Roundup Causes Cancer, California Says

Spraying glyphosate on a stubble field | Photo: Chafer Machinery, some rights reserved
Spraying glyphosate on a field. Photo: Chafer Machinery

California is free to declare officially that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller causes cancer after a state court stopped a lawsuit by Monsanto.

There are 100 lawsuits in MDL 2741 supervised by US District Judge Vince Chhabria (Northern District of California), Roundup Products Liability Litigation.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced in 2015 that it would add glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

Monsanto sued in January 2016 to block the listing, claiming that the state acted unconstitutionally in listing glyphosate. The company also argued that the value of its Roundup trademark would be irreparably damaged that its First Amendment right to free speech was threatened if the state required warning labels on the company’s glyphosate products.

Glyphosate on carcinogen list

State Superior Court Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan ruled March 10 that California may add glyphosate to its carcinogen list.

Farm workers suffer significant health effects from glyphosate exposure, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).

Use of Roundup has skyrocketed in recent decades because of Roundup’s bogus reputation as “safer than table salt.” Also, Monsanto’s sells “Roundup-ready” crops such as soy, corn, alfalfa, and cotton. Farmers spray Roundup on crops, killing the weeds but leaving their crops unharmed.

As a result of the spread of glyphosate-resistant crops, use of the herbicide has increased more than tenfold since 1995.

America’s farming belt, where most of the food in the US is grown, is hit the hardest:

  • West: California, Washington, Montana, and Texas
  • Midwest: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota
  • Mississippi River: Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee
  • Atlantic seaboard: New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina

This article is a part of KCET and Link TV’s “Summer of the Environment.

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Corrupt EPA Official Bragged About Killing Study into Roundup Causing Cancer

"If I can kill this I should get a medal," said Jess Rowland, former EPA Deputy Division Director
“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” said Jess Rowland, former EPA Deputy Division Director told Monsanto.

The federal judge overseeing the MDL for Roundup litigation released records exposing how a corrupt Environmental Protection Agency official bragged to Monsanto that he deserved a medal if he could kill an investigation of whether the company’s Roundup herbicide causes cancer.

The shocking boast was released by US District Judge Vince Chhabria in In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Monsanto was seeking Rowland’s help in stopping an investigation of glyphosate, the poison in Roundup, by a separate office, 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 boast in an email to his colleagues.

Click here to see the actual unsealed documents with Rowland’s shocking boast.

 

Rowland’s bragging shows the regulator who was supposed to be policing the company was corruptly working on its behalf. He apparently succeeded. The ATSDR announced in the Federal Register in February 2015 that it would publish a toxicological profile of glyphosate by October, but it never did.

Deposing Rowland

Now retired, Rowland was the Deputy Division Director in the EPA’s Health Effects Division of the Office of Pesticide Programs. He joined the EPA in 1990 and as the Senior Science advisor, he could have a sweeping impact by providing expert advice on complex or novel scientific or policy issues. His branch was responsible for assessing the human health effects from pesticide exposure on food, water, working conditions and home life.

Judge Chhabria stated in Pretrial Order No. 15 that he tentatively would allow plaintiffs to take Rowland’s deposition and to compel production of documents about his work. He said he would consider further arguments before making a final decision.

The court denied Monsanto’s motion to seal documents concerning Rowland’s depositions. “Potential embarrassment to Monsanto (or to Jess Rowland) is not enough” to seal the information, according to the judge.

“Although the documents contain communications about Monsanto’s efforts to influence agencies, there is no credible argument that they reveal some sort of ‘trade secret’ about how to do so,” the judge wrote sarcastically.

Also read: Monsanto Colluded To “Ghost-Write” Studies on the Pesticide Roundup

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Monsanto Colluded To “Ghost-Write” Studies on the Pesticide Roundup

Monsanto executive William Heydens had his staff to ghostwrite portions of a phony scientific article.
Monsanto executive William Heydens had his staff to ghostwrite portions of a phony scientific article.

Newly-released emails written by executives at Monsanto Co. show that Monsanto employees ghostwrote articles for independent scientists. Leading up to a regulatory hearing on the safety of glyphosate, Monsanto employees were looking for scientific studies showing that Roundup is safe.

Monsanto executive William “Bill” Heydens, Regulatory Product Safety Assessment Lead, instructed his staff to ghostwrite portions of a scientific article, planning to have scientists “just sign their names” to the study.

“Monsanto tells us that Roundup is safe because scientists say it is safe.  But apparently scientists sign their names, while Monsanto signs the checks,” says Kara Cook-Schultz, Toxics Director at U.S. PIRG. “This calls into question multiple studies written, or possibly ghostwritten, by agricultural scientists.”

Click here to see the actual unsealed documents with Heyden’s brazen ghost-writing plan.

 

Also included in the email chain is evidence showing that Monsanto regularly works together with other international chemical companies—such as Syngenta and Dow—to publish scientific papers. Christophe Gustin, Monsanto’s Crop Protection Regulatory Affairs Lead at Monsanto Europe, asked for Syngenta and Dow’s sign-off prior to hiring a scientist to publish the results of internal, unpublished studies on Roundup.

The emails were released in a court case where plaintiffs allege that Monsanto’s product Roundup causes cancer.  The case is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Roundup is the most-used weed killer in the country. Nearly 300 million pounds of Roundup are applied in the U.S. every year. Recent studies have found glyphosate in infant formula, beer, wine, and breast milk.

U.S. PIRG’s Ban Roundup Now campaign has been fighting to get the EPA to ban Roundup, and is working with local communities across the country to limit the use of Roundup.

“It’s more important than ever to stand up for independent science,” said Cook-Schultz.

For more, read the New York Times article Monsanto Weed Killer Roundup Faces New Doubts on Safety in Unsealed Documents.

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The EPA’s Ties to Monsanto Could Be Disastrous

WHO-says-Roundup-probably-causes-cancerBy Thom Hartmann. This article is reprinted from the Summer 2016 issue of The Trial Lawyer magazine.

Conservative politicians love to talk about how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only issues “job-killing regulations,” especially if they’re taking campaign contributions from fossil fuel billionaires like the Koch brothers or from agrochemical giants like Monsanto.

Republican Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee Lamar Smith, for example, has spent years trying to stop the EPA from conducting any real research about climate change or passing any real regulations in general. But apparently it’s true that every once in a while, even a blind mouse finds cheese; it seems like Lamar Smith might actually have a legitimate complaint about an EPA report.

In May 2016, Smith wrote a letter to the EPA, demanding to know why a risk report marked “Final Report” about glyphosate was retracted just three days after it was published.

Glyphosate is “probable carcinogen”

The EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee issued the “Final Report” on glyphosate on April 29, 2016, and 13 members of the review committee had signed their name to the report’s findings that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

The findings should raise eyebrows to begin with, because they directly contradict a report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which found last year that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen.” But what’s really caused a stir from environmentalists and conservatives alike, and why Lamar Smith has started overseeing the matter, is that the EPA pulled the report after just three days, and claimed that the report was published “inadvertently.”

Smith wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on May 4, 2016, that “the subsequent backtracking on [this report’s] finality raises questions about the agency’s motivation in providing a fair assessment of glyphosate.” But Lamar Smith was a few days late to the party condemning the EPA’s research, because the Center for Biological Diversity had already issued a press release condemning the EPA finding as “disappointing, but not terribly surprising [because] industry has been manipulating this research for years.”

This shouldn’t come as any surprise though, because using industry research is part of the EPA’s scheme of “cooperative regulation” — something that’s been in place ever since President Ronald Reagan appointed Anne Gorsuch to head the EPA in the early 1980s.

During her tenure as head of the EPA, Gorsuch cut the EPA’s budget by 22 percent; she handed many of the duties of the EPA down to states and contractors; and she made a cascade of appointments at lower levels in the agency that led to a fundamental shift in how the EPA regulated industry.

“Cooperative regulation”

You see, in the world of Reaganism, regulators shouldn’t challenge industry. Instead, under “cooperative regulation,” regulators are supposed to work together with industry to establish regulations that protect public safety without hurting corporate profits.

“Cooperative regulation” is why regulators in the United States need to prove that a product is unsafe before a corporation will pull that product from store shelves, because corporate profits are at least as valuable as public safety.

It’s why over 750 products containing glyphosate are still for sale in the United States nearly a year after the World Health Organization found that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic.”

“Cooperative regulation” is also why our regulatory agencies take research from privately funded think-tanks and from industry lobbying groups.

And that’s exactly what seems to be at the core of what’s going on with this retracted glyphosate report.

Dozens of papers cited in the retracted EPA report on glyphosate are “unpublished regulatory studies,” meaning that they weren’t peer-reviewed and it’s unclear how the data was collected or tested. As Nathan Donley with the Center for Biological Diversity wrote in a press release, “The EPA’s analysis relied heavily on industry-funded studies that have not undergone public scrutiny, while the WHO used publicly available research for its analysis.”

And this is a huge problem, because the EPA was established by the Nixon administration “because arresting environmental deterioration is of great importance to the quality of life in our country and the world.”

When Nixon authorized the creation of the EPA, there was bipartisan consensus that this country needs a single, streamlined regulatory agency dedicated to protecting our air and water. Now, we’re approaching a bipartisan consensus that the EPA is broken. And the fact is, it’s been broken for more than 30 years, ever since the Reagan administration turned it into a partner of industry, rather than a regulator.

It’s time to get federal regulators out of bed from the industries that they’re supposed to be overseeing.

It’s time for the EPA and other regulatory agencies to adopt the precautionary principle that says that techniques like fracking and products like glyphosate have to be proven safe before consumers are exposed to them.

We need to strengthen the EPA and other regulatory agencies so that they can conduct independent research about environmental threats and public health concerns, and so that they don’t need to solicit biased, industry-funded research from multinational corporations.

And it’s time to end the revolving door between the private sector and government agencies like the EPA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission, because the American people deserve government regulators that put public safety ahead of corporate profits.

This article was first published on Truthout.

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Monsanto’s Deadly Harvest

Monsanto cover - Trial LawyerBy KJ MAcElrath. This article is reprinted from the Summer 2016 issue of The Trial Lawyer magazine.

In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, published a report on glyphosate — the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship herbicide product, Roundup — classifying the substance as “probably carcinogenic.” The IARC also found “strong” evidence for genotoxicity (meaning that the substance can cause cellular damage and mutations at the DNA level, which can lead to the formation of cancerous tumors).

These conclusions were supported by 1000 studies. Then, in May 2016, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the WHO released their own report. Suddenly, it was determined that glysophate was “unlikely to be genotoxic at anticipated dietary exposures.” Why this sudden switch? And more importantly, what did the executives at Monsanto have to do with it?

Two things are becoming patently clear: (1) scientific evidence increasingly shows a direct connection between glyphosate and a range of health issues — particularly the form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and (2) executives at Monsanto have been aware of this connection for at least thirty years.

A BRIEF HISTORY

Glysophate was first discovered in 1950 by a chemist working at a Swiss pharmaceutical firm. However, the new substance had no practical pharmacological use. It was two decades later that a chemist at Monsanto, Dr. John Franz, discovered its potential as an herbicide. The company developed and patented its own version of glyphosate under the brand name Roundup®, and the new herbicide went on the market in 1974. Initially, it was primarily used on non-food agricultural products, such as rubber plants and cotton. However, before long, it was approved as a “broad- spectrum” herbicide. Today, it is the most widely-used method for controlling pestilential weeds among the world’s farmers as well as gardeners.

Chemically, glyphosate is classified as an “organophosphorous compound,” which simply means it is a carbon-based compound containing phosphorus. Such compounds have long been used as insecticides, and have been employed in chemical weapons, such as nerve gas. It can be fatal to humans even at small doses. According to Lewis’ Dictionary of Toxicology, such compounds are among the deadliest poisons ever developed.

Roundup is absorbed by plants primarily through the leaves, though small amounts can be absorbed by the root system. Once in the plant’s system, it works by inhibiting the production of an enzyme that is key to the synthesis of important amino acids. Of course, what kills noxious weeds is none too good for food crops. In response, Monsanto has developed a number of genetically- modified crops, designed to tolerate glysophate — known as “Roundup Ready.”

Today, Monsanto and its sycophants in government and industry continue to insist that glyphosate is virtually harmless to humans, as well as a cost-effective and efficient method of weed control. According to a paper published in the February 2016 issue of Environmental Sciences Europe, nearly 19 billion tons of glysophate has been used on the the world’s crops.

More significantly, even though Monsanto’s patent on glysophate expired in 2000, sales of Roundup® still generate approximately $5 billion in revenue for the company. That fact alone speaks volumes.

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE?

Not surprisingly, Monsanto dismisses the IARC’s report as “erroneous.” A statement on the company’s website says:

“Glyphosate has a long history of safe use. In evaluations spanning four decades, the overwhelming conclusion of experts worldwide has been that glyphosate, when used according to label directions, does not present an unreasonable risk of adverse effects to humans, wildlife or the environment.”

That statement goes on to attack the IARC report. Monsanto even hired a consulting firm (Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy) to “review” the agency’s conclusions and the methods employed in reaching
them.

Admittedly, the IARC’s findings are based primarily on laboratory tests more than they are real-world situations. Additionally, the IARC includes many common substances in its “2A” classification of potential carcinogens, including nitrates (used to cure bacon), hot oil used for frying and wood smoke. But that agency was not the first to draw such conclusions about glysophate. In fact, many in the scientific community have been sounding the alarms for years.

Why have regulators been deaf to these alarms? Part of the reason is that the health effects of glyphosate do not affect everyone, nor are they immediately apparent. Like asbestos and other industrial toxins, damage occurs at the cellular level. It can be years, even decades before a victim begins to show symptoms. A peer-reviewed report, published in the journal Entropy in April 2013, found that residues of glyphosate remaining in produce long after harvest and packing adds to the toxic effects of other toxic substances in the environment. In the study, the authors wrote: “Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.” The study found that glyphosate
residues in common foods such as wheat, soy, maize and sugar act to inhibit the action of an particular protein molecule (CYP 450) that plays a role in protecting the body from toxic substances. The authors state:

“Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.”

A year later, another paper was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. This paper was a meta-analysis of nearly three decades of epidemiological research on the connection between the “striking increase” of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) among agricultural workers and exposure to 80 different chemicals used in pesticides and herbicides — including glysophate. Specifically, the meta-analysis found solid evidence of an association between glyposphate and a specific type of NHL, known as B-cell lymphoma, a form of cancer that attacks immune cells.

Meanwhile, researchers in other countries were coming to similar conclusions. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research discovered that even at low concentrations, exposure to glyphosate had the potential to cause cancer in human skin cells. The report was published in the July 2013 issue of ISRN Dermatology.

These were only three of dozens of research studies, and they were not among the earliest. In November 2003, French researchers found that glysophate was a cause of “cell-cycle dysregulation,” a precursor to the development of cancer. That report appeared in Biology of the Cell six months later.

In May 2002, the journal Leukemia and Lymphoma published an analysis of two Swedish studies, demonstrating an elevated risk between NHL and pesticides. A decade prior to that, another paper, published in Cancer Research, noted a 50% increase in NHL over the previous 15 years. Researchers discovered that exposure to organophosphates (of which glyphosate is a compound) was a contributing factor to the dramatic rise in cases of NHL.

The case against glysophate has been building for years — yet government regulatory agencies have continued to defend it. That is the other part of the equation: corporate power, itself grown into a malignant tumor on the body politic.

MONSANTO STRIKES BACK

Not content to simply attack the IARC report, Monsanto was quick to hire its own “biostitutes” to carry out their own research in order to refute evidence of their flagship product’s carcinogenicity. Monsanto continues to insist that “The overwhelming consensus by regulatory bodies and science organizations around the world, like the U.S. EPA, which have found no evidence of carcinogenicity. Further, the 2A classification does not establish a link between glyphosate and an increase in cancer.”

Note that the only regulatory body or science organization mentioned in the above statement is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. What corporate “person” Monsanto doesn’t mention is that most of the studies” showing little or no evidence of glysophate’s toxicicity were funded by the herbicide industry itself — and it was these studies that the EPA used in its own evaluation of Roundup®.

Should it come as any surprise that the EPA found “no convincing evidence” of connections between the use of glysophate and human health hazards? The agency posted its own report earlier this year, concluding that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” Yet, on May 2nd, the EPA removed the report from its website, stating that it had been published “inadvertently,” and its review of the product had yet to be completed. In response, Monsanto emailed its own statement to Reuters, declaring that the EPA report had been “clearly labeled and signed as the final report of EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee.”

Monsanto is continuing to strike back at glyphosate’s critics. Presently, the company is pressuring the IARC to remove glysphosate from its 2A classification. Earlier this year, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against the State of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) in order to stop the agency from listing glysophate as a known carcinogen.

Monsanto also has its allies in the mainstream corporate media, which receives millions of advertising dollars every year from the agribusiness juggernaut. True to the prostituted institution it has become, the corporate media has taken a recent WHO document, cherry-picked the document and put its own spin on it. The report actually says, “Overall, there is some evidence of a positive association between glyphosate exposure and risk of NHL from the case — control studies and the overall meta-analysis.” Then, it goes on to say that “…glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic at anticipated dietary exposures … the Meeting concluded that glyphosate is not carcinogenic in rats but could not exclude the possibility that it is carcinogenic in mice at very high doses.”

Note that it doesn’t say glysophate isn’t carcinogenic. And yet, that is exactly what mainstream corporate media outlets are trumpeting to the heavens. And of course, the WHO panel conducted no independent research of its own, but relied on research provided to them.

Would the reader care to take a guess at who bought and paid for that “research?”

Monsanto has other friends in high places. This month, the European Union’s parliament passed a “non- binding resolution” that could give glysophate-containing herbicides market approval for another seven years. It is not as much as Monsanto was hoping for, but company representatives are confident that the government body will vote to extend its license — despite the fact that more than two-thirds of Europeans want the substance banned. And even though the resolution passed by a sizable majority, the EU Parliament still notes “concerns about the carcinogenicity and endocrine disruptive properties of the herbicide glyphosate.”

Monsanto isn’t terribly worried. In the wake of that resolution, a company spokesperson said, “Due to positive safety assessments … an extension for another fifteen years should technically not pose any problems.” Of course, those “safety assessments” were bought and paid for by Monsanto and the herbicide industry.

It is also worth noting that Monsanto has been able to hide the toxicity of its product from regulators’ scrutiny by using different formulas. Regulations require herbicide manufacturers to disclose the chemical structures of “active ingredients,” but other chemical additives can be declared “proprietary” — and therefore, remain confidential. It is entirely possible that other ingredients in Roundup® and similar herbicides interact with glysophate, exacerbating its effects. They may even have harmful effects of their own. Unfortunately, this is an area that scientists are only now beginning to investigate, and the
process is slow and cumbersome.

“THE TRUTH WILL OUT”

Despite its immense power, corporate “person” Monsanto’s day of reckoning may not be far off. On May 20th, the European Commission, bowing to pressure from member states and environmental activists, delayed a decision that would have extended approval for glysophate for nine more years. Here in the US, three farmers in Nebraska, along with an agronomist, have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, alleging their cancer was the result of exposure to Roundup®. According to the complaint, “Monsanto championed falsified data and has
attacked legitimate studies that revealed Roundup’s dangers. Monsanto led a campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup is safe. Its continuing denial
extends to the date of this Complaint.”

Two additional lawsuits on behalf of a farm worker and a landscape designer suffering from cancer have been filed in California. Meanwhile, environmental activists in Scotland are engaging in a “brandalism” campaign, relabeling bottles of Roundup® on store shelves with look-alike labels containing information about the health
dangers of the product.

As people’s voices become louder and more scientific evidence comes to light in the coming months, it’s a sure bet that (to quote the Bard of Avon) “at length, the truth will out” — and Monsanto will be held accountable for poisoning millions and destroying countless lives in the name of profit.

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Court: California Can Label Roundup as Cancer Threat

WHO-says-Roundup-probably-causes-cancerFresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan ruled that California can require Monsanto to label its herbicide Roundup as a possible cancer threat.

California would be the first state to order such labeling for the weed-killer, which is used by farmers and home gardeners worldwide.

Separately, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria is supervising Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741 in San Francisco. Since the MDL was created in October, it has attracted 46 lawsuits, Case No. Case 3:16-md-02741-VC.

Herbicide found in popular foods

Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, has no color or smell. Recently, the independent food safety testing done by Food Democracy found extremely high levels of the herbicide glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — in America’s most popular food products.

Monsanto introduced the chemical in 1974 as an effective way of killing weeds while leaving crops and plants intact. It’s sold in more than 160 countries, and farmers in California use it on 250 types of crops.

  • The chemical is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which says it has ‘low toxicity’ and recommends people avoid entering a field for 12 hours after it has been applied.
  • But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a Lyon, France-based branch of the U.N. World Health Organization, classified the chemical as a ‘probable human carcinogen.’

Shortly afterward, California took its first step in 2015 to require the warning labels.

Attorneys for California consider the International Agency for Research on Cancer the ‘gold standard’ for identifying carcinogens, and they rely on its findings along with several states, the federal government and other countries, court papers say.

 

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Monsanto RoundUp Herbicide Found in Cheerios, Ritz Crackers and Doritos

roundup-cancerIndependent food safety testing done by Food Democracy found extremely high levels of the herbicide glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — in America’s most popular food products.

Roundup is the most heavily used chemical weedkiller in food and agricultural production in human history, as a result of the widespread adoption of genetically engineered crops now grown on more than 175 million acres in the U.S. and more than 440 million acres around the globe.

Roundup is used on crops, lawns, home gardens, parks, roadsides and forests. So far 38 actions have been filed against Monsanto in Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, Case 3:16-md-02741-VC.

These lawsuits allege that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, particularly its active ingredient, glyphosate, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). Plaintiffs each allege that they or their decedents developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup over the course of several or more years.

Plaintiffs also allege that the use of glyphosate with other ingredients, in particular the surfactant polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), renders Roundup even more toxic than glyphosate on its own. Also read Court Appoints Leadership In Roundup Cancer MDL.

Harm to human health

New scientific evidence shows that probable harm to human health could begin at ultra-low levels of glyphosate e.g. 0.1 parts per billions (ppb). Popular foods tested for glyphosate measured between 289.47 ppb and at levels as high as 1,125.3 ppb.

The testing and analysis were performed by Anresco Laboratories, San Francisco, an FDA-registered laboratory that has performed expert food safety testing since 1943. The laboratory found that well-known products tested for glyphosate, Original Cheerios, for example, measured levels as high as 1,125.3 ppb. Other high levels of glyphosate were found in familiar products such as Oreos, Doritos, and Ritz Crackers, among 29 foods tested.

Currently, U.S. regulators allow a very high level of daily glyphosate residue in America’s food. The acceptable daily intake (ADI) limit is set at 1.75 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day (written 1.75 mg/kg bw/day) in the U.S., versus a more cautious 0.3 mg/kg bw/day in the European Union. Tolerances have been set based on corporate-sponsored studies and industry influence on the regulatory process.

New research shows that Roundup causes liver and kidney damage in rats as reflected in changes in the functions of 4,000 genes at only 0.05 parts per billion (ppb) glyphosate equivalent indicating damage. Credible independent, peer-reviewed scientific evidence now shows that the levels of harm to human health could begin at the ultra-low levels of 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) of glyphosate.

“It’s important for individuals and parents to understand that glyphosate contamination cannot be removed by washing and is not broken down by cooking or baking. Glyphosate residues can remain stable in food for a year or more, even if the foods are frozen or processed,” the report says.

Lobbying Backlash from Monsanto

In March 2015, leading cancer experts from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” IARC reached its decision based on the research of 17 top cancer experts from 11 countries, who met to assess the carcinogenicity of 5 pesticides. The IARC review of glyphosate has led to the European Parliament calling for a complete ban on non-commercial public use of glyphosate and serious restrictions on agricultural use.

Monsanto’s furious response includes:

  • Working with CropLife America to drive efforts to cut off U.S. funding for the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
  • The EPA had planned to hold four days of public meetings – over industry objections– to examine scientific research on glyphosate. But the industry, which deemed the meetings “unnecessary” and “inappropriate,” successfully derailed those Oct. 18-21 public meetings by challenging certain scientists appointed by EPA to an advisory panel.

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New MDLs Consolidate Cases for Abilify, Roundup, Talc and Taxotere

Consolidating thousands of lawsuits involving Abilify schizophrenia drug, Roundup herbicide, Talc powder and Taxotere cancer drug, US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) in Washington, DC, created new multidistrict litigation (MDL) dockets for the mass tort cases.

This is good news for plaintiffs. In due course the assigned courts will create short-form complaints and plaintiff fact sheets, facilitating the filing of new actions. Each litigation will be led by a plaintiff’s steering committee appointed by the judge, who will set a discovery schedule and select representative cases for bellwether trials.

abilifyAbilify (Aripiprazole)

Responding to a motion from all the parties, the JPML created new MDL 2734, In re: Abilify Products Liability Litigation, supervised by US District Judge M. Casey Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida. The ruling consolidates 22 actions filed in 12 district courts against Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.

Plaintiffs allege that Abilify, an atypical anti-psychotic medication commonly prescribed to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and Tourette syndrome, can cause compulsive gambling behaviors. All the actions involve factual questions relating to whether Abilify was defectively designed or manufactured, whether defendants knew or should have known of the alleged propensity of Abilify to cause compulsive gambling behaviors in users, and whether defendants provided adequate instructions and warnings with this product.

For more information read FDA Links Abilify to Compulsive Gambling, Eating, Shopping and Sex

WHO-says-Roundup-probably-causes-cancerRoundup (Glyphosate)

Granting the plaintiffs’ motion, the JPML created the new MDL No. 2741, In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, supervised by Judge US District Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California. Monsanto opposed consolidation. There are 21 actions pending in 14 districts. Including the potential tag-along actions, there are now 37 actions pending in twenty-one districts. More than ten different law firms represent plaintiffs in these actions, which are spread across the country.

These actions share common factual questions arising out of allegations that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, particularly its active ingredient, glyphosate, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Plaintiffs each allege that they or their decedents developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup over the course of several or more years. Plaintiffs also allege that the use of glyphosate in conjunction with other ingredients, in particular the surfactant polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), renders Roundup even more toxic than glyphosate on its own.

For more information read New Illinois Lawsuit Charges Monsanto’s Roundup Causes Cancer

talc johnson & johnsonTalcum Powder

The JPML created the new MDL 2738, In Re: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, supervised by US District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in the District of New Jersey. There are 10 actions in 8 districts.

The plaintiffs allege that they or their decedents developed ovarian or uterine cancer following perineal application of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products (namely, Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder). Two of the actions are consumer class actions brought on behalf of putative classes of women who allege that defendants deceptively marketed the talcum powder products for feminine hygienic use without disclosing talc’s carcinogenic properties. All the actions involve factual questions relating to the risk of cancer posed by talc and talc-based body powders, whether the defendants knew or should have known of this alleged risk, and whether defendants provided adequate instructions and warnings with respect to the products.

For more information read Behind the $55 Million Talc Verdict: J&J Knew About Cancer Risks Since the 1970s

taxotere hair lossTaxotere (Docetaxel)

The JPML created new MDL No. 2740, In Re: Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation, supervised by Chief US District Judge Chief Judge Kurt Engelhardt in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The litigation consists of 33 actions pending in 16 districts. The panel also has been notified of 56 related actions pending in 25 districts.

Plaintiffs in these actions each allege that they experienced permanent hair loss as a result of using Taxotere. All actions will require discovery regarding the design, testing, manufacturing, marketing, and labeling of Taxotere. The defendant is Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC.

All the actions share common factual questions arising out of allegations that Taxotere (docetaxel), a chemotherapy drug, causes permanent hair loss, that defendants were aware of this possible side effect and failed to warn patients, and that defendants marketed Taxotere as more effective than other chemotherapy drugs when other drugs were equally effective without the associated permanent hair loss.

For further information read FDA Releases New Patient Info for Taxotere (Docetaxel) Cancer Drug

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New Roundup Plaintiff Charges Monsanto with Fraud Concerning Cancer Danger

WHO-says-Roundup-probably-causes-cancerAn Illinois plaintiff who contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) after using the herbicide Roundup, charges in a new lawsuit filed in federal court that Monsanto knew of the cancer risks since the 1980s, but covered it up.

John Cushman of Effingham County, IL, sprayed Roundup on a regular basis for decades. He filed suit in US District Count for the Southern District of Illinois, alleging that the maker, Monsanto Company of St. Louis, MO, pressured the EPA not to label the herbicide as carcinogenic, and aggressively marketed it as “safer than table salt.” Cushman v. Monsanto, Case No. 16 cv 1042.

He is represented by Robert J. McLaughlin, John Backes Prior and Kyle Pozan of Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge, LLC in Chicago.

Monsanto was forced to drop claims that Roundup was non-toxic and safe in 1996 after the New York Attorney General filed suit, charging that the claims were deceptive and misleading. Monsanto did not change its claims in any other state.

In 1985 the EPA classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a possible human carcinogen. Succumbing to pressure from Monsanto, in 1991 the EPA changed glyphosate’s classification to a “Group E” — noncarcinogenic for humans. The decision came after two occasions when the EPA found that laboratories hired by Monsanto to test the toxicity of its Roundup products committed scientific fraud.

The EPA had planned to release a new risk assessment by July 2015, but it has delayed releasing it in light of the World Health Organization’s 2015 finding that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen.”

Fraudulent concealment

The complaint argues that because of Monsanto’s fraudulent concealment, the statute of limitations on the claim should be tolled.

“Even as of July 2016, Defendant continues to represent to the public that “Regulatory authorities and independent experts around the world have reviewed numerous long-term/carcinogenicity and genotoxicity studies and agree that there is no evidence that  glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand herbicides and other glyphosate-based herbicides, causes cancer, even at very high doses, and that it is not genotoxic,” the complaint states (emphasis added).

Plaintiffs in 14 different federal courts are seeking to create the new MDL No. 2741 to hear all the Roundup litigation. The Roundup motion to consolidate (PDF) seeks to organize the litigation in the Southern District of Illinois before Judge Nancy Rosenstengel or David Herndon. A similar motion is pending to consolidate the cases in the US District Court of Hawaii. The first action was filed on October 9, 2015.

Roundup has been on the market for 40 years.

  • It is the most widely-used agriculture chemical in history.
  • Each year, approximately 250 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on crops, commercial nurseries, suburban lawns, parks, and golf courses.
  • In 2010, an estimated 70% of corn and cotton and 90% of soybean fields in the United States contained Roundup Ready seeds. The company accounts for 27% of the world seed market.

For further reading, see Plaintiffs Seek to Consolidate Lawsuits Charging that Roundup Causes Cancer

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Plaintiffs Seek to Consolidate Lawsuits Charging that Roundup Causes Cancer

WHO-says-Roundup-probably-causes-cancerPlaintiffs in 14 different federal courts are seeking to create the new MDL No. 2741 in southern Illinois to hear their lawsuits that Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma — cancer of the lymph nodes.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized intergovernmental cancer agency of the World Health Organization, declared in March 2015 that glyphosate, the chemical in Roundup, is a “probable carcinogen.”

“Any firm would be wise to get younger lawyers involved because this will be a long, hard fight,” said John Ray, a mass tort expert speaking in a recent webinar. Click to see the Slides & Recording for NTL Webinar: Mass Torts Update for Plaintiff Attorneys.

Learn more about the Roundup litigation at the Sept. 23-26 Mass Tort Nexus Course.

Timothy Litzenburg of the Miller Law Firm, which is involved with the motion to consolidate, will speak about the litigation.

To attend, contact Barbara Capasso at barbara@masstortnexus.com or call (954) 383-3932.

“This chemical interferes with the metabolic process, as a method for killing plants. There is no reason to believe it wouldn’t have the same effect on people,” Ray said. “The question is how much exposure is necessary to cause problems. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the tip of the iceberg. This chemical could affect the future of our species. It will be decades before we know everything that it did.”

The Roundup motion to consolidate (PDF) seeks to organize the litigation in the Southern District of Illinois before Judge Nancy Rosenstengel or David Herndon. A similar motion is pending to consolidate the cases in the US District Court of Hawaii. The first action was filed on October 9, 2015.

Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto of St. Louis, has been on the market for 40 years.

  • It is the most widely-used agriculture chemical in history.
  • Each year, approximately 250 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on crops, commercial nurseries, suburban lawns, parks, and golf courses.
  • In 2010, an estimated 70% of corn and cotton and 90% of soybean fields in the United States contained Roundup Ready seeds. The company accounts for 27% of the world seed market.

Roundup is used in 130 countries and is found in rivers and groundwater, according to numerous studies. Plants absorb glyphosate and it cannot be removed by washing or peeling produce or by milling, baking or brewing grains. It has been found in food, in the urine of agricultural works and even in the urine of urban dwellers who are not in direct contact with glyphosate. Those most at risk are farm workers, landscapers and employees of garden centers and nurseries.

Campaign of misinformation

“Monsanto has championed falsified data and has attacked legitimate studies that revealed Roundup®’s dangers. Monsanto has led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup® is safe,” states the complaint in John D. Sanders and Frank Tanner v. Monsanto Company, Case No. 5:16-cv-00726-pa-kk.

Monsanto was aware of glyphosate’s carcinogenic properties as early as the 1980s. The US EPA classified glyphosate as “possibly carcinogenic” in 1985. But after pressure from Monsanto, the EPA changed its classification to “evidence of non-carcinogenicity in humans” in 1991. However, the EPA made clear that the designation did not mean the chemical does not cause cancer.

On two occasions, the EPA found that the laboratories hired by Monsanto to test the toxicity of its Roundup® products for registration purposes committed fraud:

  • Monsanto, in seeking initial registration of Roundup by the EPA, hired Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories. In 1976 the EPA found “routine falsification of data” at the company.  Three top executives of IBT were convicted of fraud in 1983.
  • Monsanto hired Craven Laboratories in 1991 to perform studies about Roundup. In that same year, the owner of Craven Laboratories and three of its employees were convicted of fraudulent laboratory practices in the testing of pesticides and herbicides.

rats with tumors

Professor Giles-Eric Seralini and his research team at the University of Caan in France provided pictures of rats fed Monsanto GMO corn saturated with Roundup weed killer. Their study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) discovered that rats fed GMOs developed tumors and died prematurely.

This began a highly-organzied media attack against Seralini by pro-GMO scientists and journalists. When former Monsanto scientist Richard E. Goodman was installed in a newly-created editorial position at FCT, Seralini’s paper was removed from the journal in 2013, a full year after it was initially peer reviewed and published.

Seralini’s study was re-published in 2014 by Environmental Sciences Europe. He also won a libel suit in France against the  former chairman of France’s Biomolecular Engineering Commission, who accused Seralini of “scientific fraud.”

Government crackdowns

Many government agencies have cracked down on Monsanto regarding Roundup.

In 1996 the New York Attorney General sued Monsanto for false advertising over claims that is was “safer than table salt” and “practically non-toxic.” That year Monsanto agreed to cease advertising that Roundup was safe, biodegradable, “good” for the environment, safer that common consumer products or “practically non-toxic.”

In 2009, France’s highest court ruled that Monsanto had not told the truth about the safety of Roundup. The French court affirmed an earlier judgment that Monsanto had falsely advertised its herbicide Roundup as “biodegradable” and that it “left the soil clean.”

Roundup has been banned for sale in the Netherlands, France, Bermuda and Sri Lanka.

 

 

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