I began Glyphosate Girl nearly three years ago, in June 2018. I walked into a relatively quiet courtroom with an iced tea and sat in near disbelief as Winning Wisner and Delightful Dickens laid out a case divulging Monsanto’s abhorrent corporate behavior. Three jury verdict victories later, momentum stoked the flames in the bellies of exhausted activists around the world, many of whom had been fighting against Monsanto and AgChem poisons for decades. It was finally a win in a battle that often feels lonesome and frankly impossible in which to succeed.
The amount of footing that these victories have provided the anti-pesticide, anti-GMO movement is unprecedented. Changes are happening. Documents have been revealed and corporate malfeasance exposed. More recently, Mexico has moved to ban glyphosate and GM Corn, and several European countries have agreed to phase out glyphosate use as well. That really gets the goat of both the US State Department and Bayer.
I’ve written before that I think the research needed to ban Roundup already exists in excess. Each month, I come across more research that should serve to drive another nail in the Roundup coffin. I also wonder how much more alarming a peer-reviewed study headline would need to be to finally do the trick. A reasonable person should find these studies terrifying:
- EXPOSURE TO GLYPHOSATE IS SIGNIFICANTLY ASSOCIATED WITH PRETERM BIRTHS
- GLYPHOSATE LOWERS TESTOSTERONE LEVELS
- GLYPHOSATE EXPOSURE ALTERS OVARIAN FUNCTION
- PRENATAL EXPOSURE TO GLYPHOSATE LEADS TO LONG-TERM MOTOR AND COGNITIVE DEFICITS
- EXPOSURE TO GLYPHOSATE-BASED HERBICIDES ASSOCIATED WITH ANDROGEN-LIKE EFFECTS
- ROUNDUP CAUSES LIVER DAMAGE
- GLYPHOSATE INDUCES HUMAN BREAST CANCER CELLS GROWTH
Today, in May 2021, why hasn’t anything changed in the United States? The flow of Roundup is still bountiful.
The Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit in 2020 seeking to reverse EPA glyphosate approval. In a response filed yesterday, the EPA admitted to errors in their January 2020 interim registration of glyphosate. The issues that the EPA seeks to continue to assess (with no deadline) involve the impact of glyphosate on monarch butterflies and other endangered species. They also want to better understand the economic impact of Roundup drift on farmers.
However, there is no intention to re-open the study of the impact of glyphosate on human health. Apparently, the EPA still considers us super-natural biological specimens that, unlike the animal specimens in numerous studies, are not impacted by glyphosate. It’s just everything else on the planet that is impacted – we’re just that special.
My microbiome, mitochondria, liver and hormones all disagree with the EPA, by the way.
Cancer Litigation Updates
HARDEMAN WINS APPEAL
It has been an eventful week in the Roundup litigation scene. In some excellent news, the US Court of Appeals upheld the $25 million verdict in the Hardeman trial, including the punitive damages award of $20 million. Unlike the Lee Johnson case, Bayer plans to petition the US Supreme Court to review the case.
CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT HEARING
I Zoomed for six hours today, settling into Judge Chhabria’s virtual courtroom. Today’s hearing focused on the proposed $2 billion class action settlement to resolve future cancer claims – a component of the larger $11.6 billion settlement of all Roundup lawsuits.
Judge Chhabria opened the hearing by pontificating on the appropriateness of grouping all future claimants into one class. In his view, the proposed settlement should be considered from the perspective of two groups:
- People who have been exposed to Roundup, diagnosed with NHL and have not yet hired lawyers.
- People who have been or will be exposed to Roundup, but have not yet been diagnosed with NHL.
Most of the discussion evaluated the appropriateness of any settlement terms set to address the legal rights for those who don’t realize that they will get NHL in a few years from their use of Roundup today. Chhabria set up a useful hypothetical example in which he is a 51-year-old man – that part is not hypothetical – who uses Roundup, but won’t develop lymphoma for 15 years.
Oh my goodness, did debates ensue. Leading the discussion in support of the proposed settlement terms was veteran class-action attorney Elizabeth Cabraser. Chhabria asked if there was any lawsuit in which she is not involved – and looking at her list of cases, I’m not sure that there is.
An excellent summary of the finer details of the proceedings can be found here.
What struck me most during the hearing is the continuing inanity around product labeling. Monsanto’s future liability would be significantly reduced with a label change on the Roundup product.
Chhabria has wondered from the very beginning of the trial why Monsanto won’t put some kind of label on the Roundup bottle to inoculate itself against future lawsuits. He suggested some modified wording for a label that would acknowledge that while the US EPA believes Roundup to be non-carcinogenic, IARC disagrees. Monsanto attorney William Hoffman claimed that the EPA wouldn’t allow them to put any label on the product. Chhabria suggested that he might invite the EPA to join in on the discussion of what wording might be acceptable.
Without a label change, and despite the attempt to contain Bayer’s Roundup liability through these class action settlement terms, Bayer will continue to be sued by individual plaintiffs suffering from NHL indefinitely. And, in my opinion, that is the best thing that could happen to butterflies, bees, endangered species, the soil, and our families. Eventually, either Bayer’s money runs out or they label the damn poison.
The settlement terms are far from approved. Chhabria rightfully doubted the value to the plaintiffs of several of the proposed settlement components, and closed with the warning that he won’t be rushing into any decisions immediately.
Check out this most bizarre of the bizarre ads to come from the Roundup marketing team in March. I can visualize the creative team (probably also dining on their organic Sweetgreens salad) conceptualizing how to convey that people who appreciate solid “data” will believe Roundup to be safe.
My interpretation? IARC’s determination of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen is the suggested “ghost” in this scenario.
I needed a change and started volunteering at Sweet Farm, an animal sanctuary and organic farm. Check out one of the residents, Dolly Llama!