Not long ago, school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson became involved in the very first lawsuit to go to trial alleging glyphosate causes cancer. The case made global headlines when the jury at San Francisco’s Superior Court of California deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers. We’ve seen the same issue with similar substances like DDT, which was sprayed for years before it was finally banned decades ago. The unfortunate thing is that DDT is still highly present in the environment and in our soil, and is a catalyst for many diseases. Are we seeing the same thing with Glyphosate?
The court ended up awarding $39 million in compensation and $250 million in punitive damages. It’s also vital to mention that Monsanto, now a unit of Bayer AG following a $62.5 billion acquisition by the German conglomerate, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.
Grounds For Reversal?
Now, just two months after jurors made the decision in favor of Johnson, who is dying of cancer, the judge suddenly has an issue with the amount and might overrule the decision. Again, Johnson is one of the thousands of cancer patients that are taking Monsanto to trial. The judge is apparently calling for a new trial, and she has now granted Monsanto a request for a JNOW on a tentative basis. A JNOW is a judgement notwithstanding the verdict. This is basically when a judge in a civil case overrules the jury’s decision.
This is extremely confusing, isn’t it? What prompted the judge to do this, and did Monsanto have anything to do with it? And even if the judge denies Monsanto’s request to drop the $250 million fine, the Court would grant a new trial on the grounds of ‘insufficiency of evidence’ to justify the award for punitive damages–this after the evidence was found to be quite sufficient at the time.
Even the jurors are speaking out, according to CTV news:
Jurors who found that agribusiness giant Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer contributed to a school groundskeeper’s cancer are urging a San Francisco judge not to throw out the bulk of their $289 million award in his favour, a newspaper reported Monday.
Shares in Bayer, which bought Monsanto as mentioned earlier, dropped immediately after the original decision and hasn’t risen since. It’s still trading at approximately 30 percent below its pre-verdict value. The statement given by Bayer after the initial decision does its best to restore confidence in their product:
The jury’s decision is wholly at odds with over 40 years of real-world use, an extensive body of scientific data and analysis…which support the conclusion that glyphosate-based herbicides are safe for use and do not cause cancer in humans. (source)
This statement strongly goes against the statements made by thousands of scientists across the world.
“It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides… Despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.” – R. Mesnage et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014) article ID 179691
Keep in mind that the use of glyphosate rose 1500% from 1995 to 2005, and that 100 million pounds of glyphosate is used every year on more than a billion acres. (Cherry, B., “GM crops increase herbicide use in the United States,” Science in Society 45, 44-46, 2010) (source)
Years Of Activism
The alarming thing is that for decades, scientists, activist groups and environmental/health awareness groups have been creating awareness and presenting the science explaining how and why Monsanto’s glyphosate (the main ingredient in their Roundup herbicide) causes cancer, among other diseases. Despite the fact that this has been happening for years, the political stranglehold these corporations have on governmental regulatory agencies has prevented this information from being taken seriously.
If the truth was widely known it would result in an unfathomable drop in profit for Monsanto’s products which contain glyphosate, but mostly in North America. Many countries have completely banned the ingredient and other Monsanto products, due to clear links to diseases like cancer and kidney disease, for example. In fact, most of the products manufactured by Monsanto and other giant North American biotech companies are completely banned and illegal in many other countries.
It makes you wonder how such a substance can go through the review process, whatever it is, and still be approved for use. Monsanto has been sued many times; in fact one lawsuit unearthed documents showing how Monsanto misled regulators and scientists to speed up approval for the development of genetically modified foods. You can read more about that here. So, the science itself becomes subject to fraud when power and money are applied. Roundup herbicide is over one hundred times more toxic than regulators claim. And a new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International showed how Roundup herbicide is 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation. You can read more about that here.
We are talking about clear hormone disrupters and clear catalysts for cancer. Decades of science and scientific fraud that’s been exposed has forced the World Health Organisation, a major hub of the establishment that seems to regulate the shady industry of health, to finally admit that glyphosate, like cigarettes, processed foods and meats, is carcinogenic.
This judge’s reversal will end up having enormous financial and reputational repercussions for the corporation, and it seems obvious that she has been influenced by power and money. The truth is, if you take the scientific evidence, as well as clear evidence of scientific fraud and corruption by these corporate and government agencies (who are constantly in collusion with one another), there is no jury on the planet that would not reach a guilty verdict. That’s because the evidence is quite clear, which is why if this decision was going to be reversed, it would have to be the Judge over-ruling the jury’s decision.
This verdict proves that when ordinary citizens, in this case a jury of 12, hear the facts about Monsanto’s products, and the lengths to which this company has gone to buy off scientists, deceive the public and influence government regulatory agencies, there is no confusion.” – Ronnie Cummins, International Director of the organic consumers association
At the end of the day, we are the ones using these products and we are the ones voting with our dollar. That being said, it completely goes against our free will and interests for products to be approved that are obviously completely unsafe. It’s unfortunate that those who choose not to use these products or be near them, still end up with it in our system. The fact that Monsanto can still somehow fight this and provide evidence means our work is not yet done.
The work of many brave activists has brought awareness to the severe health risks of glyphosate and Roundup, but to honor all their efforts we must continue to spread awareness about these corporate crimes until the time comes when these chemicals have been removed from all corners of the Earth.