Loc: Waterloo, NY
“The most important thing to realize is that you cannot wash glyphosate off food since it is incorporated into each cell of the plant.” Dr. Jill Carnahan, M.D.
“Children do not have the enzymes in their livers to detox and break down toxins, especially infants and the unborn children. There are NO safe levels.” Andre Leu, President IFOAM, Australia at the Monsanto Tribunal
Monsanto Trial: Toxicologist Explains to Jury How Monsanto Colluded With EPA
Thanks to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for providing a recap of the fourth and fifth day in court in the Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto Co. trial. Proceedings began in San Francisco Superior Court on July 9. The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former school groundskeeper who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma four years ago, claims Monsanto hid evidence that the active ingredient in its Roundup herbicide, glyphosate, caused his cancer. This is the first case to go to trial among hundreds of lawsuits alleging Roundup caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The trial is expected to last about a month. (Read recap of day six).
Throughout Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, July 16 and July 17, Monsanto’s attorney, Kirby Griffiths, continued his ambuscade of Plaintiff’s epidemiologist/toxicologist, Dr. Christopher Portier, probing for weaknesses in Portier’s assessment that glyphosate and Roundup are human carcinogens. Dr. Portier yielded nothing; the studies evaluating glyphosate’s carcinogenicity were performed correctly, he said, properly examined and interpreted accurately by the International Agency for Cancer Research, which determined that “glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen.” Watching Griffiths try to get a grapple hold on Dr. Portier had the aspect of a man trying to climb a greased pole. Griffiths never got his feet off the ground.
Following Griffiths’ cross, my co-counsel, Brent Wisner of Baum Hedlund Law, conducted redirect of Dr. Portier and the jury heard its first mention of Jess Rowland, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) corrupt Office of Pesticide Programs chief. Rowland orchestrated the exoneration of Roundup based principally on studies ginned up or ghostwritten by Monsanto and its army of biostitutes (After Dr. Portier stepped down, we heard additional videotaped testimony from Monsanto official, Dr. William Heydens, admitting that he had recommended “ghostwriting” EPA’s key study then edited it himself).
Under Wisner’s questioning, Dr. Portier inventoried the substantive flaws in the federal EPA’s glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma studies. He showed how the EPA, with Monsanto holding its coat, cherry-picked glyphosate-friendly studies to support its ruling in Monsanto’s favor. Wisner closed his redirect with Portier denouncing the Andreotti Study (2018) as fatally flawed. That study, the backbone of Monsanto’s case, concluded, with Trumponian chutzpah, that glyphosate actually protects humans against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Portier showed, that, raw data buried in that study, showed a statistically significant elevated risk of T-cell lymphomas, the exact type of cancer diagnosed in our Plaintiff, Dwayne Johnson.
Our principle weakness in this case is the conclusion of the EPA’s Jess Rowland and his Office of Pesticide Programs that glyphosate is not a human carcinogen. The jury will never learn that in the 1980s, the EPA concluded that glyphosate was a carcinogen. Monsanto responded by engaging in a series of contacts with the EPA designed to intimidate the agency to withdraw those damaging findings.
Internal documents show that Monsanto recruited a paid scientist who reexamined the EPA’s mouse data and claimed to find that one key mouse study showing carcinogenicity failed to account for an unreported tumor in an unexposed mouse in the control group. As it turns out, Monsanto’s documents show that the company’s mercenary pathologist agreed to “find” the elusive cancer before he actually saw any slides. Although the EPA’s internal scientists refuted Monsanto’s hired gun, Monsanto stacked the advisory review presentations with Monsanto agents, leading to Roundup’s reclassification.
Despite this sordid history, proving that the EPA’s determination was rooted in corruption is a tricky wicket for the Plaintiff and a continuing source of frustration to our trial team. Various rulings of the court forbid us from talking about the damning historical evidence of wholesale and pervasive corruption in EPA’s pesticide office. Another ruling forbids us from mentioning California’s EPA’s decision that Roundup is a carcinogen.
Day 6: Monsanto’s Head of Consumer Safety Explains Why He Never Returned Plaintiff's Phone Calls
Johnson vs. Monsanto continued Tuesday afternoon with videotaped testimony from Monsanto officials. Under questioning by our attorney, Brent Wisner of Baum Hedlund Law, chemical company executives and scientists chronicled Monsanto’s energetic efforts to sidestep the science linking Roundup to cancer and to expedite the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) registration process for Roundup.
The first witness was Daniel Jenkins, Monsanto’s manager for regulatory affairs. Emails to Jenkins from Monsanto’s chief of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, Jess Rowland, exposed Rowland’s underhanded efforts to kill a critical safety review of glyphosate by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Rowland boasted to Jenkins, his Monsanto handler, that he “should get a medal for” using his EPA position to kill the ATSDR study. Defending the embarrassing email exchange on the stand, Jenkins looked like a rabbit in headlights. With sweating brow and darting eyes, he dodged questioning about the embarrassing email with non-responsive dissembling, “Monsanto doesn’t have any issue with a good scientific process taking place and giving the data and sharing it with them so it can be looked at and evaluated in an independent process!”
In response to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determination that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen, Monsanto advised the EPA officials to delay the agency’s response to IARC’s classification. Jenkins counseled his EPA allies that from Monsanto’s point of view, “it’s a very bad move to be equivocal.” Clearly, he was buying time to orchestrate political pressure against the agency panjandrums.
Jenkins admitted in court that he had fired off a text message to Jennifer Listello, Monsanto’s chemistry global coordinator, ordering her to summons Monsanto’s congressional toadies to drill down at EPA: “What we need to do is get some key democrats on the Hill to start calling Jim [Jones, EPA’s assistant administrator]… Shoots across his bow generally that he is being watched, which is needed on several fronts.”
Plaintiff counsel then played the videotape testimony from Dr. Daniel Goldstein, Monsanto’s head of consumer complaints and consumer safety and the company official responsible for responding to public questions about Roundup’s safety. Goldstein testified that when the Plaintiff noticed pustulating lesions sprouting on the patches of his skin that were exposed while he was spraying Roundup on a school playground, our Plaintiff, the naively trusting Dewayne Johnson, reached out, not to the EPA, but to Monsanto to find out if there was any possible connection between Roundup and his skin rash.
Goldstein ignored the call. He testified that under normal circumstances, his “custom and practice… would be to try and contact the patient myself.” He elected however to stonewall Johnson. A year later when Johnson left another message reporting his cancer diagnosis, Goldstein continued to ignore the calls. Goldstein explained that there was no reason to call Johnson because Monsanto’s science said that Roundup does not cause cancer.
Under cross examination by Wisner, Goldstein admitted he was aware, for 14 years prior to Johnson’s exposure, of numerous studies linking glyphosate to cancer. Even after the IARC report, as Mr. Johnson fought the early stages of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he continued to expose himself to glyphosate because Goldstein refused to return his call and advise him to stop spraying.
Monsanto's 'cancer-causing' weedkiller destroyed my life, dying man tells court
Testifying in landmark trial, former school groundskeeper describes suffering allegedly caused by company’s chemicals
Although he wore extensive protective gear while spraying, he was often exposed to the Roundup and Ranger Pro chemicals, both glyphosate-based Monsanto products, due to “drift”, he testified.
“You were getting it on your face everyday,” he said. “It was kind of unavoidable.”
“It was a very scary, confusing time, and I didn’t know what was happening,” said Johnson, who also recounted his calls to Monsanto seeking information about possible risks, and the lack of responses or cancer warnings from the company.
Plaintiff Testifies in Landmark Monsanto Roundup Trial
On Monday morning, July 23, the jury in Johnson vs. Monsanto heard testimony from Dr. Ope Ofodile, the Plaintiff Dewayne “Lee” Johnson’s dermatologist. Dr. Ofodile described beginning her treatment of Lee in 2014, shortly after Lee was diagnosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Her affection for Lee and her passionate devotion to his treatment was evidenced throughout her surprisingly moving testimony; she even wrote to Lee’s employer, the Benicia District School Board, on Lee’s behalf and “requested that he not be exposed to [Roundup] as that could exacerbate his condition.”
The big question now is whether France could decide to give more weight to studies and tests carried out by independent academics or the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which stands out among global food safety authorities for its 2015 conclusion that glyphosate “is probably carcinogenic to humans.”
The main accusation against Germany’s food safety agency is that in its positive assessment of glyphosate, it copied dozens of pages directly from an assessment carried out by the Glyphosate Task Force, a group of 22 companies financing safety studies into the herbicide. Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has said it “vigorously rejects” all such allegations, noting that everything it reviewed was done independently and from original studies.
The Flemish Institute for Biotechnology has been secretly conducting a field trial with genetically modified maize for a year and a half. The plants have been changed via a sensational new technique that does not yet have clear European legislation. Nevertheless, the federal government agreed with it. This was revealed by De Morgen's research.
The new technique is the CRISPR/Cas9 method. This is regarded as a breakthrough in biology: a molecular "craft set" that researchers can cut and paste cheaply, easily and at will into the DNA of plants, animals and human embryos.
Sugar Coated — How the Sugar Industry Managed to Dupe the World for Decades
The documentary, “Sugar Coated” — which features Kearns, investigative journalist Gary Taubes, author of “The Case Against Sugar,” and Dr. Robert Lustig, a leading expert on sugar metabolism and obesity — investigates the sugar industry’s once secret PR campaign, showing how it normalized excessive consumption by deflecting evidence implicating sugar as a cause of ill health. As noted in the film’s summary:4
“In order to continue sweetening the world’s food supply, thus securing continued profits, the sugar industry turned to the very same deceptions and tactics lifted from the tobacco industry. Using big sugar’s own internal documents on this strategy, ‘Sugar Coated’ reveals the well-oiled tricks of the trade to confuse the public about what is really driving the global pandemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.”
Brockovich: “This is actually worth a good laugh for a Monday! According to the emails released through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to American Oversight, staffers worried about a safety warning placed on the desk from California — which classifies formaldehyde as a carcinogen.”
Pruitt staffers worried about toxic chemical in his desk
Email interactions between EPA staffers first reported by Politico on Friday, showed that aides worried about the potential health effects of formaldehyde found in the desk. The fears they raised came just months before the EPA blocked the release of a report highlighting the dangers of formaldehyde exposure in drinking water.