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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday August 12 2018, @09:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the time-to-cough-up dept.

Monsanto ordered to pay $289 million in California Roundup cancer trial

A California jury on Friday found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who alleged the company's glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, caused him cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages.

The case of school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit alleging glyphosate causes cancer to go to trial. Monsanto, a unit of Bayer AG following a $62.5 billion acquisition by the German conglomerate, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

The jury at San Francisco's Superior Court of California deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers.

It awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/10/monsanto-ordered-to-pay-289m-in-california-roundup-cancer-trial.html

Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million to Man Who Claimed Glyphosate Caused His Cancer

Monsanto ordered to pay $289m damages in Roundup cancer trial

Chemical giant Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer.

In a landmark case, a Californian jury found that Monsanto knew its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers were dangerous and failed to warn consumers. It's the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer.

Monsanto denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says it intends to appeal against the ruling. "The jury got it wrong," vice-president Scott Partridge said outside the courthouse in San Francisco.

The claimant in the case, groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, is among more than 5,000 similar plaintiffs across the US.

Monsanto? Never heard of it. Did you mean Bayer AG?

Previously: Cancer Hazard vs. Risk - Glyphosate
Monsanto Faces First US Trial Over Roundup Cancer Link
Monsanto Cancer Trial Begins in San Francisco

Related: Glyphosate Linked to Liver Damage


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

Related Stories

Cancer Hazard vs. Risk - Glyphosate 9 comments

[The WHO] and the Food and Agriculture Organization have come out with a statement that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk in humans". And this only a year after another UN agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, stated what looks like the exact opposite, that it could "probably" be a cause of cancer in humans. Later on last year, the European Food Safety Authority said that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard".

[...] the difference is that the IARC is looking at the question from a "Is there any possible way, under any conditions at all, that glyphosate could be a carcinogen?", while the FAO and WHO are giving an answer to the questions "Is glyphosate actually causing cancer in people?"

[...] "Risk", technically speaking, refers to your chances of being harmed under real-world conditions, while "hazard" refers to the potential for harm.

Under real-world conditions, eating a normal amount of bacon raise your risk of colorectal cancer by an amount too small to consider. But it does appear to be raising it by a reproducible, measurable amount, and therefore bacon (and other processed meats) are in the IARC's category 1.
[...] It's important to note that some hypothetical substance that reproducibly, in human studies, gives anyone cancer every single time they touch it would also be in category 1, the same as a hypothetical substance that reproducibly, in human studies, raises a person's risk of cancer by one millionth of a per cent. Same category. These categories are not arranged by relative risk – they're arranged by how good the evidence is. Glyphosate is in category 2A, which means that there is evidence from animal studies, but limited/insufficient evidence from humans as of yet.
[...] So yes, by the standards of the available evidence, glyphosate is in the same cancer hazard category as working the night shift, or working as a hairdresser.

TFA is interesting and worth a read, especially for its use of a shark analogy explaining the difference between risk and hazard.

Link: Glyphosate And Cancer By Derek Lowe
Additional Wired link: Does Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide Cause Cancer or Not? The Controversy, Explained


Original Submission

Glyphosate Linked to Liver Damage 32 comments

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/01/study-linking-herbicide-disease-fuels-debate-170116140401709.html

UK scientists say they have conducted an unprecedented, long-term study showing a link between Roundup - one of the most widely used herbicides in the world - and severe liver damage in test rats.

The research sparked further debate in the international scientific community over the potential health hazards to people caused by exposure to the well-known weed killer.

Scientists from King's College London, whose findings were published in the journal, Nature , earlier this month, said their tests used cutting-edge technology to demonstrate that "extremely low doses" of the herbicide administered to rats through their drinking water had caused "non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)" over a two-year period.

NAFLD can lead to more serious liver disease such as cirrhosis, and increases the risk of other illnesses including diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

"The study is unique in that it is the first to show a causative link between consumption of Roundup at a real-world environmental dose and a serious disease condition," the report said.

In recent years, there have been an increasing number of studies alleging links between herbicides - used to help grow genetically modified crops - to a wide range of health issues including birth defects, reproductive and neurological problems, cancer, and even DNA damage. Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, has repeatedly denied the accusations , insisting the product is safe for humans. A number of scientists and researchers say there has been insufficient evidence to prove herbicides cause health problems for people.

Related articles:


Original Submission

Monsanto No More 52 comments

Monsanto, a brand name activists love to hate, will disappear as Bayer takes over:

These days Monsanto is shorthand for, as NPR's Dan Charles has put it, "lots of things that some people love to hate": Genetically modified crops, which Monsanto invented. Seed patents, which Monsanto has fought to defend. Herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup, which protesters have sharply criticized for its possible health risks. Big agriculture in general, of which Monsanto was the reviled figurehead.

And soon Monsanto will be no more. Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant and pesticide powerhouse, announced in 2016 it would be buying Monsanto in an all-cash deal for more than $60 billion. Now, as the merger approaches, Bayer has confirmed what many suspected: In the merger, the politically charged name "Monsanto" will be disappearing. The combined company will be known simply as Bayer, while product names will remain the same. The move is not exactly a surprise — it makes sense that Bayer might want to weed out some of the intense negative associations associated with the Monsanto brand. In a way, it's an indication of how successful anti-Monsanto protesters have been in shaping public perception.

In the company's latest statement, Bayer implicitly acknowledged how hostile debates over genetically modified crops and other agricultural products have become. "We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground," the chairman of Bayer's board of management, Werner Baumann, said in the statement. "Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill. We have to talk to each other. We need to listen to each other. It's the only way to build bridges."

Also at Reuters.

Previously: Bayer AG Offers to Buy Monsanto
Bayer Purchases Monsanto for Around $66 Billion

Roundup: Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93M to Small Town for Poisoning Citizens
RoundUp Glyphosate Found to Cause Kidney Failure and Elude Tests
Cancer Hazard vs. Risk - Glyphosate
Use of Dicamba-Resistant Monsanto Crops Leads to Soybean Death
GMO Grass That 'Escaped' Defies Eradication, Divides Grass Seed Industry
Glyphosate Linked to Liver Damage


Original Submission   Alternate Submission

Monsanto Faces First US Trial Over Roundup Cancer Link 38 comments

In the first trial of its kind, a Californian dying of cancer is suing US agrochemical giant Monsanto, claiming its popular herbicide Roundup caused his disease—a case that could have sweeping ramifications.

The stakes are high for Monsanto, which could face massive losses should it have to pay out damages over the product, whose main ingredient is glyphosate, a substance which some say is dangerously carcinogenic.

Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old father of two, says he is sick because of contact with Roundup, which he used for two years from 2012 as a groundskeeper for the Benicia school district near San Francisco, his lawyer Timothy Litzenburg told AFP.

Thousands of lawsuits targeting Monsanto are currently proceeding through the US court system, according to American media.

Litzenburg says he represents hundreds of people who also say they are victims of glyphosate.

Whether the substance causes cancer has been the source of endless debate among government regulators, health experts and lawyers.

"A major part of that job was spraying Roundup or Ranger Pro (a similar Monsanto product)... He sprayed it 20 to 40 times per year, sometimes hundreds of gallons at a time on the school properties," Litzenburg said.

In 2014, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that affects white blood cells. Two years later, and no longer able to work, he filed suit against Monsanto, which he accuses of hiding its product's dangers.

"His case has been expedited because he currently has only a few months to live," his lawyer said.

Wikipedia entry on glyphosate.


Original Submission

Monsanto Cancer Trial Begins in San Francisco 72 comments

Monsanto 'bullied scientists' and hid weedkiller cancer risk, lawyer tells court

Monsanto has long worked to "bully scientists" and suppress evidence of the cancer risks of its popular weedkiller, a lawyer argued on Monday in a landmark lawsuit against the global chemical corporation.

"Monsanto has specifically gone out of its way to bully ... and to fight independent researchers," said the attorney Brent Wisner, who presented internal Monsanto emails that he said showed how the agrochemical company rejected critical research and expert warnings over the years while pursuing and helping to write favorable analyses of their products. "They fought science."

Wisner, who spoke inside a crowded San Francisco courtroom, is representing DeWayne Johnson, known also as Lee, a California man whose cancer has spread through his body. The father of three and former school groundskeeper, who doctors say may have just months to live, is the first person to take Monsanto to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the Roundup brand is linked to cancer. Thousands have made similar legal claims across the US.

Monsanto? Never heard of it.

Also at the San Francisco Chronicle.


Original Submission

Glyphosate May Contribute to Bee Colony Collapse Disorder 29 comments

Study: Roundup Weed Killer Could Be Linked To Widespread Bee Deaths

The controversial herbicide Roundup has been accused of causing cancer in humans and now scientists in Texas argue that the world's most popular weed killer could be partly responsible for killing off bee populations around the world.

A new study [open, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1803880115] [DX] by scientists at the University of Texas at Austin posit that glyphosate — the active ingredient in the herbicide — destroys specialized gut bacteria in bees, leaving them more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.

Researchers Nancy Moran, Erick Motta and Kasie Raymann suggest their findings are evidence that glyphosate might be contributing to colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that has been wreaking havoc on honey bees and native bees for more than a decade.

Also at Science Magazine.

Related:


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday August 12 2018, @09:34PM (10 children)

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Sunday August 12 2018, @09:34PM (#720694) Homepage Journal

    and so his cancer must have started before he hired on as a groundskeeper.

    However they're still likely to lose on appeal as in my understanding you can't argue the facts in appeals, only errors on the part of the judge.

    If a judge didn't permit Monsanto to introduce evidence that Non-Hodgekins Lymphoma forms only very slowly, then the appeals court might overturn the decision.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @12:51AM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @12:51AM (#720771)

      I know at least one counter example, a friend I'd known for 30 years died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (a blood cancer) a few years ago, age 72. He was feeling a little weak one winter and went in for a checkup, was quickly referred to an oncologist who gave him 6 weeks to live. Does that sound like a slowly developing cancer? He was fine the year before, very strong and coordinated, still working out with his life-long judo buddies.

      Some research indicated that there was minimal hope of life extension by chemo, and the treatments were extremely painful. Instead of chemo he decided to just keep living his life using medical marijuana for pain (he was in CA where it was available) which was very effective. He lasted 18 months, long enough to see his first grand child born.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday August 13 2018, @04:11AM (4 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 13 2018, @04:11AM (#720836) Journal

        Does that sound like a slowly developing cancer?

        Well, it sounds like cancer. Slow or fast remains unknown since you're not giving us much information by which to judge the case.

        He lasted 18 months

        ~78 weeks untreated is significantly in excess of the 6 weeks treated. So the oncologist would have been wrong by a great deal. And the cancer would have been slower than you presented it as.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @07:41AM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @07:41AM (#720860)

          No, that could be right. If you have the chemo it will kill you in six weeks, if you wait for the cancer, it takes eighteen months.

          • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Monday August 13 2018, @09:10AM (1 child)

            by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Monday August 13 2018, @09:10AM (#720877) Homepage Journal

            It took three weeks for my medical clinic to schedule the appointment for my referral for a biopsy. Not three weeks waiting for a biopsy - three weeks waiting for the _referral_.

            Now I'm waiting for my biopsy to be scheduled.

            The "mass" on my kidney - that means it's larger than two centimetres - turned up in a CT scan after I went to the ER completely convinced I had Salmonella from eating soft-boiled eggs. (It wasn't Salmonella.)

            The ER doc quite cheerfully assured me that "It's not going to kill you. They'll just take out your kidney."

            Real Soon Now, I'm certain.

            --
            Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @06:48PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @06:48PM (#721093)

              have you looked into the claims about metformin?

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday August 14 2018, @08:56AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 14 2018, @08:56AM (#721289) Journal

            No, that could be right.

            And it could also be very wrong.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday August 13 2018, @01:40AM (3 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday August 13 2018, @01:40AM (#720781)

      Cancer may have started as he consumed "roundup ready" grains, soybeans and other row crops in his packaged foods - like the rest of us.

      Procedure and science says that it's reduced to "acceptable levels" in the food products by the time they are consumed, sure it is.

      --
      Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday August 14 2018, @09:02AM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 14 2018, @09:02AM (#721293) Journal

        Procedure and science says that it's reduced to "acceptable levels" in the food products by the time they are consumed, sure it is.

        And your point is? You're not even trying to present a reason.

        I notice that sometimes you swallow what "procedure and science" feeds you [soylentnews.org] and sometimes you don't. What's the criteria for your acceptance?

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday August 14 2018, @10:29AM (1 child)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday August 14 2018, @10:29AM (#721311)

          What's the criteria for your acceptance?

          Generally, it starts with who is presenting the science and how much profit said science is protecting for the presenter.

          Unmasking the who is occasionally challenging, but lately the larger businesses don't even bother - it seems that the majority of "science believers" don't even care, as long as it's published in a form that looks something like what they accept as "good" - and if you want to talk about the majority of the population that threshold seems to be a Reuters or AP feed headline and one or more statistics quoted in the body of the article.

          --
          Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
          • (Score: 0, Troll) by khallow on Tuesday August 14 2018, @10:54AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 14 2018, @10:54AM (#721318) Journal

            Generally, it starts with who is presenting the science and how much profit said science is protecting for the presenter.

            Most major environmental regulators in the world are the presenters and they're getting no more profit from said science than the END OF CHOCOLATE people were.

            Unmasking the who is occasionally challenging, but lately the larger businesses don't even bother - it seems that the majority of "science believers" don't even care, as long as it's published in a form that looks something like what they accept as "good" - and if you want to talk about the majority of the population that threshold seems to be a Reuters or AP feed headline and one or more statistics quoted in the body of the article.

            Let us note that the article I linked to had the "END OF CHOCOLATE" theme coming from a Yahoo News op ed piece which to me is quite a bit less reliable than a Reuters/AP feed headline. You then ran with that. I wish your skepticism were more consistently applied.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Sunday August 12 2018, @10:04PM (11 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Sunday August 12 2018, @10:04PM (#720697)

    1/ Monsanto / AG Bayer / IG Farben - whatever they choose to call themselves nowadays - and their army of lawyers will appeal and get the case dragging out for so long the plaintiff will be long dead before he gets a single compensation dollar

    2/ $289M is pocket money for a company that size anyway. They don't really care.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12 2018, @10:48PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12 2018, @10:48PM (#720711)

      3/ You don't get rich by spending money.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday August 12 2018, @11:08PM (4 children)

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday August 12 2018, @11:08PM (#720716) Homepage

        4/ When you have an army of Jewish lawyers on retainer, then you are unstoppable. You could have chemically colluded with George Soros to reduce the virility of the White man as an excuse to bring savage third-world Blacks in, ultimately crashing the nation's currency and enriching globalist speculators. And even if the plot were uncovered and publicized, your team of Jewish lawyers will stop it and ensure you get to profit from the destruction of civilizations for another forty years.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12 2018, @11:24PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12 2018, @11:24PM (#720723)
          You'd think that those Jewish lawyers would remember how some of their grandparents got a lungful of Zyklon B thanks to Bayer/IG Farben back in the day.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @07:46AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @07:46AM (#720862)

            The jews that EF is referring to are the sort who survived the camps by being the ones who helped herd other jews into the ovens. "Oy vey, it's just a shower to get rid of the lice".
            And then helped drag the bodies out.

            • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday August 13 2018, @07:57PM

              by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday August 13 2018, @07:57PM (#721116) Journal

              The Jews that EF is referring to only exist in his imagination.

              His hypothesis requires a group of people who are simultaneously sub-human and weak, all the while being all-powerful and all-knowing.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @12:24AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @12:24AM (#720759)

          Many people as stupid as EF go on to live reasonably normal lives. Heh, just kidding - full-on stupids ride the short bus throughout their entire lives.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by rigrig on Monday August 13 2018, @02:24AM (2 children)

      by rigrig (5129) Subscriber Badge <soylentnews@tubul.net> on Monday August 13 2018, @02:24AM (#720793) Homepage

      $289M is pocket money for a company that size anyway. They don't really care.

      I dunno, 5000 times 39 million does add up...

      Also, a court deciding your product causes cancer can't be good for business.

      --
      No one remembers the singer.
      • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Monday August 13 2018, @12:10PM

        by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Monday August 13 2018, @12:10PM (#720919)

        Its this, precisely. The case is precedent. If every judge awards a ludicrous 250 million punitive charge, it'll add up fast.

        Really I don't like how it's going along, but at the same time, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving company.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday August 13 2018, @07:14PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday August 13 2018, @07:14PM (#721106)

        Also, a court deciding your product causes cancer can't be good for business.

        Depends on your customer base and business model - there are plenty of industries where it doesn't (not shouldn't, doesn't) matter much at all.

        --
        Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday August 13 2018, @10:20PM (1 child)

      by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Monday August 13 2018, @10:20PM (#721153) Homepage
      And yet their share price has plummetted >10% in a day. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45167906
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 2) by chewbacon on Tuesday August 14 2018, @11:37PM

        by chewbacon (1032) on Tuesday August 14 2018, @11:37PM (#721605)

        Yeah the parent author is right. They don’t care.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12 2018, @11:33PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12 2018, @11:33PM (#720728)

    If we consider corporations artificial persons, we'll have to start applying the same measures for punishing them. Three strikes etc. I don't even know how often Monsanto has been caught doing shady as fuck shit. But they get off with a slap on the wrist so there is no learning or deterrent effect.

    Corporate corporal punishment plx.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @11:57AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @11:57AM (#720916)

      A comparison I made between normal people and companies that I think is very much missing is preliminary imprisonment.
      I think a comparable 'feature' for companies can be accomplished to freeze all stock trading while a company is the defendant in any open similar lawsuits. (similar as in, people died or were seriously injured) Additionally, a portion of the X$ punishment could be carried out by forcing a new large batch of stock to be issued. This lowers the value of the investors, who will go after the C-levels for it.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by requerdanos on Sunday August 12 2018, @11:46PM (5 children)

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 12 2018, @11:46PM (#720733) Journal

    Monsanto? Never heard of it.

    I'm surprised. They are famous not only for "alleged cancer juice in a spray bottle" (or "Roundup"), but for contaminating farmers' crops by GMO cross-pollination, then suing them for being Monsanto victims. Monsanto was purchased by Bayer recently (Bayer AG effectively became the sole shareholder [snopes.com]) and plans to integrate Monsanto, making it "no longer a company name", as soon as they are able.

    Did you mean Bayer AG?

    Noooo...

    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Monday August 13 2018, @12:00AM (2 children)

      by captain normal (2205) on Monday August 13 2018, @12:00AM (#720747)

      Monsanto sold all it's assets and liabilities to Bayer AG in the last year. Maybe they were bailing out before the fhit hit the san.

      --
      “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @05:22AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @05:22AM (#720846)

        Once a company is out of US ownership, courts can feel freer to levy higher judgments.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Monday August 13 2018, @02:35PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 13 2018, @02:35PM (#720989) Journal

        Monsanto maybe was wanting to get rid of their corporate name which had become as toxic as their products.

        --
        I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
    • (Score: 2) by corey on Monday August 13 2018, @02:26AM

      by corey (2202) on Monday August 13 2018, @02:26AM (#720795)

      And this is why I hope they get sued and sued and sued by all the farmers out there.

    • (Score: 2) by Fluffeh on Monday August 13 2018, @04:36AM

      by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 13 2018, @04:36AM (#720841) Journal

      Would you be so kind as to speak up sir? That Whooshing sound seems awfully loud as I read your post.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @12:07AM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @12:07AM (#720750)

    I've been regularly surprised how Monsanto was able to control public debate by simple decoys. People start asking about the carcinogenic properties of their product and they hand some chemists and biologists of an ingredient of their product that by itself seems to be relatively safe, with apparently noone even noticing the switcheroo and instead discussing the properties of said ingredients as if that had ever been the question in the first place. They got all of Euroland to discuss the health risks of Glyphosate in isolation while it was well-established at that time that Roundup is more toxic than glyphosate alone [naturalhealth365.com].

    How is this possible? Does noone even do a cursory web search before blindly repeating corporate talking points like "Glyphosate is like, really safe"? I'll excuse the "journalists" of our times, they're too busy going extinct and can't be bothered with deviating from their tried and true practice of copy-pasting agency tickers.

    But what all those beaurocrats in the EU tasked with their single job objective of either confirming or denying safety of said weed killer? Did none of them ask any questions? What about the scientists conducting study [dw.com] the EU would eventually base their decision on? Did they not consider the possibility of enhanced toxic properties when combined in the product formula or did they not care because they were not paid to care?

    Apparently the lessons of the past have not been learned and the little con games of big corporations playing the game of using overly specific lawyerspeak to get away with literally murder have not left a lasting impression since the now infamous hearing of the 7 CEOs of Big Tobacco and their finely tuned bullshit. Everyone knows how many people Hitler killed. Noone knows how many gullible smokers have died due to the seven dwarves putting on a convincing show of evading to say what they already knew - that smoking kills and they put in additives that make smoking even more deadly. Must we really go through this dance every couple of years until by pure chance we get lucky and the (obvious to the historically aware observer) truth comes out eventually and then everyone is really stricken and how could that have happened? Is this some sort of social convention that I'm not aware of? A sort of religious ritual praising our holy saint lawyers?

    Seriously, I don't understand.

    • (Score: 4, Touché) by Gaaark on Monday August 13 2018, @12:15AM (6 children)

      by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 13 2018, @12:15AM (#720752) Journal

      I read an article where they DID say that it was the MIXTURE, not just the one ingredient, so SOMEONE is listening, at least.

      What they need to do is say "If Roundup is safe, will the CEO please drink this container of Roundup while we all watch?"
      If he refuses, sue his fucking ass off.

      --
      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
      • (Score: 5, Touché) by takyon on Monday August 13 2018, @01:51AM (5 children)

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday August 13 2018, @01:51AM (#720784) Journal

        What they need to do is say "If Roundup is safe, will the CEO please drink this container of Roundup while we all watch?"
        If he refuses, sue his fucking ass off.

        Is Roundup advertised as a product fit for human consumption? Would you eat 1kg of cow manure to check if it was safe?

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 2) by rts008 on Monday August 13 2018, @02:31AM

          by rts008 (3001) on Monday August 13 2018, @02:31AM (#720796)

          Where is the "-eleventy1: Eww! YUCK!!" mod when ya need it?
          Oh well, "Touché" will have to do.

        • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday August 13 2018, @03:39AM

          by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 13 2018, @03:39AM (#720816) Journal

          Im not the one saying Roundup (or manure) does not cause cancer and is perfectly fine, yeah, no problem....no...no problem at all....

          .....yeah....

          --
          --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
        • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @05:03AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @05:03AM (#720843)

          Would you eat 1kg of cow manure to check if it was safe?

          No, but I'm not trying to sell cow manure as a safe product.

        • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Monday August 13 2018, @07:52AM (1 child)

          by deimtee (3272) on Monday August 13 2018, @07:52AM (#720863) Journal

          I don't want to do either, but gun-to-my-head-choice, I would eat a kg of cowshit over drinking a litre of roundup.

          --
          No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @08:03AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @08:03AM (#720865)

            I don't want to do either, but gun-to-my-head-choice, I would eat a kg of cowshit over drinking a litre of roundup.

            Stunts to "prove" something is safe are just stupid. No one learns from history?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minamata_disease#Wastewater_treatment [wikipedia.org]

            Chisso's president Kiichi Yoshioka drank a glass of water supposedly treated through the Cyclator to demonstrate that it was safe. In fact, the wastewater from the acetaldehyde plant, which the company knew still contained mercury and led to Minamata disease when fed to cats, was not treated through the Cyclator at the time. Testimony at a later Niigata Minamata disease trial proved that Chisso knew the Cyclator to be completely ineffective: "The purification tank was installed as a social solution and did nothing to remove organic mercury."

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by leftover on Monday August 13 2018, @01:37AM (4 children)

      by leftover (2448) on Monday August 13 2018, @01:37AM (#720780)

      Quite true, also riding on the back of an even bigger turtle. Roundup acts as an endocrine disruptor, specifically an estrogen analog after reacting with metals in soil. That is what it does to mess with weed's growth and kill them. People and weeds share hormones which are big, complicated molecules that represent a significant evolutionary investment. Mess with weed hormones and you mess with human hormones. Roundup is persistent in the environment and can be detected all over the world. How could anyone believe it would not have an effect on people? Why is this not even a topic of discussion? More specifically, how did Monsanto manage to hide this behind a smoke screen of concerns about cancer? They probably have decent evidence against Roundup being carcinogenic. In their worst case they will need to turn over that evidence card. Given the insane cluster fuck our legal system has become, they will likely get another 50 years of thrashing about the cancer strawman. Business as usual while girls in farming regions are entering puberty at age six and becoming obese in their twenties. [Ref: my own eyeballs. Come and spend decades in the Midwest before you dismiss this reality.]

      So fuck Monsanto/Bayer. Fuck the "bbbbut ... Capitalism" apologists. And fuck everyone who teaches that profits for the ultrawealthy justify ruining anyone's lives.

      --
      Bent, folded, spindled, and mutilated.
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @02:48AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @02:48AM (#720799)

        > And fuck everyone who teaches that profits for the ultrawealthy justify ruining anyone's lives.

        Along with blaming the corporations for making this stuff, you also have to blame the farmers that use it because it's "cost effective". They aren't forced to buy it, although perhaps to remain competitive with other farmers (who cave to the advertising) they are under economic pressure?

        I knew at least one farmer (an early proponent of organic(*) farming post WWII, late 1940s) who rejected chemical agriculture from the start. He helped start the organic farming movement in PA and NY way back then when that group was considered "fringe" at best. A friend of my parents, he's had a big effect on my life, certainly a role model for "do your own thinking".

        * in this case "organic" means something like using fertilizer and pest control that doesn't come from a chemical plant

      • (Score: 2) by stormwyrm on Monday August 13 2018, @04:22AM (2 children)

        by stormwyrm (717) on Monday August 13 2018, @04:22AM (#720838) Journal

        [Ref: my own eyeballs. Come and spend decades in the Midwest before you dismiss this reality.]

        I'd prefer a peer-reviewed study or two rather than just an anecdote like that. So I went fishing for some. Here's one systematic review [nih.gov]:

        In conclusion, the available literature shows no solid evidence linking glyphosate exposure to adverse developmental or reproductive effects at environmentally realistic exposure concentrations.

        Here's another one [nih.gov] on all non-cancer health outcomes:

        Cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies on glyphosate and non-cancer outcomes evaluated a variety of endpoints, including non-cancer respiratory conditions, diabetes, myocardial infarction, reproductive and developmental outcomes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and Parkinson's disease. Our review found no evidence of a consistent pattern of positive associations indicating a causal relationship between any disease and exposure to glyphosate. Most reported associations were weak and not significantly different from 1.0.

        Another systematic review [nih.gov] concludes:

        Therefore, it is concluded that the use of Roundup herbicide does not result in adverse effects on development, reproduction, or endocrine systems in humans and other mammals.

        Well, there's three systematic reviews of the scientific literature that show pretty much that the endocrine disruption effects of glyphosate aren't really there. There's even more systematic reviews debunking the cancer link. Note that these three papers I've found are meta-analyses and systematic reviews that take a systematic look at as much of the relevant literature as they can, so they're probably rather stronger than even single peer-reviewed studies. Perhaps then there's something else at work rather than Roundup that's causing your observations?

        As much as Monsanto has done a lot of wickedness in its time (toxic waste dumping, Agent Orange, many others), I'd like to crucify them for something that actually has scientific evidence behind it rather than something as nebulous as that.

        --
        Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate.
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Monday August 13 2018, @08:52AM (1 child)

          by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Monday August 13 2018, @08:52AM (#720872) Homepage Journal

          You yourself are guilty of the very same sophistry that Monsanto indulges in: your citations only studied glyphosate and not RoundUp.

          --
          Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @07:49PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @07:49PM (#721114)

            Roundup has been widely used for MANY decades.
            If it were the superpoison some people think it is, you would have seen MANY, MANY cases of disease from it by now.
            It's just not there. Still, it is prudent to minimize your exposure to any chemical.

  • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @03:56AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @03:56AM (#720828)

    Bayer Just bought out Monsanto. So Bayer needs to fight this out?

  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Monday August 13 2018, @08:59AM (1 child)

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Monday August 13 2018, @08:59AM (#720874) Homepage Journal

    It makes them RoundUp-Ready.

    They're not GMO for reasons of nutrition or even marketability.

    My personal reason for avoiding GMO corn and soy is not about getting cancer myself, but what RoundUp does to the lifeforms that healthy soil is composed of.

    Plants need other nutrients than just Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus. There was a time when farmers handled that with crop rotation and by letting fields lie fallow every few years.

    I recently suffered an infection in my mouth that made it painful to swallow. I avoided hunger by drinking lots of Soylent - 7-Eleven carries it now.

    Soylent contains Soy Protein Isolate, Sunflower Oil and Maltodextrin, a natural sweetener extracted from beets. It also has oodles of added vitamins and minerals.

    But far better is it to eat non-GMO soybeans - yes one can still get them - sunflower seeds and beets. That way you get lots of nutrients that the scientific community has yet to identify.

    I'm puzzled that Santa Cruz' Nutritional Supplement Fans don't understand that. It was quite common for me to see someone buy dozens of different supplements all at the same time. Just eat some motherfucking food and leave the pills at the drugstore.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @10:18AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @10:18AM (#720886)

      My personal reason for avoiding GMO corn and soy is not about getting cancer myself, but what RoundUp does to the lifeforms that healthy soil is composed of.

      Well said. And besides devastating the ecosystem there is the Let's patent life forms debate to be had. I do not want to pay royalties for growing my own food.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @03:17PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @03:17PM (#721005)

    Roundup is not really that toxic to humans in the scheme of things when used wisely.
    Please concentrate on all the other ubiquitous pesticides that are categorically toxic to humans and animals.
    Roundup Ready is a terrible crop practice though because it is based on overuse of a valuable weedkiller. Terrible idea. Eventually it will become worthless against superweeds and people should limit their exposure to ALL chemicals, not bathe in them.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @09:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13 2018, @09:40PM (#721134)

      Roundup is not really that toxic to humans in the scheme of things when used wisely.

      So, do you have any evidence of it being used wisely?

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