; 16(5):490-491. <http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(15)70134-8/abstract>
- Samsel, Anthony & Seneff, Stephanie. “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases.” Entropy. 2013, 15(4), 1416-1463.
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