Second Roundup Decision: Jury Finds Weedkiller a “Substantial Cause” of Plantiff’s Cancer

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

A San Francisco jury found last Tuesday that Roundup – the glyphosate-based weedkiller – was “a substantial cause “ of the plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in the first of a three-phrase process, which focused only on scientific evidence.

Roundup is the largest selling herbicide in the world, originally developed and marketed by US agricultural company Monsanto. Following a $63  billion acquisition last June, Bayer, the German pharmaceuticals company better known for its aspirin, also assumed the Roundup legal liability.

On Wednesday, the same jury began the second trial phase, during which it will decide whether Bayer is liable. If the jury decides yes, the third and final phase would determine damages.

This is the second time since last August that a jury has found in favour of a Roundup plaintiff, according to the Wall Street Journal’s account, Monsanto Hit by $289 Million Verdict in Cancer Case. A judge scaled back the jury damages award to $78 million from $289 million; that earlier verdict is under appeal.

At least 11,200 further legal claims are pending – more than 760 in the same San Francisco federal district court that heard Hardeman’s case, as reported in U.S. Jury Hears More Evidence as Second Phase of Roundup Cancer Trial Begins by the New York Times.

Bayer’s Legal Tactics

The Grey Lady’s coverage warns that this second verdict is a serious setback to the new trial strategy Bayer had adopted for the second proceeding in Jury Finding Upends Bayer’s Roundup Defense Strategy: Experts:

Bayer AG had hoped a new trial strategy focusing jurors on scientific evidence could stem a burgeoning tide of U.S. lawsuits over its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup, but a second jury finding on Tuesday that the product caused cancer has narrowed the company’s options, some legal experts said.

The jury decision was a blow to Bayer after the judge in the Hardeman case, at the company’s request, had split the trial, severely limiting evidence plaintiffs could present in the first phase. Tuesday’s defeat on terms considered advantageous to Bayer sets up the second phase to be even tougher and limits the grounds on which the company could appeal any final verdict, the experts said.

“The fact that Bayer lost this trial despite it being set up in the most favorable way for them is a huge setback,” said Thomas Rohback, a Connecticut-based defense lawyer.

The Hardeman trial isn’t yet over. The NYT account examines some of the relevant issues more fully, and I won’t repeat all that analysis here. A key takeaway:

Bayer’s new strategy was focused on keeping out plaintiffs’ allegations that the company improperly influenced scientists, regulators and the public about the safety of Roundup. Bayer has denied it acted inappropriately and said in public statements following the August verdict that it thought the jury was inflamed by the claims of corporate misconduct.

Vince Chhabria, the San Francisco federal judge overseeing the Hardeman case, agreed with the company’s argument that such evidence was a “distraction” from the scientific question of whether glyphosate causes cancer. He agreed to split the trial in a January order.

Had Bayer had won the first phase, there would have been no second phase looking at company liability. Now that it has lost, almost all of the previously excluded evidence can be presented to the jury.

On Wednesday when the second phase of the trial began that’s exactly what the plaintiff’s attorneys did, emphasizing, according to the NYT account:

Monsanto influenced the science around Roundup through its “cozy” relationship with regulators.

Bayer could convince the jury in the second phase that, despite their finding that Roundup played a substantial role in Hardeman’s cancer, the company was not liable. Experts said that was unlikely.

Scope of Bayer’s Liability

Just as one swallow does not a summer make, so it’s too early to call a trend based on these two verdicts. The second action continues,  and not only has Bayer not yet been found liable, but no damages have been awarded. Nor has the appeals processs even begun, let alone been exhausted.

So it is premature, to say the least, to attempt to calculate what potential legal liability Bayer may face. Six further Roundup cases are docketed for trial this year. The two pro-plaintiff rulings may prod other potential plaintiffs into bringing actions.

But Mr. Market is seriously reassessing the wisdom of Bayer’s decision to acquire Monsanto.

Last Wednesday, following announcement of the Hardeman verdict, Bayer’s shares plummeted by nearly 10%; the share price has declined a total of 35% since last August’s verdict, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Bayer Shares Fall After Jury Finds Exposure to Roundup Helped Trigger Cancer.

And today, the NYT reported in Bayer CEO Says His Team Retains Backing of Supervisory Board-Report:

Bayer’s management retains the backing of its supervisory board, its chief executive said, after pressure on the company increased when a second jury in the United States ruled its glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused cancer.

Today’s NYT account picks up on a report in the German press:

“The share price is significantly impacted by the legal cases related to glyphosate in America, the discounts are greatly exaggerated,” Chief Executive Werner Baumann told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS).

“The management board enjoys the full backing of the supervisory board,” added Baumann, who has been Bayer CEO for almost three years.

As to the wisdom of acquiring Monsanto:

Baumann defended Bayer’s move to acquire Monsanto, saying it “was and is a good idea”, according to the FAS interview.

Asked about a potential breakup of Bayer, Baumann said the group had a clear strategy based on three divisions — pharmaceuticals, crop science and consumer health.

….

Talk of a break-up has been fuelled since it emerged in December that activist fund Elliott had taken a stake.

Los Angeles County Stops Roundup Use

In the wake of these two jury verdicts, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has stopped the use of Roundup by county departments, according to this NBC News Los Angeles report, LA County Halts Use of Popular Weed Killer on County Property.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger recommended the moratorium on glyphosate — a main ingredient in the herbicide brand Roundup.

“I am asking county departments to stop the use of this herbicide until public health and environmental professionals can determine if it’s safe for further use in L.A. County and explore alternative methods for vegetation management,” Barger said.

The motion to impose the moratorium, co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kueh, also cited “a growing body of scientific study” questioning the of safety of the herbicide:

“In a 2015 study led by 17 experts from 11 countries, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that glyphosate should be classified as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans,'” Kuehl said. “That conclusion makes it imperative that we question any long-term use of this controversial herbicide, and that’s exactly what this motion calls for.”

The US Environmental Protection Agency in 2017 concluded that the weedkiller is not likely to cause cancer in humans, according to NBC. California does not agree and sought instead – unsuccessfully – to get the maker to label Roundup with a warning.

Skepticism over the WHO position is not confined to the US. In December 2017, the European Food Safety Organization renewed approval for the use of glyphosate, for a further five years, according to Europa.

The waters are very muddy here, and it will take some time for some of this to clear.

For the time being, the WSJ ran a happy clappy piece, suggesting farmers have yet to abandon the product, Despite Rulings, Farmers Remain Loyal to Bayer’s Roundup:

Farmers are standing by Bayer AG’s BAYRY -3.90% Roundup herbicide despite rulings from two juries that the world’s most widely used weedkiller caused cancer in plaintiffs.

The chemical, used on the vast majority of corn, soybean and cotton acres planted in the U.S., remains prized by farmers for its low cost and effectiveness.

“I don’t have any concerns with safety,” said Danny Murphy, who raises soybeans and corn near Canton, Miss. Mr. Murphy on Wednesday was preparing to apply glyphosate to his soybean fields after a bout of wet weather over the past week delayed his work.

 The Bottom Line

Roundup plaintiffs are just beginning to get their days in court. Bayer will need to expend significant money defending against these lawsuits.

In the meantime, entities such as LA County are likely to abandon use of Roundup.

And a tetchy Mr. Market may be unwilling to wait and see whether courts ultimately accept  Bayer’s position that Roundup doesn’t cause cancer.

 

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48 comments

  1. human

    The US Environmental Protection Agency in 2017 concluded that the weedkiller is not likely to cause cancer in humans,

    Love the framing, but, as expected from _our_ EPA. Reading between the lines, this statement is that some percentage of the population _is_ vulnerable. The EU acts on the precautionary principle. The EPA, not so much. Go and die.

    (Hadn’t seen the above comment yet. Will have to review. )

    Reply
  2. California Bob

    I’ve been applying Roundup extensively for years and can’t understand how anyone would get ‘dosed’ enough to cause cancer. It’s heavily diluted in water and applied as a spray–not a mist–and you’d really have to try to ingest enough to cause any issues*. Use nitrile gloves and a respirator if you want to be extra careful, and take a shower and wash your clothes after applying it. I know lots of farmers who use it heavily and none have developed any cancer (though one farmer’s life did suffer from thyroid cancer, which she survived). Also, it hydrolyzes in a few hours. I am concerned about residue in soil and plants, however, so would be interested in a thorough investigation of that aspect; i.e. long-term health consequences to people who do not actually work with the compound.

    * I understand this article is about the legal wrangling and not the science. I’d like t know the science; I’m skeptical of juries, and even judges, when science is involved. I have a background in chemistry and worked in a pesticide formulation lab for several years, and I was always careful with the chemicals, even the ones designated ‘mostly harmless’ (LD50 north of 500 or so).

    Reply
    1. Marlin

      The guy of the first case -Dewayne Johnson- had twice defects of the gear used to do the spraying, where he was completely soaked in the stuff.
      The “science” is unclear, but irrelevant for the court.
      – an article, I think even recently linked in the links, “found” a relative increase of 40% for non-Hodgekin lyphoma cancer; both Johnson and Hardeman have this kind of cancer. I put quotes around the “found”, because in my field of science an effect, with a statistical significance of less than 3 sigma isn’t considered as evidence. The study was a meta-study revisiting cases from previous studies and found an effect of a bit more than two sigma. While on first sight, this looks like more than 95% certainty for a connection, which the authors used to justify talking of compelling evidence for a link between this type of cancer and glyphosate, there are two big problems:
      1st a purely statistical issue. If the authors reuse the old cases, they have to think about the look-elsewhere-effect. If you want to know, if colour in marshmallows is carcinogeneous and you accept a 95% statistical evidence, you must not test each colour separately. Otherwise, you may check green marshmallows, red ones, blue coloured, oh, the yellow ones seem to be dangerous! Certainly in the past other types of cancer than just non-Hodgekin lymphoma were tested. Presumably the reason we haven’t heard more about them is, because no 95% confidence level effect was found.
      The 2nd issue are the very difficult systematics for purely statistical studies. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer mentioned above previously has classified coffee as likely causing cancer, when later studies found, that filtered coffee actually helps to prevent cancer. It was later found, that people, who drink lots of coffee as well smoke a lot. Calculating out the estimated effect of the smoking, as well the studies previously linking coffee to cancer found the opposite. We are generally talking here about fairly small absolute effects (otherwise the evidence would be much easier to find. 40% relative effect may sound a lot, but non-Hodgekin lymphoma is generally quite rare; if all thousands of people suing Monsanto have this, it would be trivial to establish a much larger statistical significance). So how sure can one be, that there are no other differences in the various groups used for the study to explain differences in cancer rates?

      – the jury, on the other hand, asked for the final deliberation of the Hardeman-case once more him personally to testify. But what useful information can he give? The fact, that he had cancer was nothing under dispute, the fact, that he used round-up wasn’t under dispute. I really can’t imagine what decisive input he could give, which would clarify the empirical evidence. If this would have been the important point some expert would have been called in.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        Item:
        https://www.ecowatch.com/monsanto-hires-internet-trolls-2401703407.html
        Monsanto hires internet trolls to cover up their main product’s cancer risk.”

        All that laboratory talk they interject into their looonnnnggg posts might give them away?

        The good news is:

        Massive Study Finds Eating Organic Slashes Cancer Risks

        Eating organic foods free from pesticides is strongly correlated with a dramatic reduction in the risk of cancer, according to a groundbreaking study published today in an American Medical Association journal.

        The observational study led by a team of French government scientists tracked the diets of nearly 69,000 people. Four years later, those who consumed the most organic foods were 25 percent less likely to develop cancer.

        https://www.ewg.org/release/massive-study-finds-eating-organic-slashes-cancer-risks

        Reply
        1. Wombat

          Exactly. Not that these trolls will respond when anyone calls them on it.

          Marlin claims to be in a field where you need 99.7% confidence to be considered “evidence” (3 sigma). For all that is holy, if that is not the definition of moving the statistical goal post? You would need tens of thousands of people, spray half of them with glyphosate, and wait twenty years to “prove” anything under this bar. So we need “beyond reasonable doubt” threshold now for a civil court? That’s not how it works.

          Why do all these purported scientists get to pick which side is the null hypothesis? Why don’t we go in with the null hypothesis that Glyphosate DOES cause cancer? Now you prove with 99.7% confidence that it does not. Good luck.

          Reply
      2. Felix_47

        Reasonable probability means greater than 50%. The key is how the question is phrased. Obviously the chances of getting non Hodgkin’s lymphoma from Roundup is less than 50%. If you get it the question is whether Roundup caused it to a greater than 50% probability and no matter what side you are on the answer is not obvious……meaning likely less than 50%. From a traditional medical standpoint it is not enough to suggest a possible statistical relation. It is necessary to show a reasonable mechanism of injury. That is why we no longer accept “pothole cancer” or trauma cancer as causation. The second jury apparently wanted to interview Hardaman, the first plaintiff. That suggests the jury already made up their mind. The average American thinks any chemical causes cancer. I think the reason Bayer thought buying Monsanto was a good idea was because they have better scientific and math training in Germany and they don’t have our style plaintiff bar. The Abitur exam taken at age 15 is more advanced in math that most of our college graduates. Management of Bayer are all abiturients. There loser pays. They don’t do contingency. They don’t do jury trials. They don’t have billion dollar verdicts. So it was a cultural gap that may prove fatal to Bayer. I wonder how we will handle all the other manufacturers of glyphosphate since Monsanto is not the only maker. They may have to do a national settlement like asbestos. If you are a contrarian investor I would stay away from Bayer for now. 11,000 cases x 10 million=110 Billion. They earn less than 5 billion per year. It might make sense to split the company and let the ag chem side go bankrupt and let the lawyers fight over the pieces. Problem is no judge will allow it. Another problem…..Bayer is not a US company so they are unlikely to get a bailout from Uncle Sam. Monsanto probably would have.

        Reply
    2. rob

      I could understand how people who use it a lot, would have a fairly regular exposure to it. especially when it has been treated as if it were quite safe. Compared to many chemicals people in farming and landscape management use, like pesticides,fertilizers,or other things you specifically don’t want “on you”…. a little round-up seemed harmless enough. Like when anything that has been sprayed recently is allowed to brush up against you as you walk through it… or regular over spray blowing around or splatter, you might not even realize till you have been doing it for a while….cause your clothes are wet….
      I think it is easy to understand the casual exposure to something you aren’t really afraid of, and use all the time.. A person who was an old hardware engineer used to mention that back in the day, they would be up to their elbows in methyl ethyl ketone…. all the time…
      Workplaces tend to let peoples better judgement slide sometimes… in what becomes a regular task.

      And I remember about 10 years ago (or less) the big hurdle monsanto had with being sued in court for damage done by glysophosphate , was when they were being “sued?” by the courts of el salvador and honduras…
      Then the case was that the glysophosphate wasn’t the real culprit, it was something about the glys—, that when in contact with the particular make up of soil in the region was prone to fixing heavy metals in ? the water? the food crops?… and these were the cause for the liver? kidney? cancers? errant function? of organs , that was not uncommon in the region…. . the governments were trying to ban their use…..
      I didn’t hear the final verdict of the case…. just that it would have been a serious blow for round-up to be banned….. mostly because if the round-up was banned… it was the market for all the round-up ready seeds, that was the major revenue for monsanto… and if you can’t use the one…. no need for the other…..

      Reply
    3. Peter

      There is actually no real science behind the claims, and the first case that was ruled on in favour of the complainant clearly showed that this guy almost used it as a body spray, disregarding all safety measures.
      I have as part of my being a once upon a time prodessional agrologist resaerched a lot of the lit. regarding glyphosate, and apart fom the “likely” claim there is no hard evidence for causality if used with the approbriate safety measures.
      One has to keep in mind that any industrial products like solvents, gasoline and any amount of paint thinners and a host of other products can cause cancer – without much concern for those who use it inapprobriately.

      The arguments by the green faction becomes laughable when one considers that the option not to apply glyphosate to control weeds is increased used of farm machinery and use of fuel to do the same – which one is it now? You cannot have your grain and leave the weeds.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5515989/

      Carcinogenicity in animals

      Information sources
      There is only one published study on the carcinogenicity of the active substance glyphosate in rats (Chruscielska et al. 2000), which showed no significant increase in tumour incidences in any treated group. Two additional published studies on glyphosate formulations, the first one on initiation-promotion in mice (George et al. 2010) and the second one, a study of rats (Seralini et al. 2014) that was retracted and republished creating some controversies (Fagan et al. 2015), were considered inadequate by IARC and EFSA for carcinogenicity assessment (European Food Safety Authority 2012; IARC 2015).

      In fact, all oral studies, even at very high doses, are negative and the only in vivo mammalian positive evidence was for intraperitoneal studies at very high doses at which (cyto)toxicity is expected.

      There is a study for problems with glyphosate residue in soils and its aquatic organisms:
      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166445X16302375#!

      Glyphosate is a chelating agent that can form stable complexes with divalent metal ions including Cu(II). Little is known about the bioavailability and ecotoxicity of glyphosate-Cu(II) complexes to aquatic organisms. In this study, we used video tracking and behavior analysis to investigate sublethal effects of binary mixtures of glyphosate and Cu(II) to juvenile D. magna. Behavioral responses were quantified for individual D. magna after 24 h and 48 h exposure to glyphosate and glyhosate-Cu(II) mixtures. Sublethal concentrations resulted in decreases in swimming velocity, acceleration speed, and distance moved whereas inactive time of D. magna increased.

      And then there is the fact that non glyphosate chemicals in the final product has an effect

      https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/how-toxic-is-the-worlds-most-popular-herbicide-roundup-30308

      History shows that on occasion, some authorities have seen the need to re-evaluate certain additives. For instance, Germany’s authorities found in 2015 that the surfactant polyethoxylated tallowamine (POE tallowamine) contributed a large amount of toxicity to the herbicides it was used in, such as Roundup. This led to an EU-wide reassessment by the EFSA, which concluded that “a likely explanation for the poisoning occurrences observed in humans is that it is mostly driven by the POE-tallowamine component of the formulation.” The E.U. subsequently decided to ban the use of the co-formulant. Its use is allowed in the U.S.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        ” You cannot have your grain and leave the weeds”.

        Farmer Gabe Brown of North Dakota grows his grain and has no weeds and does NO tractor-based weeding and ALSO uses no Roundup on his grainfields. By now he has many videos findable on You Tube explaining how he does that.

        Also, spraying Roundup ON the grainplants in order to kill them and dry them down all at once for harvesting convenience has nothing to do with “weeds”.

        Reply
        1. Stadist

          This spray-to-kill-drying is also the method that leads to high concentration of substance on grain.

          This specific custom is prohibited at least in Finland.

          Reply
  3. Aumua

    I too would like to see the actual scientific evidence and case that connects the evidence to the conclusion. Otherwise I kind of have to take the article with a grain of salt, in spite of its claims.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      It would take a matter of seconds to type in ‘glyphosate’ and ‘cancer’ into google scholar. A little longer to go through the 20,000 or so hits. Fortunately, some of the articles summarise the issues and the evidence such as this one (via Nature). Short answer – epidemiological studies are ambiguous but animal studies point to it causing non-Hodgkin Lymphoma via genotoxicity and oxidative stress.

      Reply
      1. Peter

        Oh yeas, that “probable” conclusion without any firm evidence. I refer to a much more competent study that adresses the problem with the IARC study vs. the EU study:
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5515989/

        Positive evidence regarding an association between exposure to glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, observed in some case-control studies but not confirmed by cohort studies, was considered sufficient by IARC to conclude on “limited evidence” in humans.

        The whole discussion of evidenceless claims about glyphosate seems to stem from a harshly nonscientific stance by so called greens akin to religious beliefs that similarily lack any evidence – a feel good approach because to be part of “green” strokes the Ego and the feeling one does something – the same with the idiotic trend to e-vehicles..

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If you feel that glyphosate is a benign-at-residue-level chemical and that it deserves our support, you can take the lead in supporting it by making sure to eat food with glyphosate residue in it. The more glyphosate residue it has, possibly the more glyphosate was used in growing it. So eating food with the highest possible glyphosate residue level would be supporting the most possible glyphosate use.

          https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/degeneration-nation-gmos-toxic-chemicals-and-factory-farms?utm_medium=email&utm_source=engagingnetworks&utm_campaign=OB+618&utm_content=OB+618

          Here is a link designed to help people aVOID food with glyphosate residue. But you can turn it around and use this list to seek OUT the food with the MOST glyphosate residue. And eat THAT in order to demonstrate your support for glyphosate.

          By the way, are you the same Peter who used to comment at Ian Welsh?

          Reply
          1. Peter Moritz

            I did not say it was benign, I said the evidence is lacking to announce any carcinogenic action of Glyphosate.
            Unfortunately this debate again reminds me of the debatesd that as an atheist I had with many a Christian – SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE.
            As I had posted, the evidence is lacking and all that remains is a “probable”.

            This seems to be the same attitude also that I hace encountered on anti vax sites and News blogs where the tinfoilhatters raise screams about “BIG PHARMA – cue the scary music.

            And I have heard to much bullshit from supposed organic producers to take ANY of their claims – that are of course biased toward their industry – seriously.

            Reply
            1. Quanka

              You should ask Monsanto for their evidence. They studied this shit for decades. Why they won’t release full scientific studies/papers on what they found? Why they only release the most favorable findings?

              Reply
            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              I take Farmer Gabe Brown’s claims seriously. They impress me as bullshinola, not bullshit. He says he invites scientists and others onto his operation to see and study what he is doing. He also invites any customer to come see what he does.
              If those are false statements on his part, eventually his claims of “invitation to see and observe” will be debunked. I haven’t heard of that happening.

              Various conventional farmer groups invite him to come and speak to their meetings. There are videos of this on you tube.

              And the same goes for Certified Organic Farmers as well. I am still waiting to hear any of Gary Zimmer’s claims about his Certified Organic thousand-acre-operation in Wisconsin being debunked.
              https://www.realworldsurvivor.com/2015/02/18/perfecting-biological-farming-at-otter-creek-organic-farm/

              If you feel Roundup and Monsanto deserve your support, you know how to support them. Find and eat the “highest-Roundup-residue” foods you can find.
              And best of luck to you.

              Reply
  4. heresy101

    One of many articles about the Devil – Bayer/Monsanto
    https://www.ecowatch.com/monsanto-glyphosate-cheerios-2093130379.html

    Enjoy your Cheerios, Doritos, Oreos and Stacy’s Pita Chips.
    The tests conducted by Anresco were done on 29 foods commonly found on grocery store shelves. According to the report, glyphosate residues were found in:
    General Mills’ Cheerios at 1,125.3 parts per billion (ppb)
    Kashi soft-baked oatmeal dark chocolate cookies at 275.57 ppb
    Ritz Crackers at 270.24 ppb.
    Different levels were found in Kellogg’s Special K cereal, Triscuit Crackers and several other products.

    A key reason glyphosate residues persist in so many food products has to do with its widespread use in food production. Glyphosate is sprayed directly on many crops genetically engineered to tolerate the herbicide, such as corn, soybeans, sugar beets and canola. Glyphosate is also sprayed directly on many types of conventional crops ahead of harvest, including wheat, oats and barley. In all, glyphosate is used in some fashion in the production of at least 70 food crops, according to the EPA, including a range of fruits, nuts and veggies. Even spinach growers use glyphosate.

    The nonprofits behind the report said that concerns about glyphosate comes as new research shows that Roundup can cause liver and kidney damage in rats at only 0.05 ppb, and additional studies have found that levels as low as 10 ppb can have toxic effects on the livers of fish.

    A recent analysis done by a senior FDA chemist found glyphosate residues in several types of oatmeal products, including baby food, and in several honey samples. The glyphosate residues found in honey were higher than allowed in the European Union.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Part of the reason glyphosate is sprayed on mainstream grain is to kill all the plants all at once at the same time . . . to “force-ripen” the grain all at once all at the same time. That way, it can all be harvested at once with one pass.

      The only way to avoid this is to buy certified organic grains, seeds, beans, etc. or to grow your own, or to buy the kind of food items which are not yet glyphosate-sprayed for even-kill dry-down.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        “Cheerios are GMO free!” Yup, but they use other pesticides on them and blast the oats with Roundup to burn the plants to get the last of the grain off the stalk. Kids love the residues!

        Food is either organic* or it is not. You have one body, eat high quality organic food certified by high quality certifiers, that means, CCOF, California Certified Organic Farmers,
        or Oregon Tilth, both of which are common.
        Way down the line in quality is USDA Certified Organic, which is still better than conventional and and at the bottom of the quality lineup, almost useless,
        is Quality Assurance International, that certifies crap grown in China as “organic”.
        https://www.cornucopia.org/2016/10/amidst-controversy-secrecy-lawsuits/
        That’s what they sell at WholeFoods, a.k.a., A$$whole Foods, a.k.a. AmazonFoods.

        Reply
  5. Summer

    All of this relevant to the fight against climate change.
    If you can’t get a chemical off the market that is killing people today (NOW), how can I listen to anything you have to say about what may kill people tomorrow?

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Because the same people who are talking about glyphosate killing you today do not HAVE the POWER to force it off the market. That does not mean they are wrong about it killing you.
      And if the same people who are right about glyphosate killing you today are the same people talking about what may kill people tomorrow, they have already proven they know about glyphosate so they might be worth listening to about something else.

      Having the KNOWLEDGE is a DIFFERENT THING from having the POWER.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        Because the same people who are talking about glyphosate killing you today do not HAVE the POWER to force it off the market. That does not mean they are wrong about it killing you.

        By the same token it doesn’t mean that they’re right either. I want to be clear that I don’t put it past unscrupulous corporations like Monsanto/Bayer to keep pushing this stuff even when they know about or aren’t sure about its deleterious effects. But I also know that other people and entities can be unscrupulous too, either for the purposes of pushing a political agenda or for making a quick couple million. So that’s why I ask for a strong scientific case to be presented, either way.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          You tube used to have a lot of videos by Professor Emeritus Don Huber about glyphosate and GMOs, both apart and together. Most of those videos have either been removed or have been buried under the ever-building flows of video sewage being constantly uploaded to you tube.

          Here is one of those videos which is still findable. It is of a well-practiced and refined lecture he gives to groups around the world. This presentation was recorded in New Zealand.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh6UrZ4opYE

          Reply
  6. drumlin woodchuckles

    If there are any Certified Organic micro-breweries or nano-breweries, and if one can trust them to really truly only use Certified Organic grain, and if one can really truly trust the Certified Organic grain to be really truly “Roundup-Free” just because it is “Certified” organic . . . then one might consider buying Certified Organic beer as a way to avoid the Roundup residue added to mainstream grain.

    Reply
  7. Cal2

    Vertical Integration baby!

    Bayer is now the maker of the carcinogens AND the chemotherapy drugs.

    Went into to local hardware store and asked them if I could buy some asbestos.
    The guy laughed at me and said “We can’t sell that, it causes cancer.”

    I picked up a jug of Roundup and said, “Then why are you still selling this?”

    Every person reading this should pressure their local hardware and gardening stores to stop selling that poison. “Think of the liability–you guys could be sued for everything…”

    Reply
  8. dutch

    Asking a jury to decide a scientific question is insane. It’s done all the time, but it is still insane. In science, many questions simply cannot be answered based upon the evidence available. An answer must wait upon further evidence or a better theory. A court of law cannot return a “no decision”. Every question brought to court must be decided. So a jury decides that Roundup caused so-and-so’s lymphoma. This has no scientific value whatsoever, and advances our knowledge of toxicology not one bit. Does Roundup cause cancer? Nobody knows.

    Reply
    1. Wombat

      Sure, many questions “can’t be answered” with 99% confidence, or whatever unreasonable statistical bar is placed by Bayer (should we subject a 500 person test group to get sprayed with glysophate, to get the data we need to make a “scientific” assessment?).

      So we turn to the layman on the jury instead of relying on the big funded “science” that said that tobacco, trans fats, opiates, and added sugar was safe. In the world of the blind, where the biggest check wins… the one eyed jury is king. I’ll take the disinterested party.

      Reply
      1. dutch

        A 99% confidence interval is not unreasonably high, in fact it is actually quite a low bar – 1 chance in 100 that the result is a random occurance. The CERN result confirming the existance of the Higgs boson had a 5 sigma confidence level – about 1 chance in 3.5 million.

        As to your suspicions of bribery: If Bayer could have bribed the scientists, it could have bribed the jury just as easily. BTW who is bribing you?

        Reply
  9. chuck roast

    The Bayer corporate suite must be a real clown show. This is what due diligence means at this level…

    ...a comprehensive appraisal of a business undertaken by a prospective buyer, especially to establish its assets and liabilities and evaluate its commercial potential.

    So, prior to the purchase of Monsanto Inc., the clowns had no clue that there was serious litigation being prepared or underway that could not only potentially compromise Monsanto, but could drive any potential suitor into bankruptcy.

    This is corporate stupidity on an historic level. On the other hand (we economists famously have two hands) it may simply be the kind of criminal control fraud that Black and Hudson are always going on about.

    Reply
  10. Peter

    Science is NOT bullshit spread by lawyers and incompetent courts:

    http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/extoxnet/dienochlor-glyphosate/glyphosate-ext.html

    Glyphosate is highly adsorbed on most soils especially those with high organic content. The compound is so strongly attracted to the soil that little is expected to leach from the applied area. Microbes are primarily responsible for the breakdown of the product. The time it takes for half of the product to break down ranges from 1 to 174 days. Because glyphosate is so tightly bound to the soil, little is transferred by rain or irrigation water. One estimate showed less than two percent of the applied chemical lost to runoff (4). The herbicide could move when attached to soil particles in erosion run-off. Photodecomposition plays only a minor role in environmental breakdown.

    http://ec.europa.eu/environment/archives/ppps/pdf/ma_reding_annex4.pdf

    Metabolism studies have been conducted on lactating goats and laying hens to
    determine the metabolism, distribution and expression of residues in livestock. For
    both studies, no evidence was found for additional metabolites or for the accumulation
    of glyphosate or AMPA. Additionally the studies show that there is very little transfer
    of residues from feed to animal tissues and no bioaccumulation of residues occurs.
    Livestock feeding studies using glyphosate and AMPA were conducted with swine,
    poultry and lactating cows. For these studies, test groups of animals were fed a daily
    diet containing a 9:1 mixture of glyphosate and AMPA at total combined dietary
    levels of 40, 120 and 400 mg/kg for 28 days.
    The dosing levels represent respectively
    1x, 3x and 10x of the maximum expected residue level of glyphosate and AMPA in
    the diet. The results show that glyphosate and AMPA do not transfer to animal
    tissues; at the expected 1x dose level, glyphosate residues were <0.05 mg/kg in all
    animal tissues and <0.025 mg/kg in milk and eggs.

    https://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/emon/pubs/fatememo/glyphos.pdf

    Toxicity: Single-dose acute oral studies conducted for the U.S. EPA’s RED indicate
    that glyphosate is practically non-toxic to upland birds and only slightly toxic to
    waterfowl. Tests on warm and cold water fish indicate that technical glyphosate is
    slightly to practically non-toxic to both types.
    A study to determine chronic exposures of mammals to glyphosate observed no cellular
    changes in mice fed glyphosate at a concentration up to 300 ppm in the diet for 18
    months (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1981). A 2-year chronic study conducted
    using Sprague-Dawley rats (males) fed 0, 89, 362, and 940 mg/kg/day of glyphosate
    observed effects only in the high-dose group, indicating that for this study, the no
    observable effects limit (NOEL) for systemic toxicity is 362 mg/kg/day (8000 ppm), and
    the lowest observable effects limit (LOEL) is 940 mg/kg/day (20,000 ppm)( (Franz et al.
    1997). When glyphosate is formulated as in Roundup®, Vision®, or Accord®, it
    becomes slightly more toxic to animal species due to the presence of surfactants.

    https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5283

    For cattle and sheep (bovine and ovine species), equine, porcine and selected avian (poultry)
    species, glyphosate (and its metabolite AMPA) are not expected to have an impact on the health of
    these animals on the basis of the available data (resulting in margins of exposure between 4 and 44).
    For cattle and sheep (bovine and ovine species), the absence of adverse effects on the ruminal
    microflora based on in vitro data was demonstrated up to a dose of 292 ppm in the diet (dry matter).This level covers the maximum dietary burden for all authorised uses except the use of glyphosate on
    grass forage. Minor effects on the microbial communities of the rumen have not been investigated for
    the use of glyphosate on grass forage but can be excluded for all other uses.
    The maximum dietary burden covering all uses including grass forage (342 ppm for cattle and
    530 ppm for sheep) has been investigated in in vivo animal studies. Considering the results of the
    toxicological studies on different species and in particular the absence of adverse effect in dairy cowsfed during 28 days with a diet containing 400 ppm of glyphosate, glyphosate is not expected to have,even at the maximum dietary burden, effects on the microbial communities in the rumen impacting onthe health of bovine and ovine species
    .

    and here something for the popular consumption of science:
    https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-10-evidence-roundup-cancer.html

    Juries don’t decide science, and this latest court case produced no new scientific data. Those who believe glyphosate causes cancer often refer to the 2015 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that classified the herbicide as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

    IARC’s conclusion was arrived at using a narrower base of evidence than other recent peer-reviewed papers and governmental reviews. Australia’s regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), reviewed the safety of glyphosate after IARC’s determination. It’s 2016 report concluded that “based on current risk assessment the label instructions on all glyphosate products – when followed – provides adequate protection for users.”

    It seems to me again and again, that the level of science knowledge is generally rather low, and what is there is overridden by emotional responses and the inability to assess risk. And rather than referring to the source and science directly, hyped nonsense in the not very well educated press – after all, proper science reporters have become rather rare – seems the go to de jour.

    Reply
    1. pianicola

      Seems more like a tampering to me.

      “are not expected to”

      “With regard to a presumed higher sensitivity of livestock species at different life stages, no evidence was available, either from the available experimental data or from the literature review”

      “It is noted that possible effects on the microflora of the digestive tract were not investigated in equine and porcine species. Based on the available data and on the review of the literature, no indication of such effects could be identified”.

      “In a feeding study with Danish pigs (6 months and 2.5 years), a decrease in piglet survival rate was observed when the feed included barley treated with Cerone (containing ethephon) and Roundup (containing glyphosate). This effect could not be attributed to glyphosate since it was not observed with barley treated only with Roundup. Furthermore, a possible impact of the co-formulants could not be excluded. Malformations in newborn piglets on a Danish farm have been attributed to glyphosate simply because residues of this active substance were found at extremely variable concentrations in different organs and tissues of these animals. In the absence of any control group and taking into account the rather low dietary exposure of the sows and the results of a multitude of developmental studies (Germany, 2015), this assumption is not sufficiently substantiated to be relied upon.”

      “The overall objective of the assessment is to establish whether there is an association between any possible adverse effect on animal health and glyphosate (and its residues) when ingested via feed of plant origin (including GM feed). If an association is demonstrated, a qualitative and, if possible, a quantitative description of the relationship between the exposure and the identified adverse effect is performed. This includes an assessment of dose–response and potentially an evaluation of possible uncertainties where relevant. However, due to the draft status of the EFSA guidance on uncertainty(EFSA, 2016) and to time constraints, an uncertainty assessment applying the proposed methods was not carried out.

      Reply
    2. Tinky

      One of the problems with your claim is that studies have focussed on glyphosate alone. From a Guardian article entitled Weedkiller products more toxic than their active ingredient, tests show

      Mike DeVito, acting chief of the National Toxicology Program Laboratory, told the Guardian the agency’s work is ongoing but its early findings are clear on one key point. “We see the formulations are much more toxic. The formulations were killing the cells. The glyphosate really didn’t do it,” DeVito said.

      And why have those other ingredients not been included in studies?

      One problem government scientists have run into is corporate secrecy about the ingredients mixed with glyphosate in their products. Documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests show uncertainty within the EPA over Roundup formulations and how those formulations have changed over the last three decades.

      That confusion has continued with the NTP testing.

      “We don’t know what the formulation is. That is confidential business information,” DeVito said. NTP scientists sourced some samples from store shelves, picking up products the EPA told them were the top sellers, he said.

      So, the so-called “inerts”, some of which are clearly toxic, have never been included in any the studies to which you linked.

      It doesn’t require a Phd in order to recognize that studying the effects of the “active” ingredient alone is not providing a full or accurate picture of the potential impact of Roundup.

      Reply
  11. Chuck T

    I smell a corporate shill… Not sure if this runs afoul of the policies on this website, but some of the comments here are tripping my paid poster alarms.

    Reply
    1. Peter

      Of course, I receive a weekly check to bolster my pension income from Bayer and Monanto to try to post what the evidence really is.

      Those two clowns Chuck T and Tinky – what colours are your tinfoil conspiracy hats?

      Reply
      1. Tinky

        Here are a couple of the problems with your posts. There have been many studies of Glyphosate, and you have (cherry?) picked a few to suit your claim. I haven’t the time at the moment to review them all, but the very first that you used in the “Science is NOT bullshit” post came from Cornell, which has been exposed as being rather cosy with Monsanto and the GMO industry.

        Now, that of course does not prove that the study you quoted was biased, but I wouldn’t expect a well-informed, objective observer to feature a study linked to a questionable source.

        Secondly, and more importantly, virtually all of the studies done have focussed on glyphosate alone, as it is the “active ingredient” of Roundup. This is an obvious problem, as there are other so-called “inert” chemicals in the formula that would, in conjunction with glyphosate, produce different outcomes. In fact, there is at least one study that underscores this.

        So why, if you are actually an objective, science-based observer, would you fail to make such a crucial qualification?

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      There used to be a commenter at Ian Welsh named Peter who took these sorts of positions. I always understood Peter to be a true believer. This Peter reminds me of that Peter.

      Reply
  12. pianicola

    Glyphosate has ben found in kids urine. Well it is everywhere –probably in your bloodstream too. Places it should not be at all.

    Danish farmers have observed great improvements in their animal health by switching to non-GM feed, and this has prompted the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration to ask Aarhus University for a study of the effects of the glyphosate.

    Can glyphosate residues in the feed affect the health of farm animals?

    ”Glyphosate is valued in farming as an effective remedy to fight weeds. When the active substance glyphosate was introduced in farming in 1974, it was used for simple weed control that would normally not leave residues in the harvested crops. Later it became common to use glyphosate during the actual cultivation of crops, either for desiccation of for instance grain shortly before harvest or for weed control in crops genetically modified (GM) to be tolerant to glyphosate, like for instance GM soy beans. These new applications result in glyphosate residues in animal feed.

    In addition to its properties in weed control, glyphosate is also patented as a broad-spectre antibiotic that can affect bacteria and other microorganisms. Further, glyphosate is patented for its ability to bind minerals. The new project focuses on these two patented properties.

    ”With this knowledge of glyphosate’s ability to affect certain microorganisms it should be examined whether glyphosate can affect the composition of the bacterial population in the gut of farm animals”, says senior scientist Martin Tang Sørensen, and continues:
    ”Further, glyphosate has the property of being able to bind to metals and minerals including essential micro minerals, and it should therefore also be examined whether this affects health and productivity”.

    In 2014, a UCLA study published in Cancer Res. 2013 Jul 15; 73(14): 4222–4232, proposed a link between the onset of lymphoma and intestinal microbiota. “Intestinal bacteria modify lymphoma incidence and latency by affecting systemic inflammatory state, oxidative stress, and leucocyte genotoxicity”

    Combine the two informations and draw your own conclusion. I´m not convinced that glyphosate is harmless.

    Article: DCA – Danish Centre For Food And Agriculture, “Can glyphosate residues in the feed affect the health of farm animals?”, February 3, 2017, by author Linda Søndergaard Sørensen [ http://dca.au.dk/en/current-news/news/show/artikel/kan-rester-af-glyphosat-i-foderet-paavirke-husdyrs-sundhed/ ]

    Article: American Association for Cancer Research, “Intestinal Bacteria Modify Lymphoma Incidence and Latency by Affecting Systemic Inflammatory State, Oxidative Stress, and Leukocyte Genotoxicity”, July 2013, by authors Mitsuko L. Yamamoto, et. al [ http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/73/14/4222.long ]

    Reply
  13. lyman alpha blob

    I think people are forgetting something in this debate about whether it can be scientifically proven that Roundup causes cancer.

    Let’s assume it doesn’t. What can be scientifically proven is that it kills all sorts of plants dead as a door nail, including milkweed which is the primary food of monarch butterfly larvae, and the lack thereof is one of the main factors driving these creatures to extinction.

    So is it OK to drive any number of species extinct just so long as humans don’t get cancer? Species that pollinate the food we need to eat?

    This is a horrible product whether it causes cancer or not.

    Reply
    1. Ptolemy Philopater

      Likewise, glyphosate was originally patented by Monsanto as a bactericide and only later as an herbicide. It is particularly toxic to the gut biome of all species including insects. I believe this is responsible for the crash of insect species worldwide. When I first moved to my Pennsyltucky home, there were thousands of bees all over my lawn and fields, now there are none. The corn and soy fields around here all use glyphosate liberally. Honey bees involved in colony crash all seem to starve to death, unable to process nutrients that supplement their diet. https://www.beeculture.com/honey-bee-gut-microbia/. While this is surely anecdotal there has been research into the involvement of glyphosate in “leaky gut syndrome”. The incredible importance of a healthy biome has only recently been recognized by the medical community. For the sake of “get rich quick” science, the Greed Monkeys are causing a mass extinction. Who cares, as long as one acquires all the status symbols that great wealth provides. How many, “Dr. Mengeles” experimenting on humans, have our corrupt corporate universities created? Human greed for status symbols seems to know no bounds. It was genius to sell Monsanto to Bayer to break into the Euro market.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        What I had heard and read is that glyphosate was at-the-very-first most-originally patented as a super-strong chelator for the industrial purpose of cleaning metallic and other atomolecular residues off the inside of metal pipes.

        Reply

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