[Ed. Note: This is another post in our continuing coverage of this month’s $289 million jury verdict against Monsanto, maker of Round Up and Ranger Pro herbicides. We urge everyone to read our cornerstone post with specific information for Round Up cancer victims and Monsanto whistleblowers.]
Companies that manufacture herbicides spend millions of dollars in testing. Much of the testing, of course, is to make sure the product works. Farmers, landscapers and home owners don’t want a weed killer that doesn’t kill weeds. There is much more testing, however, that goes on beyond the scenes to make sure that herbicides are safe for livestock, pets and humans.
Common sense tells us to be careful when spraying herbicides and pesticides. Often the directions tell us to wear protective eye wear or gloves or to avoid allowing pets and kids play on treated lawns for several hours until the product is dry.
Monsanto, maker of the number one selling herbicides in the world – Ranger Pro and Roundup – claim that their products are as safe as table salt. DeWayne Johnson, now in the final end-of-life stages of cancer was told it was safe enough to drink.
So how safe is RoundUp? How much testing did Monsanto do? And did they cover up bad test results?
We already know that many European and South American countries ban or severely restrict the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and Ranger Pro. We also that a California jury found that not only were these products responsible for DeWayne’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, they also found that Monsanto knew of or suspected the dangers. [See the link above for full details of DeWayne’s historic win.]
But what about the testing and did Monsanto actually know?
Willful Blindness and Monsanto
Did someone at Monsanto actually know just how bad glyphosate is? How dangerous it is? We may never know. Let me explain.
First, for the record, Monsanto continues to claim that Roundup is safe. They have vowed to appeal the jury verdict in California. For DeWayne, that means he will likely be dead and penniless before the appeals are complete. Hopefully his appeal will pave the way for other victims to be fairly compensated and will push the EPA to step in and act.
How many people must die before the agency acts?
The World Health Organization has already determined that glyphosate is dangerous and a probable carcinogen. Experts have linked it to leukemia, myeloma and lymphoma, all deadly cancers. A jury heard experts on both sides and found a link between Ranger Pro and cancer.
Even after Monsanto lost, after the lights in the court house were turned off and after the camera crews packed up their gear, Monsanto continues to stomp its feet like a little child and say, “not me, not me!”
The solution is easy, more testing. And to be safe, take Round Up off the shelves until that testing is done. That doesn’t appear to be happening.
Why is Monsanto afraid of more testing? That is where the concept of willful blindness comes in.
Think back to your early childhood. What did you do when you didn’t want to hear something, something like, “clean up your room”? Many of us tried sticking our fingers in our ears and shouting “La, La, La, La” as loud as we could.
We tried that a couple times until we realized it just didn’t work. That is “willful blindness.” In the corporate world, that means making sure you don’t see test results that might be negative. Because once you see them, it is much harder to deny.
But how can Monsanto deny experts – doctors and scientists – testifying that glyphosate causes cancer?
Some of the best investigative journalists work at Rolling Stone (yes, it’s true!). Rolling Stone’s Tessa Stuart covered the DeWayne Johnson’s trial against Monsanto. She picked up on some of the important findings missed by other coverage.
As early as 1983 the company should have known that glyphosate was dangerous. That is our opinion, of course, but jurors also believed there is a link between Roundup and cancer.
A study that year commissioned by the company found a statistically significant link between lab mice exposed to glyphosate and cancer. The EPA was very concerned but Monsanto was dismissive saying that one of the mice not exposed to glyphosate also developed cancer.
Of course. You can take 1000 mice and not expose any of them to anything and a few will develop cancer. The determining factor isn’t whether a single mouse not exposed to RoundUp develops cancer. The proper way of examining the results is to see if far more mice exposed to glyphosate develop cancer when compared to those that were not exposed.
The EPA had an easy solution, just do the test again. That didn’t work for Monsanto. (Remember the little boy with his fingers in his ears shouting La, La, La, La.)
According to the Rolling Stone, Monsanto fought the EPA for years over a single mouse. We suspect they spent at least 100 times more on lawyers and consultants instead of just repeating the test.
Why wouldn’t they repeat the test? In our opinion? They didn’t want to hear the answer.
When the World Health Organization declared that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen, internal emails at Monsanto show a frenzy of activity. Evidence at trial suggested that EPA’s Office of Pesticide Program scientists were siding with Monsanto.
Dan Jenkins, Monsanto’s regulatory affairs director, wrote to the deputy director of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Program and alerted him that the CDC (part of the Department of Health and Human Services) was planning on doing their own study. An email suggests that the deputy director at EPA told Jenkins, “If I can kill this, I should get a medal.”
Apparently, the study by CDC was never performed.
Why? Again, we think it is obvious. Monsanto doesn’t want to know the truth.
Monsanto and Labs Accused of Scientific Fraud
Like all chemical companies selling products for use by the public, Monsanto did extensive testing on its products both to assure effectiveness and safety. Two of the laboratories that did safety testing for Monsanto, were accused by regulators of fraud.
A company called Industrial Bio – Test Laboratories (IBT) did toxicology testing for Monsanto. An audit by the FDA found discrepancies between raw test data and the toxicology reports generated by IBT. Some of those studies involved Monsanto’s roundup product. Those tests were determined to be invalid.
IBT’s work was so sloppy that one lab technician apparently forgot high school sex education 101. An EPA investigator said, “[it’s]hard to believe the integrity of the studies when they [IBT] said they took specimens of the uterus from male rabbits.
Several IBT executives were later convicted of fraud.
A second testing company, Craven Laboratories, was also implicated in fraudulent scientific studies. Craven did testing to measure the effects of residuals on crops after being treated with Monsanto products.
The fraud was so bad that the EPA and Justice Department criminally prosecuted the lab’s owner, Don Craven, and several employees. At least one executive was sentenced to prison.
The company claims that it had all of the studies done by IBT and Craven Laboratories redone and retested.
A new lawsuit has now been filed accusing Monsanto of “scientific fraud”. Linda Dennis and her husband filed suit against Monsanto after Linda was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Linda says she used Roundup around her home to get rid of unwanted weeds.
She claims her cancer is the result of exposure to Roundup. She also says that Monsanto used “scientific fraud” to achieve “absolute market dominance” in the herbicide arena. They did that by marketing a dangerous product as safe and selling it without proper warning labels.
We hope that as that case winds its way through the courts we can learn more about Monsanto’s relationship with its lab partners.
The Risk of Glyphosate and Roundup Affects Everyone
If scientists are correct and there is a link between Roundup and cancer, virtually everyone is at risk.
The bulk of the pending lawsuits concern victims who say they contracted cancer through the application of Roundup or Ranger Pro. (Both Monsanto products are based on glyphosate.) DeWayne Johnson worked for a school district and regularly used a commercial sprayer to treat school grounds. Linda Dennis says she used roundup around her home. Both claim they came in direct contact with glyphosate through their spraying efforts.
But what about the rest of us? Monsanto’s patent for glyphosate was getting ready to expire in 2000. That is when the company began offering genetically altered crop seeds. The new genetically altered seeds were designed to resist Roundup.
Glyphosate is an extremely effective herbicide. It kills everything in its path (we would say that includes humans as well.) Farmers can’t spray Roundup on their crops to kill weeds because that would also kill the crops.
Enter GMO seeds. Monsanto created designer crops that resisted the glyphosate in Roundup. A farmer can now spray glyphosate directly on crops. These genetically engineered crops allow the poison in Roundup to kill the weeds but save the crops. (A recent NPR program claims that vineyards are losing grape vines because of airborne overspray from nearby farms that use Roundup. Grape vines are apparently very susceptible to even minute amounts of glyphosate. Roundup can be carried far and wide by wind.)
The problem with spraying Roundup on crops is that the product remains on the crop after the neighboring weeds die. How much glyphosate do we consume when we eat GMO Roundup Ready seeds? And is that consumption safe?
That exposure has not been litigated yet. But those cases are coming.
The prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association published a study last year indicating a tremendous increase of the presence of glyphosates in the bodies of residents of Southern California. Between 1993 – 1996 and 2014 – 2016 the amount of detectable glyphosate in the human bodies of the survey participants increased 13 times. Far more people were also found to have glyphosate in their body.
What does that mean? California last year declared that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. People are now being exposed to more and more glyphosate. And that probably comes from dietary intake from GMO altered foods. Since farmers now spray Roundup on crops, it only follows that we will ingest these chemicals when we eat certain foods.
Call to Action – Cancer Victims Exposed to Roundup / Glyphosate
We think eventually Monsanto and its corporate parent Bayer AG will be forced to stop selling glyphosate based products such as RoundUp or Ranger Pro. Until that happens, the company is going to do everything in its power to place profits over people.
If scientists, the State of California and World Health Organization are correct, exposure to Roundup may cause certain cancers such as lymphoma, myeloma and leukemia. If you or a loved one suffers from any of these cancers and were exposed to Ranger Pro or Roundup, you may have a claim for damages.
Makers of dangerous or defective products are responsible for injuries caused by their products. Damages can include medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and sometimes, punitive damages.
Obviously, no amount of money can make up for the loss of one’s life. The only thing corporate America understands, however, is getting hit in the pocket. (Bayer CEO Werner Baumann reportedly earned $6.6 million last year. Reuters claims that Hugh Grant, former CEO of Monsanto, walked away with as much as $70 million from the sale to Bayer. He was earning $10 million per year prior to the sale.)
Why should executives make millions while families suffer from the ravages of cancer? Cancer linked to dangerous but profitable products.
If you are suffering leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma and were exposed to Roundup or Ranger Pro, contact us immediately. We and our partners handle glyphosate exposure cases on a contingent fee basis meaning there is no fee for our services unless we recover money for you. We urge you to visit our Round Up Claims Center information page and then call us. We can be reached online, by email or by phone 414-704-6731 (direct).
Do you did you WORK for MONSANTO or one of its TESTING LABORATORIES? We hope to speak to as many insiders as possible. We won’t use your name or disclose your identity without your permission. We are seeking Monsanto whistleblowers to help us better understand what the company knew about the dangers of glyphosate and when it learned that information. Beyond helping individual victims of Roundup exposure, we also want to insure the government takes appropriate action. See our Monsanto whistleblower information page and then call us at the numbers above.