A federal judge in San Francisco will hear from expert witnesses on the science and safety of glyphosate at critical hearing starting Monday that will determine if plaintiffs around the country can move forward with their legal action against Monsanto over cancer claims. More than 365 pending lawsuits against the agribusiness giant have been centralized in multidistrict litigation under U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria. The plaintiffs claim they or their loved ones developed non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) due to exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller. During the week-long hearing—dubbed "Science Week"—epidemiologists, oncologists, toxicologists and other scientists representing both sides will offer testimony about glyphosate. The judge will not decide whether or not glyphosate causes cancer. Rather, Chhabria will determine if the experts providing scientific opinions regarding causation will be permitted to testify at trial, explained Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, one of the law firms leading the litigation.
The story with Monsanto’s round that begins as early as the 1980s when laboratory tests on glyphosate began to show cellular changes in laboratory animals that should’ve been considered early signals of a relationship clearly to cancer. In fact, in 1985 the EPA determined that glyphosate, which is the primary ingredient in Roundup, needed to be classified as a Class C carcinogen, which meant that it clearly is suggested of a relationship to cancer. But then miraculously for some reason six years later the EPA suddenly changed that classification to something just the opposite. Now they were saying that they were wrong to classify it as a possible carcinogen and that the public had nothing to worry about when using products that contained this chemical. That was their change. Then all of a sudden the laboratory data from the early ’80s that the EPA use to classify glyphosate as cancer suddenly became unavailable to the public. Why? Because Monsanto argued that all the early testing results for this chemical fell under a protection of trade’s secret rule, meaning they didn’t have to share this information with the general public. It was theirs. They were going to keep it quiet. Joining me now to talk about this is Carey Gillam, author of the book Whitewash: The Story of Weed Killer, Cancer, and Corruption of Science.
Internal Monsanto documents released by attorneys leading US cancer litigation show that the company launched a concerted campaign to force the retraction of a study that revealed toxic effects of Roundup. The documents also show that the editor of the journal that first published the study entered into a contract with Monsanto in the period shortly before the retraction campaign began. The study, led by Prof GE Séralini, showed that very low doses of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide had toxic effects on rats over a long-term period, including serious liver and kidney damage. Additional observations of increased tumour rates in treated rats would need to be confirmed in a larger-scale carcinogenicity study. The newly released documents show that throughout the retraction campaign, Monsanto tried to cover its tracks to hide its involvement. Instead Monsanto scientist David Saltmiras admitted to orchestrating a “third party expert” campaign in which scientists who were apparently independent of Monsanto would bombard the editor-in-chief of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), A. Wallace Hayes, with letters demanding that he retract the study.
Federal Court Unseals Documents Revealing Glyphosate Herbicide Fraud – Forces Mainstream Media to Cover Story
Health Impact News reported on the alleged fraud of sealed documents that the U.S. EPA had in their possession that showed glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, was harmful and linked to cancer back in 2015. According to Dr. Anthony Samsel, the author of several published studies showing the toxicity of glyphosate, these documents were sealed as "trade secrets." He was able to obtain copies of the documents and discussed his findings in an interview back in 2015. Samsel states that these problems with glyphosate causing cancer and other health problems were known to the EPA back in the 1970s. Unfortunately, this news was completely ignored by the mainstream media. Earlier this month (March 2017) however, Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco federal court, who is presiding over litigation brought by people who claim to have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of exposure to glyphosate, ordered many sealed files on glyphosate to be unsealed in pending litigation against Monsanto. This was big news, and the mainstream media was forced to cover it.
Over a decade ago, Scotts partnered with Monsanto to market a GM bentgrass resistant to glyphosate (Roundup). It was planted next to the Malheur National Forest in test plots ostensibly controlled by Oregon State University. Unbeknownst to most people, it was also planted all over the US—in California, Iowa, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and seventeen other states. It was supposed to be confined and controlled, but it very quickly escaped and spread out of the test plots in Oregon into Idaho, and crossbred with natural grasses to create new breeds that were also resistant to glyphosate. It clogged up irrigation ditches, threatening food crops and contaminating pasture-raised cattle with GMOs. In addition to the immediate threats to farmers and ranchers, grass seed—which is among Oregon’s top five commodities—is now under threat. Initially, Scotts-Monsanto tried to stop the spread and clean up the contamination. But it was unable to do so because the original bentgrass (and now the other grasses it cross-pollinated with) are glyphosate-resistant. More toxic herbicides have been brought in to try to keep irrigation ditches clear, and to stop the grasses from clogging and eventually killing waterways important to wildlife and humans.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a draft report finding that glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular Roundup weed killer—is not likely to cause cancer in humans. This finding is preliminary, to be followed by the agency’s final review of glyphosate, which has been delayed until spring of 2017. The EPA decided to address the potential cancer-causing effects of glyphosate after the United Nations’ International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced last year that the chemical was a “probable carcinogen.” An “independent” panel of scientists will review the EPA’s report this month. But as our readers know, Monsanto and other biotech giants have so deeply corrupted the science of this issue that finding independent scientists would be a very tough challenge.
A $66 billion buyout by the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer could make it harder for consumers to avoid products from the biotech behemoth. The number of companies controlling our food supply is about to shrink even further now that Bayer has bought Monsanto for $66 billion in cash, creating the world’s largest seed and pesticide company. The new megacorporation will control 25% of the world’s seeds and pesticides. Along with two other proposed biotech mergers, three companies will soon control the lion’s share of the world’s agricultural services, from seed production, to the herbicide and pesticide sprays that go on them, to the biotechnology used to produce them all. Monsanto/Bayer, Dow/DuPont, and Syngenta/ChemChina will sell 59% of the world’s seeds and 64% of the world pesticides.
Farmers in Arkansas and Missouri have filed more than 100 complaints with state agriculture agencies over a toxic weed killer that is drifting from adjacent farms and damaging their crops. The herbicide is not only stunting the growth of soybeans – it's also being used illegally. As National Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal reported, farmers say the chemical, known as dicamba, is being illegally sprayed by neighboring farms growing genetically modified crops from seeds created and sold by Monsanto, known as Roundup Ready 2 Xtend.
Lawsuits are now beginning in the United States against Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, the number one herbicide in the world used in modern agriculture. The active ingredient glyphosate, found in most of our foods, has been linked to cancer by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). As reported by EcoWatch, four Nebraskan agricultural workers have now filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. alleging that Roundup gave them non-Hodgkin lymphoma after many years of exposure. The plaintiffs have also accused Monsanto of purposely misleading consumers about the safety of its agricultural product, which contains glyphosate as its main ingredient. The plaintiffs allege that Monsanto mislabeled the product in defiance of the “body of recognized scientific evidence linking the disease to exposure to Roundup.” Could this be the beginning of many more lawsuits? Glyphosate is used so heavily in the U.S. that it has been found in human breast milk, feeding tube liquids given to babies and children with cancer in hospitals, and 75% of the air and rain samples tested in the Mississippi delta region. In 2014, Tropical Traditions tested some of the USDA certified organic products they were selling, and found glyphosate residue in organic food as well. They have now begun testing all of their products for the presence of glyphosate.
Hidden within a large federal spending bill is a proposal for $3 million to go toward consumer education and outreach to “promote understanding and acceptance of agricultural biotechnology”—a campaign to be carried out jointly by the FDA and the USDA. In plain English, this proposal would spend taxpayer dollars on an effort to convince Americans that GMOs are just fine—perhaps even that they shouldn’t be labeled.