Monsanto Forced to Pay Man $289 Million in Cancer Case

The profit-hungry agri-giant often called “the evil empire” has been slapped for poisoning a school groundskeeper who used their glyphosate-based weed killers, and now, the behemoth is looking at more than 5,000 similar lawsuits. Glyphosate has recently been confirmed in oat breakfast cereals and bars, yet the FDA continues to remain silent about its dangers even while other countries ban Monsanto products.

By S.T. Patrick

Sometimes David really does defeat Goliath. A California jury this month found that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed killers like Roundup caused the cancer of school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson. As a result of the decision, Monsanto has been ordered to pay Johnson $289 million in damages. Johnson may be only the first victorious David, as Monsanto now faces over 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

Despite a Monsanto spokesman arguing that “more than 800 scientific studies and reviews . . . support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,” the jury awarded damages to Johnson, whose attorney explained that, for the first time, jurors were privy to internal company documents “proving that Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate and specifically Roundup could cause cancer.”

The cancer arm of the World Health Organization in 2015 had determined that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

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Study results published just days after the Johnson news broke revealed that some oat breakfast cereals and snack bars marketed toward children are laced with glyphosate. Of the 45 products containing oats tested by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 43 contained traces of glyphosate and 31 exceeded the EWG’s child-protective daily exposure benchmark of 160 ppb.

EWG reports the FDA is aware of the dangers from glyphosates but remaining silent: “In April, internal emails obtained by the nonprofit US Right to Know revealed that the Food and Drug Administration has been testing food for glyphosate for two years and has found ‘a fair amount,’ but the FDA has not released its findings.”

Glyphosate has been used by Monsanto in weed killers since 1974, and organics activists are claiming Monsanto has known about the effects of the chemical since the early 1980s. Monsanto has since aggressively marketed glyphosate as “safer than table salt” and “practically nontoxic.”

Monsanto has not only tied its weed killers to glyphosate; the agrochemical giant tied its billion-dollar seed business to the same toxic chemical. Monsanto has inserted genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into plants since 1983. It introduced GMOs to crops in 1987. A line of “Roundup Ready” seed was introduced to coincide with the glyphosate weed killers. Products like Roundup would then kill the weeds without killing the seeds. Monsanto is the world’s largest distributor of seeds today, controlling nearly one-quarter of the world market. DuPont is second and shares with Monsanto a commitment to GMO seed production.

This is not the first time Monsanto’s chemicals have come under fire. Monsanto abandoned DDT production “for economic reasons . . . long before any environmental concerns were brought to the table.” Despite later reports that proved its toxicity, Monsanto’s website still touts DDT as an effective preventative measure against malaria. Apparently, deadly chemicals do kill mosquitoes. The pesticide was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1972 because it was said to cause cancer and kill wildlife.

From 1965 to 1969, Monsanto was one of the nine companies contracted by the U.S. government to manufacture Agent Orange for use in the Vietnam theater of war. It was designed, according to Monsanto, as a “defoliant to protect the lives of U.S. soldiers.” It was also used to destroy enemy food crops—and lives. The Vietnamese government reported that as many as 3 million people have died or have suffered illnesses that stem from Agent Orange. Many American veterans have settled out of court  with Monsanto, but some denied the settlement, as it would have exempted them from certain government benefits and care.

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In 2004, Monsanto spokesperson Jill Montgomery asserted that the company should not be held liable for any illnesses or deaths resulting from Agent Orange.

“We are sympathetic with people who believe they have been injured and understand their concern to find the cause,” Montgomery said. “But reliable scientific evidence indicates that Agent Orange is not the cause of serious long-term health effects.”

After Johnson’s Roundup lawsuit verdict was announced, Bayer AG, which had purchased Monsanto for $66 billion in June, saw its stock plunge more than it had in seven years. The $289 million judgment erased more than $11 billion from the German drug conglomerate’s market value. Bayer had already intended to drop the Monsanto name from its operations. Monsanto has for years earned nicknames such as “the evil empire” and “the world’s most evil corporation.” Bayer acquired the profits yet wanted to discard the reputation and public opinion.

Globally, governments and courts have taken a harsher stand against Monsanto’s products. A judge in Brazil recently suspended the sale of all products containing glyphosate. A Monsanto tribunal took place in 2016-17 in The Hague. The five judges presiding over the tribunal ruled that the activities of Monsanto have a negative impact on basic human rights.

Dewayne Johnson is one of millions sickened, injured, or killed by Monsanto products. Yet, the company still maintains a stranglehold on the bureaucrats within the government.

Until politicians are exposed for their loyalty to and, in many cases, their work for Monsanto, the company’s power within the government will continue to grow—like a fungus ironically immune from Monsanto’s most dangerous products.

S. T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected]




Inside the Poison Papers

“Poison Papers” is the sadly appropriate name for an online compilation of documents that reveal decades of government cover-ups on the use of toxic chemicals, collusion between the chemical industry and regulatory agencies, deceit, incompetence, fraud, and ultimately an utter lack of concern for life itself. 

By James Spounias

Carol Van Strum desired a simple life when she and her family moved to Oregon’s idyllic Siuslaw National Forest in 1974. Little did she know that she would become a curator of information indicting powerful chemical companies and government agencies, which resulted in the creation of an online library known as the “Poison Papers,” or that she would suffer personal tragedy as well.

Published by the Center for Media and Democracy and the Bioscience Resource Project, the Poison Papers lay out “a 40-year history of deceit and collusion involving the chemical industry and the regulatory agencies that were supposed to be protecting human health and the environment,” according to Peter von Stackelberg, a journalist who helped establish the online collection, as reported by Sharon Lerner on the news website “TheIntercept.com.”

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The saga began in the 1970s when Ms. Van Strum asked U.S. Forest Service employees to stop spraying herbicides in the area of her home. In one incident, her children had been directly doused as they fished in a nearby river.

Ms. Lerner reported: “Immediately after they were sprayed, Van Strum’s children developed nosebleeds, bloody diarrhea, and headaches, and many of their neighbors fell sick, too. Several women who lived in the area had miscarriages shortly after incidents of spraying. Locals described finding animals that had died or had bizarre deformities—ducks with backward-facing feet, birds with misshapen beaks, and blinded elk; cats and dogs that had been exposed began bleeding from their eyes and ears. At a community meeting, residents decided to write to the Forest Service detailing the effects of the spraying they had witnessed.”

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Ms. Van Strum thought, as any reasonable American would, once the agency knew how detrimental the spraying was “they wouldn’t do it anymore.”

She discovered that the herbicide used by the Forest Service contained an active ingredient used in Agent Orange, which even the U.S. military stopped using in Vietnam after it became known it caused serious harm to humans and the environment. Ms. Lerner reported that “between 1972 and 1977, the Forest Service sprayed 20,000 pounds of 2,4,5-T (an active ingredient in Agent Orange) in the 1,600-square-mile area that included Van Strum’s house and the nearby town of Alsea.”

The Forest Service refused Ms. Van Strum’s request, so she, along with her neighbors, took them to court, which resulted in a victory of sorts. A temporary ban was issued on the use of 2,4,5-T in 1977, and it was ultimately stopped in 1983, according to Ms. Lerner.

“We didn’t think of ourselves as environmentalists; that wasn’t even a word back then. We just didn’t want to be poisoned,” Ms. Van Strum said.

Tragically, Ms. Van Strum’s four children died in a 1997 home fire, which spread suspiciously quickly and was not investigated. Ms. Lerner reported: “Firefighters who came to the scene said the fact that the whole house had burned so quickly pointed to the possibility of arson. But an investigation of the causes of the fire was never completed.”

Today, Ms. Van Strum lives in an outbuilding next to the cleared area where her home once stood and has accepted the fact she will “never really know” whether foul play was involved.

Jonathan Latham, Ph.D., cofounder and director of the Bioscience Resource Project and director of the Poison Papers, explains how things got to the point where bureaucratic agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), don’t care about the public they are charged with protecting.

When agency scientists discover wrongdoing, such as fraud by major chemical companies, they “don’t do anything about it because they have to pass it up the line” to their senior administrator (and ultimately) to the president, who will have to take a stand against a toxic chemical and its producer, Dr. Latham told Todd Zwillich on WNCY radio on July 31.

Latham said bad news doesn’t travel up the agency, leaving a “closet full of skeletons,” which aptly describes the Poison Papers.

For instance, a company called Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories (IBT) was responsible for up to 40% of all chemical safety tests.

Monsanto and other giants used this testing company, which got some media attention in light of a negative report issued by the Food and Drug Administration. Top bureaucrats had to “do something.”

Rebekah Wilce reported on “independentsciencenews.com” that testing animals would decompose so quickly that “their bodies oozed through wire cage bottoms and lay in purple puddles on the dropping trays” and that IBT invented an acronym “TBD,” later discovered to mean “too badly decomposed.”

Poison Papers documents reveal a secret meeting with the EPA, Canada’s Health Protection Branch, and top chemical companies on Oct. 3, 1978 at the Howard Johnson Motor Inn in Arlington, Va.

Government bureaucrats “kicked the can down the road,” giving IBT a chance to resubmit studies, according to Latham. He noted that, “Meanwhile, you’re not telling the public that the chemicals that they’re using in their households and yards and that are in their food have unsound tests behind them.. . . In some cases, 100% of the tests were unsound.”

Those who wonder what is causing so much illness, such as cancer, dementia, and other problems, may have an answer, and it lies in chemical exposure, said Latham.

The evidence continues to mount daily against big business and government.

If the words of those who poison and the bureaucrats who cover up and do nothing won’t convince us we need to take action, what will?

James Spounias is the president of Carotec Inc., originally founded by renowned radio show host and alternative health expert Tom Valentine. To receive a free issue of Carotec Health Report—a monthly newsletter loaded with well-researched and reliable alternative health information—please write Carotec, P.O. Box 9919, Naples, FL 34101 or call 1-800-522-4279. Also included will be a list of the high-quality health supplements Carotec recommends.