Monsanto has been hit by a wave of product liability lawsuits from farmers, home gardeners, landscapers and others who blame their cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a virulent form of white blood cell cancer, on the wildly popular Roundup weedkiller.
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Now, Bayer AG, the company that purchased Monsanto last year, faces a new claim that it misled home gardeners about the dangers glyphosate poses to gut bacteria and overall human health. In a new lawsuit, filed on February 13 in a Kansas City, Missouri federal court, three consumer plaintiffs claim that Roundup's label falsely reassures customers that the weedkiller's key ingredient, glyphosate, targets an enzyme not found "in people or pets."
But according to the suit, glyphosate actually attacks an enzyme found in the beneficial intestinal bacteria of humans. "Monsanto has misled consumers about glyphosate's risks for decades," says plaintiffs' attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in an email to Bloomberg. "Despite the company's efforts to suppress and skew research on glyphosate, the science is in."
The lawsuit has been filed as a prospective class action on behalf of three named plaintiffs who seek unspecified monetary damages and relief. The plaintiffs have taken issue primarily with glyphosate-containing products distributed by Scotts Miracle-Gro, also named as a defendant.
In a statement emailed to Bloomberg, Bayer spokesperson Daniel Childs said the new lawsuit is without merit. Monsanto, he continued, "looks forward to defending the case on the merits." Childs also pointed out that a similar lawsuit filed by the same attorneys in Wisconsin lost out in its bid for class certification because they were unable to prove that the prospective class members ever saw the labels.
Scientists in the past have theorized that glyphosate, when ingested, could kill beneficial bacteria living in our gut, leading to a host of dramatic medical conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cachexia, infertility and developmental malformations. The new lawsuit brings these theories into focus, accusing Monsanto and Bayer AG of concealing the risks from members of the public in a shameless bid for profit.
Bayer AG, which inherited the legal troubles of Monsanto last year, currently faces lawsuits filed on behalf of more than 8,000 people who claim the weedkiller Roundup contributed to their cases of cancer. Glyphosate is currently the most widely-used herbicide in the world.
In August, a California state court jury awarded $289 million in compensation (reduced to $78 million in a later judicial decision) to Dewayne Lee Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who claimed in court documents that his habitual use of Roundup caused him to develop a terminal case of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The allegations leveled by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients are deeply troubling. In thousands of product liability lawsuits, farmers and landscapers accuse Monsanto of deceiving the public for years, orchestrating a complex – and extremely effective – campaign to attack the credibility of respected medical experts and influence officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Despite being scattered across a number of federal and state courts, legal observers say that the growing Monsanto litigation is progressing at a rapid pace.
Monsanto has been under fire for decades over glyphosate, the active ingredient in the company’s flagship Roundup herbicide. Glyphosate was designed and introduced to the market by Monsanto in 1974. When Monsanto introduced Roundup to the US market, the corporation kicked off an agricultural revolution, starting a trend that has now become ubiquitous under the banner of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
Despite long-standing concerns over the chemical’s safety, glyphosate is everywhere. The chemical has seeped into our food and water supplies. In 2011, researchers at the US Geological Survey detected substantial levels of glyphosate in rivers, rain and air moisture in agricultural areas.
Continue Reading: Decades Of Research Link Roundup To Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma