News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
We’ve been reporting for years on the negative health effects of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Roundup herbicide. While world bodies like the World Health Organization say that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen,” the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that glyphosate is safe. Let’s not forget, though, that cronyism mars the EPA decision: unsealed court documents showed that a top EPA official (Jess Rowland) promised Monsanto he would quash efforts by the Department of Health to conduct its own review of glyphosate. So much for the federal government protecting the interests of people rather than special interests. There are now 13,400 cases pending that allege Roundup causes cancer. We hope these legal developments accomplish what government regulators were unable (or unwilling) to do: get glyphosate off the market for good.
After less than two full days of deliberations, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay just over $2 billion in punitive and compensatory damages to a married couple who both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma they say was caused by their many years of using Roundup products. After listening to 17 days of trial testimony, jurors said Monsanto must pay $1 billion to Alberta Pilliod, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma brain cancer in 2015, and another $1 billion to her husband Alva Pilliod, who was diagnosed in 2011 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma that spread from his bones to his pelvis and spine. The couple, who are both in their 70s, started using Roundup in the 1970s and continued using the herbicide until only a few years ago. The jury also awarded the couple a total of $55 million in damages for past and future medical bills and other losses. In ordering punitive damages, the jury had to find that Monsanto “engaged in conduct with malice, oppression or fraud committed by one or more officers, directors or managing agents of Monsanto” who were acting on behalf of the company. Pilliod v. Monsanto is the third Roundup cancer case to go to trial. And it is the third to conclude that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides can cause cancer and that Monsanto has long known about – and covered up – the risks.
Relying heavily on confidential industry research, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to re-approve glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. EPA’s conclusion that glyphosate poses no risks to humans contradicts a 2015 World Health Organization analysis of the leading independent research that determined glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. “American consumers have no reason to trust the EPA’s deeply flawed assessment of glyphosate’s safety,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “As with past EPA studies, the agency has relied heavily on confidential industry research that can’t be reviewed by independent scientists. This is an industry-friendly conclusion that’s simply not based on the best available science.” In addition to the WHO’s conclusion, other U.S. federal agencies have acknowledged evidence of glyphosate’s link to cancer. This includes the EPA’s Office of Research and Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Within the past nine months, two juries have ordered Monsanto/Bayer to pay multimillion-dollar awards to glyphosate users suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which independent research has linked to glyphosate. A third trial is currently underway, and lawsuits involving roughly 13,000 people have been filed against the company for failing to warn consumers of the pesticide’s cancer risks.
Monsanto Not Only Problem Facing Bayer: Investors Question Ethics in Selling Banned Pesticides in Brazil
Bayer CEO Werner Baumann recently lost a crucial confidence vote as investors questioned his handling of the $63 billion Monsanto deal and the wave of US lawsuits that followed. In what Bloomberg called "a stunning development for the German drugs and chemicals company", about 55 percent of shareholders voted against absolving Baumann and other managers of responsibility for their actions in the takeover last year. The vote threw Baumann's future into question and prompted an immediate supervisory board session. While much of the investor unrest undoubtedly focuses on financial liability, strong concerns are being raised about Bayer's ethics. At Bayer's annual general meeting, Christian Russau from the umbrella organization, the Critical Shareholders, made a speech in which he launched a scathing attack on the company for its "double standards". According to Russau, Bayer sells pesticides in Brazil that are banned in the EU. Russau said he feared that companies such as Bayer will continue to participate, perhaps more than ever, in the sale and distribution of highly toxic agrochemicals in Brazil. As a survival tactic in the face of Monsanto's multi-billion dollar acquisition, Bayer will go for growth at any price. Any poison which can be sold will be sold.
Washington State University (WSU) researchers have found a variety of diseases and other health problems in the second- and third-generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate, the world’s most used weed killer. In the first study of its kind, the researchers saw descendants of exposed rats developing prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity and birth abnormalities.
A draft US federal report has confirmed links between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weedkiller, and some forms of cancer. The report could have a damaging impact on Bayer/Monsanto’s attempt to defend the large number of legal cases involving its weedkiller. On April 8, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is tied to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, released its long-awaited draft toxicological report on glyphosate. It had been delayed for over three years, allegedly thanks to the efforts of Monsanto and a group of high-ranking officials within the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The ATSDR documented a range of concerns about glyphosate. But most worryingly for Bayer/Monsanto, just like the World Health Organisation's cancer agency IARC, it identified evidence for a link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Jury Slams Monsanto for Corporate Malfeasance in Roundup Cancer Trial, Awards $80 Million in Damages
Today, a second jury in less that 8 months found Bayer-Monsanto’s signature weedkiller Roundup responsible for causing cancer. The verdict in the case Hardeman v. Monsanto before a federal district court in San Francisco found exposure to glyphosate, the signature ingredient in Roundup, caused plaintiff Edward Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Jurors awarded $80 million in damages to Hardeman. “Clearly, the testimony that informed the jury’s decision was Bayer-Monsanto hiding Roundup’s carcinogenic properties, manipulating the science and cozying-up with EPA so it would not have to warn consumers of its dangerous product,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Bayer-Monsanto has known for decades the cancer-causing properties of Roundup and I applaud the jury for holding the company accountable for failing to warn consumers of the known danger. This verdict puts Bayer’s back firmly up against the wall as the cost of litigation mounts and its stock price gets pummeled once again,” said Cook.
Bayer AG has suffered its second major legal defeat after purchasing Monsanto Co. and inheriting its controversial herbicide, RoundUp, the world's most popular weedkiller. The active ingredient in RoundUp, glyphosate, has been linked to cancer and other health problems, while Bayer and Monsanto, along with the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) have denied any links. Earlier this week, a second jury in California has determined that a man who sprayed RoundUp on his property for decades is responsible for his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This recent defeat in court now opens up the door to another 11,200 cases pending against Bayer for harm allegedly caused by glyphosate. Settling these cases could cost Bayer billions more. Meanwhile, the evidence for harm caused by glyphosate continues to pile up. A study just published in The BMJ links pesticides and herbicides, including the widely used glyphosate, during prenatal and infant exposure to an increased rate of autism. The study was conducted in the Central Valley of California, home to the world's largest agricultural area.
The USDA’s organics program has been taken over by corporate interests; it’s time to fight back. Consumers looking for clean, healthy food have for years turned to foods with the USDA’s organic seal. This seal is understood to mean that the food has been grown in accordance with organic principles—most importantly, that the farming practices promote healthy soil, which in turn produces healthy food. Unfortunately, corporate influence has infected the USDA’s organic program to such an extent that it can be difficult to trust the organic seal. Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have taken over organic eggs and dairy. According to organic standards, livestock are supposed to have access to the outdoors, fresh air, and sunlight. But these provisions have been interpreted in such a way as to allow CAFOs to confine animals to barns but add “porches”—a roof built over a concrete floor with screens as walls—and still label their livestock as “organic.” This allows CAFOs to continue to raise millions of chickens or livestock on the cheap in cramped, squalid conditions but charge the organic premium. The USDA estimates that half of all organic eggs come from CAFOs.
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