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posted by martyb on Friday June 22 2018, @11:05PM   Printer-friendly
from the something-that-kills-something-might-be-bad-for-you dept.

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.

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  • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Saturday June 23 2018, @12:31AM (9 children)

    by Sulla (5173) on Saturday June 23 2018, @12:31AM (#697058) Journal
    Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday June 23 2018, @12:43AM

    by frojack (1554) on Saturday June 23 2018, @12:43AM (#697063) Journal

    And there it is.

    To the GP: Would it have been any less true had it been from Fox News?

    Fox did cover it [], tangentially a couple years later.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by captain normal on Saturday June 23 2018, @02:45AM (7 children)

    by captain normal (2205) on Saturday June 23 2018, @02:45AM (#697086)

    "...researchers from Canada's McGill University and the U.S.'s University of Minnesota say that the differences are not uniform across every crop with some performing better than others."

    "Organic cereals and vegetables fared worst with yields 26% and 33% respectively lower than conventional agriculture
    "But other organic produce fared much better.
    Legumes (e.g. soybeans) were 11% lower while fruits were almost comparable with conventional farming with yields just 3% lower.
    "I think what we were able to do is identify situations where organic agriculture performs well and situations where (it) is not so good," said co-author Verena Seufert from McGill University.
    "What we should do is try to address the issues and build systems that achieve high organic yields,"she added.
    "Researchers say higher quantities of nitrogen in the soil enable organic crops to perform better while pH-neutral soils can also provide a better growing environment.
    "Achieving sustainable food security will require many different farming techniques including organic, conventional and possibly "hybrid" systems, researchers say, enabling food production at affordable prices for both farmers and consumers, while limiting the impact on the environment.
    "As the study points out, numerous comparative studies of organic and conventional yields have already been conducted with conflicting results.
    A 2007 study "Organic agriculture and the global food supply" concluded organic food could match and, in some instances, exceed the production of conventional farming.
    "But, as Seufert and colleagues point out, the findings were queried for use of data from "crops not truly under organic management and inappropriate yield comparisons."
    The new study has attempted to address some of the criticisms by limiting analysis to "truly" organic systems.
    Food is an emotional topic, says Seufert and much more than about consuming nutrients.
    "There are a lot of social and cultural values that we associate with food. So many of these food debates -- like meat or vegetarian diets, about local or global food systems -- all of these debates are often quite heated," she said.
    "What we need to do is to try and understand the arguments on both sides and assess the different options as objectively as possible, by supporting them with empirical evidence.
    "Maybe we should not be looking for the silver bullet solution, but rather combining different approaches and taking the best from different suggestions."
    But Megan Kintzer, director of development at the Rodale Institute, an organic farm and research center in Pennsylvania, says that organic farming is a more sustainable system.
    "There is less energy use from organic farming, and the conventional systems produce 40% more greenhouse gases," Kintzer said."

    So mixed results.

    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts"- --Daniel Patrick Moynihan--
    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Saturday June 23 2018, @02:49AM

      by captain normal (2205) on Saturday June 23 2018, @02:49AM (#697089)

      Sorry about the WOT. But I thought everyone should see what was said, instead of a headline.

      Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts"- --Daniel Patrick Moynihan--
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Saturday June 23 2018, @02:58AM (3 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 23 2018, @02:58AM (#697097) Journal

      There are more alternatives than just "glyphosate or organic". Agent Orange and glyphosate have been indicted many times. Monsanto spent zillions of dollars (like the tobacco industry) to "prove" that their product is "safe".

      What did we do before glyphosate and neonics? Yeah, there was DDT, but that wasn't the only insecticide ever used.

      Why is glyphosate pushed so hard, anyway? Or, neonics? Obviously, the owner (Bayer owns both now, of course) can produce it cheaply, and reap a huge profit. Other insecticides may be more expensive to manufacture, may or may not be less effective, and thus, be less profitable. But, the fact is, there ARE alternatives.

      And, this brings us back to the old arguments against monocultures. Assuming that we need to kill bugs, why do we want to use the same insecticide all over the world, on all crops? Don't some bugs build up a tolerance? What if glyphosates stop working? What then? Will we be completely helpless against the bug invasion?

      Huh. I'm headed to Hollywierd. I think I've got a blockbuster here . . . .

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday June 23 2018, @03:01AM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 23 2018, @03:01AM (#697100) Journal

        Glyphosate isn't an insecticide - it's an herbicide. Everyone here knew that, lol, and so did I. I'm doing to many things at once, including getting ready for work. Sorry!

      • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Saturday June 23 2018, @03:46AM (1 child)

        by Sulla (5173) on Saturday June 23 2018, @03:46AM (#697114) Journal

        I was going with the assumption that getting rid of monsanto was same as getting rid of every product they make. We could survive without a few of their chems, but we would face hardship if all of them went away all at once.

        Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
    • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Saturday June 23 2018, @03:44AM

      by Sulla (5173) on Saturday June 23 2018, @03:44AM (#697113) Journal

      My comment was not that organics are bad, more that they are currently not as efficient. I imagine if we went full organic we would find ways to make it work better and raise crop yeilds, but in the meantime we would be causing problems for a lot of third world nations. Western nations can eat the costs and suffer through the temporary lower yeilds, but many other countries would not be able to bare the additional burden.

      Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
    • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Saturday June 23 2018, @03:49AM

      by Sulla (5173) on Saturday June 23 2018, @03:49AM (#697116) Journal []

      Roundup is used on grains to dry them out so there is a significantly shorter time from harvest to bale/dry to storage. Yeilds from organic would be significantly off because a rain would destroy entire crops if they happen when the bales are drying.

      Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam