Formulations of glyphosate-based weedkillers are toxic, tests show

Tests by a US government agency on common weedkilling products made with the chemical glyphosate have found some formulations sold to the public to be genotoxic, meaning they are damaging to human DNA.

But the government scientists at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) say the danger probably lies with added ingredients in the products – not glyphosate.

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Stakes are high with two Roundup cancer trials starting amid settlement talks

t’s been nearly five years since international cancer scientists classified a popular weed-killing chemical as probably carcinogenic, news that triggered an explosion of lawsuits brought by cancer patients who blame the former chemical maker Monsanto Co. for their suffering.

Tens of thousands of U.S. plaintiffs – some lawyers involved in the litigation say over 100,000 – claim Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and other glyphosate-based weed killers caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, while Monsanto spent years hiding the risks from consumers.

The first three trials went badly for Monsanto and its German owner Bayer AG as outraged juries awarded over $2.3 billion in damages to four plaintiffs. Trial judges lowered the jury awards to a total of roughly $190 million, and all are under appeal.

Two new trials – one in California and one in Missouri – are now in the process of selecting juries. Opening statements are scheduled for Friday for the Missouri trial, which is taking place in St. Louis, Monsanto’s former home town. The judge in that case is allowing testimony to be televised and broadcast by Courtroom View Network.

Bayer has been desperate to avoid the spotlight of more trials and bring an end to the saga that has bludgeoned the pharmaceutical giant’s market capitalization, and exposed to the world Monsanto’s internal playbook for manipulating science, media and regulators.

It looks like that end could be coming soon.

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Anticipation Builds For Settlement of Roundup Cancer Claims

Anticipation is building around the belief that there could soon be an announcement of at least a partial settlement of U.S. lawsuits pitting thousands of U.S. cancer patients against Monsanto Co. over allegations the company hid the health risks of its Roundup herbicides.

Investors in Bayer AG, the German company that bought Monsanto in 2018,  are keeping a close eye on the status of three trials currently still on the docket to get underway this month. Six trials were initially set to take place in January, but three have recently been “postponed.” Sources say the postponements are part of the process of obtaining an overall settlement with several plaintiffs’ attorneys who have large numbers of cases pending.

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Why a corporate lawyer is sounding the alarm about these common chemicals

A conversation with the lawyer Rob Bilott is like a slap across the face. It doesn’t feel good. But it does get your attention.

According to Bilott, we face a “unique health threat” from a class of industrial chemicals that most Americans have never heard of. These chemicals are widely used in everyday products such as non-stick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics, even though science shows they are linked to a range of deadly diseases, reproductive problems and other ailments. Powerful corporations are fighting to protect the use of these profitable chemical compounds, Bilott says, and US regulators are doing next to nothing to stop them.

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“CONSUMER ADVOCACY” GROUP ACSH REVEALED AS FRONT GROUP FOR CORPORATE INTERESTS

It’s a name aimed at inspiring consumer confidence: The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) proclaims itself to be a pro-science, consumer advocacy nonprofit group that exists only to support legitimate science and medicine while debunking “health scares.”

The organization asserts on its website that it does not “represent any industry” and states that the work of ACSH columnists and the group’s panel of scientific advisors is simply to help consumers, journalists, and policymakers “see past scaremongers and activist groups” who wrongly raise concerns about genetically modified crops, pesticides, industrial chemicals, nuclear power, natural gas, and other issues.

But while the name carries with it the aura of an authentically independent voice on controversial questions of science and public health, internal ACSH records show in reality the organization has relied for years on hefty donations from corporations and foundations whose interests ACSH promotes.

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Revealed: Bayer AG discussed plans to give not-for-profit funding for influence

Emails between two senior executives and a journalist show discussions aimed at giving Bayer a voice in press foundation initiatives.

Bayer AG discussed plans to give the German drugs giant influence within prestigious American not-for-profit dedicated to media freedoms that would protect and promote the company’s business interests in exchange for generous funding, records obtained by the Guardian show.

Multiple email communications from 2018 and 2019 detail the entwinement of two senior executives at Bayer’s US operations with a Greek journalist and “communications strategist” named Thanos Dimadis who served briefly as executive director for the 101-year-old New York-based Foreign Press Association (FPA), and the related Foreign Press Foundation (FPF).

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Thailand wants to ban these three pesticides. The US government says no

You know it’s a dark day for America when foreign leaders have to lecture US officials about the importance of prioritizing public health over corporate profits.

Yet that is what is happening now, as the Trump administration pressures Thailand not to ban three pesticides that scientific research has shown to be particularly dangerous to children and other vulnerable populations.

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As Roundup cancer lawsuits surge, Monsanto fights to keep PR work secret

As Monsanto continues to battle legal claims over alleged dangers of its widely used Roundup herbicides, the company is trying to block orders to turn over internal records about its work with public relations and strategic consulting contractors.

In a series of filings in St. Louis Circuit Court, Monsanto argues that it should not have to comply with discovery requests involving certain dealings between it and the global public relations firm FleishmanHillard, despite the fact that a special master has found Monsanto should hand those documents over. Monsanto is asserting that its communications with FleishmanHillard should be considered “privileged,” similar to attorney-client communications, and that Monsanto should not have to produce them as part of discovery to the lawyers representing the cancer patients suing Monsanto.

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New FDA Report on Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables Adds to Growing Public Health Concerns

Last month the Food & Drug Administration published its latest annual analysis of the levels of pesticide residues that contaminate the fruits and veggies and other foods we Americans routinely put on our dinner plates. The fresh data adds to growing consumer concern and scientific debate over how pesticide residues in food may contribute – or not – to illness, disease and reproductive problems.

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A message from Maine: It’s time to get serious about sustainability

s summer turns to fall, the Maine landscape is beautiful to behold. Lush forests stretch as far as the eye can see in a tapestry of green, yellow and crimson-colored leaves. Every few miles along a narrow roadway, restored wooden barns adjoin modest homes set on tidy acres where farm families coax food from the soil and tend to livestock.

I was fortunate to visit this northeastern farm state recently, spending time at the “Common Ground Country Fair” in Unity, Maine. Only about 2,000 people live in the tiny town, but an estimated 57,000 people jammed the single-lane roads to swarm this year’s three-day event in late September.

The fair was part celebration and part education – a festival of first-hand knowledge about how to produce food in ways that focus on enhancing, not endangering, human and environmental health. Young and old gathered in yellow-and-white striped tents to discuss such topics as the marketing of organic lowbush wild blueberries, how to develop “micro-dairies,” and science that shows healthy, chemical-free soils can better sequester carbon from the atmosphere as a mitigant to the climate crisis.

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