Monsanto gets its due

by Carolyn Matthews

Yesterday, a jury awarded Dewayne Johnson, terminally ill with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,  $289 million in damages. After a trial that lasted a month, the jury decided that Monsanto’s Roundup was the cause of his cancer. Johnson worked as a groundskeeper for a school district north of San Francisco and sprayed Roundup repeatedly throughout the year, sometimes for hours a day.

While Monsanto has long argued that Roundup is safe for humans and not linked with cancer development, the World Health Organization in 2015 classified it as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Unfortunately it is ubiquitous now in our environment and when I tested myself (my family can attest to the fact that I am a pretty choosy eater) last year I was utterly surprised to find that had 1.2ug glyphosate/g creatinine, around 50th percentile.

My take on it is that glyphosate and GMO products, engineered to withstand repeated applications of Roundup, are one big experiment on the environment and on the human population. They do not have the eons of proven safe use in the human population that most organic foods do. Some are engineered so that they actually produce a protein that penetrates and collapses the cells lining the gut of pests. That doesn’t sound healthy!

Monsanto has done its best to suppress the work of non-industry funded scientists who have shown correlations between the introduction and rising use of Roundup with multiple cancers, autism, diabetes, antibiotic resistance, and obesity.  In environmental medicine, the precautionary principle states that when an activity raises threat of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In other words, better be safe than sorry.