The world’s premier cancer research organization says that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s blockbuster herbicide Roundup, probably causes cancer.
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Several law firms have begun to run TV commercials, alerting cancer patients to a growing litigation around the popular herbicide Roundup. These ads often focus on a chemical called glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, which has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by decades of medical research. Commercials advise Roundup users who have been diagnosed with lymphoma to seek legal counsel immediately, saying that significant financial compensation may be available.
Discovered by biotech pioneer Monsanto in the 1970s, glyphosate has quickly become the world’s most popular herbicide, but many medical researchers say that Roundup’s active ingredient causes cancer. In fact, the world’s premier cancer research organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, has already labeled glyphosate – and thus Roundup – as a “probable carcinogen” in humans.
More than 700 agricultural workers and home gardeners have filed suit against Monsanto, accusing the biotech pioneer of marketing and selling an herbicide that causes cancer.
In federal and state courts around the country, lifelong farmers have been joined by migrant workers, landscapers, nursery employees and recreational growers who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer that starts in cells of the immune system. Facing lengthy courses of radiation therapy and chemo, these patients have chosen to pursue Monsanto in court, saying the company’s potent herbicide Roundup caused their cancers.
In support of their allegations, plaintiffs rely on a 2015 report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in which the World Health Organization group investigated the carcinogenic potential of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate. After reviewing decades of research, the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic,” CBS News reports, pointing to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a particular concern.
As the researchers noted, numerous laboratory studies have found that glyphosate causes rare tumors to develop in experimental animals. Further investigations turned up evidence that the chemical caused damage to DNA in human cells. Likewise, epidemiological studies that followed agricultural workers in the US, Canada and Sweden have found that people exposed to glyphosate are more likely to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than members of the general population.
Despite these results, Monsanto continues to stand behind Roundup, claiming the product is perfectly safe when used as directed. American health regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency, have largely agreed, allowing Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides to be sold and marketed in the United States. Other nations have taken a different stance, either limiting glyphosate sales or banning them outright, an option the European Union is currently considering, according to Science Magazine. In contrast to these international reactions, the EPA remains “pro-glyphosate,” saying the chemical has “low toxicity for humans.”
Critics, however, say darker forces are behind the Environmental Protection Agency’s continued support of Roundup. A growing number of public safety advocates, along with Roundup lawsuit plaintiffs, accuse Monsanto of concealing the herbicide’s link to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for decades. In their lawsuits, cancer patients say that Monsanto has leveraged a vast network of lobbyists to bury scientific research that would cast doubt on glyphosate’s safety.
Their allegations are truly shocking. In complaint after complaint, patients accuse Monsanto of orchestrating a massive cover-up. Over the course of three decades, plaintiffs claim, Monsanto has pressured Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency to overlook damning scientific results, including evidence that links Roundup to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In their latest bombshell allegation, plaintiffs have pointed to Jess Rowland, a former Deputy Director at the EPA who led investigations of glyphosate as chairman of the agency’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee. Recent court filings suggest that Rowland enjoyed a “highly suspicious” relationship with Monsanto, according to Bloomberg Markets. In a revealing 2013 memo, Marion Copley, an EPA scientist for over thirty years, even accused Rowland of “playing political conniving games with the science” to present Roundup and glyphosate in a favorable light.
As Copley saw it, sufficient scientific evidence had emerged to label the chemical a probable carcinogen. “It is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer,” Copley wrote, but Rowland had “intimidated staff” at the agency to alter their findings on glyphosate to bury the evidence, she said.
Rowland’s link to Monsanto becomes even more suspicious in light of recent events.
The EPA is required to review the latest evidence on herbicide safety every fifteen years. In 2015, the federal agency was busy performing a reassessment of glyphosate, but the review board’s proceedings were shaken by the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer – which concluded that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen in humans.
Only months later, and without so much as a word, an unauthorized copy of EPA review documents appeared on the agency’s website. The report, which had not been authorized for publication, contradicted the International Agency for Research on Cancer, saying that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” Then it disappeared only three days later.
The unsanctioned leak, plaintiffs suggest, occurred at the behest of Jess Rowland. In a move that plaintiffs’ attorneys have dubbed “highly suspicious,” Rowland stepped down from his position at the EPA soon after the Cancer Assessment Review Committee’s review was leaked.
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