What is the honest truth about Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide, and which side is to be believed in this ongoing clash between chemical corporations and organic food advocates?
In spring 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer posited that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen,” but Monsanto disputed the ruling citing government safety studies and approvals.
Since then, the alleged safety of Roundup’s main ingredient has been greatly debated as biases have been examined on the part of safety researchers and hundreds of people alleging the weedkiller gave them cancer.
On Tuesday, Monsanto lost a key court ruling San Francisco that could allow more key witnesses to come forward — witnesses that could show once and for all just how devastating the weedkiller can be to human health.
How Cancerous is Roundup? That is the Question
During the trial, in which a terminally ill man was scheduled to testify against Monsanto for the severe damage Roundup has caused to him, Judge Vincent Chhabria and Dr. Charles William Jameson ironed out the details of cancer evidence against Roundup.
“It is my opinion that exposure to glyphosate not only can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (in humans), but it is currently doing so, at current exposure levels today,” Dr. Jameson said.
This is especially significant because of Jameson’s pedigree: he is a retired expert from the National Cancer Insitute and National Institutes of Health, who testified on behalf of the plaintiffs against Monsanto.
He said that the IARC was able to come to its conclusion on the cancer-causing potential of glyphosate because of an “extraordinarily high amount of animal study data,” which consistently showed evidence of cancer being caused.
This data is in contrast with the smaller, allegedly biased samples that the EPA has relied on over the years, critics say.
According to Judge Chhabria, the information is becoming more clear, although it is not conclusive yet in his book.
He wondered aloud whether epidemiological evidence that glyphosate causes cancer in animals is enough to prove it does so in humans.
Dr. Jameson, one of three experts who testified on behalf of the plaintiffs, believes it’s a slam dunk.
“It is my opinion that exposure to glyphosate not only can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma [in humans], but it is currently doing so, at current exposure levels today,” Jameson said.
But Judge Chhabria said that epidemiological studies are “highly subjective,” even though he said he felt confident that animal studies have shown a link between the chemical and cancer.
“I have a difficult time understanding how an epidemiologist could conclude … that glyphosate is in fact causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma in human beings…. But I also question whether anyone could legitimately conclude that glyphosate is not causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma in human beings.
For more information on the trial and this exchange, check out this article from GMWatch.org.
Cancer Lawsuits Against Monsanto Continue
Meanwhile, the parade of lawsuits and plaintiffs suffering from cancer against Monsanto is expected to continue.
According to NBC News the hundreds of cancer lawsuits were able to clear a huge hurdle, but convincing the judge to allow a jury trial for individual cancer cases seems like an uphill battle.
For workers like Dewayne Johnson, the aforementioned terminally ill groundskeeper and plaintiff who has developed devastating lesions on his hands during his years of working with the chemical, the truth is plain as day, however: exposure to these chemicals can cause serious harm, and no amount of denial from judges or government health agencies can change that.
Keep your eye on this trial, because it’s about to get contentious in a hurry. And the truth is destined to come out eventually, whether Monsanto likes it or not.