There are already more than 13 thousand lawsuits filed against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) for having caused cancer to the plaintiffs or their relatives with the use of the herbicide glyphosate, knowing the dangers involved and without informing the exposed people of the risks .
They are, for the most part, people who applied the pesticide either in their agricultural work, gardening or parks. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared glyphosate to be carcinogenic to animals and probable carcinogenic to humans.
The first lawsuit that a victim won, in August 2018, was the lawsuit of D. Lee Johnsson, a gardener who applied glyphosate for two years in a school, after which he contracted non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer (https: / /tinyurl.com/y5umrtt3). A San Francisco judge sentenced Monsanto-Bayer to pay $ 289 million in the first instance, but after Bayer appealed it was left at $ 78 million. In another trial, in March 2019, it was ruled that Monsanto-Bayer must pay $ 80 million to Edwin Hardeman for being responsible for his illness. The third similar trial, initiated by the Pilliod couple against Monsanto, is nearing completion in Oakland. They are 70 years old and both have cancer. It is expected to again be a multi-million dollar ruling in favor of the victims. (https://usrtk.org/monsanto-papers/)
At the same time, in Europe, Monsanto lost for the third time, in April 2019, the lawsuit initiated by French farmer Paul François, who suffers neurological damage from the use of the herbicide Lasso, with another agrotoxic component.
Bayer, which finalized the purchase of Monsanto in 2018, has so far lost more than $ 30 billion due to the decline in the value of its shares, due to the negative impact of the results of the glyphosate lawsuits. On April 26, 2019, 55 percent of Bayer shareholders voted against the strategies of the board, led by Werner Baumann, who defended the purchase of Monsanto.
Glyphosate, invented by Monsanto in 1974, is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. It is sold under many brand names, such as Faena, Rival, RoundUp, Ranger, and others. The amounts applied increased exponentially with the release of herbicide-resistant transgenic crops. The increased use produced resistance in more than 25 types of weeds, creating a vicious cycle of applying more and more glyphosate. High amounts of glyphosate residues have been found in food, water sources andtest of urine, blood and breast milk in several countries and continents, mainly in the largest producers of transgenics.
In all named trial cases, the judges ruled in favor of the victims because they found that Monsanto knew about the risks and did not explain it on product labels or sales strategy. The point is central, since Monsanto's argument is that regulatory agencies, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advertise glyphosate as a low-risk herbicide.
However, in the course of the lawsuits Monsanto has had to release internal documents that prove that it had very early studies of its own that showed the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate and that despite this it spent decades writing articles that looked as if they werescientists denying the toxicity of glyphosate, which they then agreed with different supposedly scientific authors to publish on their behalf without mentioning Monsanto.
Several of those items were listed by the EPA to determine that glyphosate was almost harmless to health. The organization US Right To Know has published on its site dedicated to the trials against Monsanto declassified documents up to 2019 with evidence and names of various authors and falsified articles (https://usrtk.org/monsanto-papers/).
In a recent article by Nathan Donley and Carey Gillam onThe Guardian, denounce that Monsanto never conducted epidemiological studies of the use of glyphosate to see its carcinogenic potential, and instead spent huge sums of money (up to 17 million dollars in a year) to carry out propaganda campaigns, opinion pieces of biased journalists and act as a ghostwriter of articlesscientists who claim that glyphosate is safe or does not have great risks. This increased after the WHO statement in 2015 (https://tinyurl.com/yxkrw4l9).
They also release emails from Monsanto with the political intelligence and strategy consultancy Hakluyt, in July 2018, revealing that the White House claims that it will turn its back on Monsanto in any case and that despite studies showing toxicity it will not they will vote new regulations. (https://tinyurl.com/yxcbswp5)
The evidence that glyphosate should be banned is overwhelming. Several US cities and some Latin American cities have already established it. The issue is not just this poison or just Monsanto-Bayer. All the agribusiness transnationals have similar strategies to sell poison at the expense of health and the environment. We must advance in the elimination of all pesticides.
By Silvia Ribeiro
ETC Group Researcher