Landmark Lawsuit Claims Monsanto Hid Cancer Risk of Glyphosate for Decades
In a landmark case, a 46-year-old California man with terminal cancer will file a lawsuit on June 18 against Monsanto. The litigation alleges the company hid the cancer-causing effects of its Roundup herbicide glyphosate for decades. The plaintiff, DeWayne Johnson, a husband and father of three, is waging a brave double battle against his illness and the biotechnology giant.
Court records show Johnson used Monsanto’s herbicide products containing glyphosate in his job as groundskeeper for the Benicia School District from 2012 to 2015. In August of 2014, he received a cancer diagnosis; and in January 2018, his doctor testified that he had only a few months to live.
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Johnson’s case recently got a boost from the California court involved. Judge Curtis Karnow ruled that jurors may hear scientific evidence pertaining to the cause of Johnson’s cancer, as well as claims that Monsanto suppressed data on the health risks of glyphosate. Karnow also said the jury would be permitted to consider punitive damages.
“The internal correspondence noted by Johnson could support a jury finding that Monsanto has long been aware of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicides are carcinogenic…but has continuously sought to influence the scientific literature to prevent its internal concerns from reaching the public sphere and to bolster its defenses in products liability actions,” Karnow wrote. “Thus there are triable issues of material fact.”
4,000 Plaintiffs Claim Glyphosate Exposure Caused Their Lymphoma
Aside from Johnson, 4,000 other plaintiffs are suing Monsanto, claiming exposure to glyphosate led to the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in themselves or their loved ones. The lawsuits allege the company’s position that glyphosate has been proven safe is a fallacy. They also charge that the company was aware of the health risks but hid them from the public and regulators.
Litigants cite studies that show glyphosate can increase the risk of NHL and other maladies, along with research that indicates commercial products containing glyphosate are more toxic than glyphosate alone. Another piece of evidence supporting their charges is that The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization, categorized glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.
Monsanto Plans to Challenge Studies Implicating Glyphosate in Cancer
As expected, Monsanto vehemently denies the allegations, arguing that studies finding carcinogenic properties in glyphosate are wrong. The company says its safety claims are supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Lawyers for Monsanto intend to challenge the validity of studies cited by Johnson’s legal team and present evidence that supports their safety assertions. They’ll also present the EPA’s risk assessment of glyphosate, which concluded it isn’t likely carcinogenic.
Which Side Is Right?
Both Johnson and Monsanto are using rulings of oversight agencies to support their claims, the IARC for the former and the EPA and FDA for the latter. In addition, both parties are using scientific studies that support their contentions. So which side is right?
The research Monsanto cites can’t be trusted. According to U.S. Right to Know, records involved in prior California litigations show that internal Monsanto documents reveal the company may have ghostwritten studies “concluding” that glyphosate was safe.
Can we believe the EPA’s ruling that glyphosate isn’t carcinogenic, or is it in Monsanto’s hip pocket? The aforementioned Monsanto documents also involve a discussion of an EPA scientist that “killed” an incriminating cancer study on glyphosate. They show Monsanto pressured the EPA to refrain from releasing information on the cancer risks of glyphosate to the public.
What about the FDA’s conclusion that glyphosate isn’t likely cancerous? Can we trust that? In 2016, the FDA started its first glyphosate-testing program but suspended it later that year. U.S. Right to Know cites an FDA source that said the agency had been under political pressure to avoid investigating glyphosate too deeply.
Moreover, within the past decade, several high-ranking FDA officials have been previously employed by Monsanto. This “revolving door” of staff between an oversight agency and the industry it regulates creates conflicts of interests that make it impossible to consider FDA rulings as reliable and valid.
Which Side Will Prevail — Johnson or Monsanto?
Some experts believe the outcome of the case could be a bellwether for future lawsuits. If Johnson wins, it could portend more litigations will be filed against Monsanto and prevail. Conversely, if the biotech giant wins, it would reduce the likelihood that other lawsuits will be successful for litigants.
Live in the Now consulted GMO expert Dr. Michael Wald, DC, Board Certified Nutritionist and author of Franken Foods: GMO Controversy, Lies & Your Health to get his take on the case.
“This case is very sad. I predict that the lawyers for this man with cancer will be able to prove the possibility that glyphosate can cause cancer. The lawyers for the defense will claim, among other things, that there is no way to prove a link between cancer in this particular man from the consumption of glyphosate. Some cancers are thought to be caused and perpetuated by an initial exposure to one or more toxins and their continued exposure.”
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.