Controversy tends to engulf Monsanto, the notorious agrochemical giant. One of the most vociferous debates concerns the safety of Monsanto products, including genetically modified seeds and RoundUp® herbicide. As research doubting the safety of Monsanto products continues to mount, multiple lawsuits are cropping up both in the United States and around the world.
The Norwegian organization Genok Center for Biosafety recently challenged the research Monsanto submitted to Brazil regarding its RoundUp®-Ready GM soybeans, claiming the data was manipulated to favor a specific outcome.
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified glyphosate — the main ingredient in RoundUp® — as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Monsanto, of course, denied these claims and continues to stand firmly by its assertion that glyphosate is safe for human exposure.
Though WHO updated its stance on the carcinogenic properties of glyphosate, farmers from across America are bringing forward claims that their cancer was caused by the use of RoundUp®.
One of these lawsuits was filed in Los Angeles on September 22 by 58-year-old Enrique Rubio, a former farm worker in California, Texas, and Oregon. One of his main duties included spraying fields with RoundUp® and other herbicides. Mr. Rubio maintained these tasks until he was diagnosed with bone cancer in 1995, the lawsuit states.
A separate lawsuit was filed in New York by 63-year-old Judy Fitzgerald, also on September 22. Fitzgerald made similar claims that her cancer was caused by exposure to RoundUp® when she worked in a horticulture company during the 1990s. Judy Fitzgerald was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012.
Attorney Robin Greenwald, a representative in the Enrique Rubio case, says she believes additional lawsuits will emerge because RoundUp® is the most widely-used herbicide and the WHO statements support ongoing concerns surrounding glyphosate.
Fitzgerald’s suit states that Roundup® is a “defective” product and “unreasonably dangerous” to consumers, and that Monsanto knew or should have known glyphosate could cause cancer and other illnesses and injuries. Monsanto is accused of failing to properly warn users of the risks.
50-year-old Paul Francois won a lawsuit against Monsanto in 2012 for poisonous exposure to one of their chemical herbicides. The victim experienced neurological damage after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer in 2004.
The lawsuit also claims the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) changed its initial statement that glyphosate is “possibly carcinogenic to humans” to “evidence of non-carcinogenicity in humans” after being pressured by Monsanto.
If the claims are true, the fact that an organization such as the EPA — tasked with protecting both environmental and human health — could totally change its standpoint to the opposite of its original position is nothing short of disturbing.
As reported by Reuters, Monsanto spokeswoman Charla Lord said the claims were without merit and that glyphosate is safe for humans when used as the label indicates. Monsanto also says several studies conducted by the WHO that concluded glyphosate is carcinogenic are wrong.
The definitive truth about the safety of these products can’t come any sooner. Many more lives are potentially at risk due to products like RoundUp® — and because of Monsanto’s attempts to suppress scientific research.
Originally published by Jonathan Schoenfeld on theAntiMedia.org.