Keep fraudulent science out of our courtrooms

Courts should bar evidence that fails to meet basic standards of honesty, integrity and credibility

Paul Driessen

A California jury recently awarded $289 million in damages (later reduced to $78 million) to a former groundskeeper, who claimed the weed killer glyphosate caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Monsanto deliberately or negligently failed to warn him adequately about the chemical’s cancer risks.

The case is on appeal, and a second trial will soon begin before U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria, who himself has 620 more glyphosate cases on his docket. Overall, more than 9,300 additional cases are in the works against Monsanto and its new owner, Bayer – and personal injury mass-tort law firms are trolling for more alleged victims. “If you were ever exposed to glyphosate and now have cancer, you may be entitled to damages. Call us now,” their print, radio and television ads proclaim.

If the allegations are correct, compensatory and even punitive damage awards would be justified, though what might be “reasonable” damages is very much open to debate. However, reputable evidence strongly suggests that there is no connection between glyphosate use and lymphomas or other cancers.

In fact, the two cases and indeed the entire mega-litigation argument hinges on one study – and Judge Chhabria had to decide whether it would be admissible at the upcoming trial. Unfortunately, he ruled that plaintiff lawyers could introduce that study as evidence, despite the multiple deceptions surrounding it.

Many experts say the study is highly suspect, bordering on fraudulent, and should have been barred.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer. Introduced in 1974 and licensed in 130 countries, it is the world’s most widely used herbicide. Millions of homeowners use it regularly. Farmers employ it with “Roundup-Ready” corn, soybeans and other crops that are engineered to be resistant to it, so as to minimize weeding and tilling, preserve soil structure, and reduce erosion and water evaporation.

Farmers also like it, says cancer epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat, “because it is environmentally benign and has low toxicity.” In fact, he says, “the acute toxicity of glyphosate is lower than that of table salt.”

Multiple studies by respected organizations worldwide have concluded that glyphosate is safe and non-carcinogenic. Reviewers include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, European Food Safety Authority, European Chemicals Agency, Food and Agriculture Organization, Germany’s Institute for Risk Assessment, Health Canada, Australia’s Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, and others

The U.S. Agricultural Health Study conducted by the U.S. National Cancer Institute followed the health of 54,000 farmers and commercial pesticide applicators for over two decades. It found no glyphosate-cancer link. The AHS is ongoing and is by far the most extensive such study ever done.

Only one agency, the France-based International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC), says otherwise. IARC does no research of its own. It simply reviews existing research and classifies chemicals as definitely, probably or possibly a cause of cancer in humans – often at extremely high doses that humans are extremely unlikely to encounter in the real world. Nor does the agency conduct “risk assessments” to determine exposure levels at which chemicals might actually have adverse effects on people.

In fact, some chemicals may cause cancer at extremely high doses, but be completely harmless at levels encountered in our daily lives. Other substances are harmful at high doses but beneficial or vital at very low doses; not having them in our bodies at certain low levels can cause severe health problems.

To date, IARC has studied over 900 substances – and found only one was “probably not carcinogenic.” Its antiquated approach lumps bacon, sausage, sunlight and plutonium together in its “definitely carcinogenic” category. Its list of “possible” carcinogens includes pickled vegetables and caffeic acid, which is found in coffee, tea, apples, blueberries, broccoli, kale, onions and other fruits and vegetables.

Glyphosate is listed as “probably” cancer-causing, along with creosote, inorganic lead compounds, malathion, many big-word chemicals, high-temperature frying, red meat and “very hot beverages”!

Groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson has said he somehow got “drenched” twice by glophosate. But in each case he failed to take a shower or wash the chemical off, follow other standard or specific detoxification procedures that anyone should follow for chemical accidents like this, or seek immediate medical attention (likewise standard procedure). Perhaps his legal team could make a plausible argument that getting drenched twice constituted the extremely high doses that IARC often cites as carcinogenic.

However, IARC’s secretive, sloppy, bungled – or even systematically and deliberately fraudulent – handling of its glyphosate review makes even that possibility little more than pseudo-evidence that should be barred from Johnson’s case, the Edwin Hardeman case, and all other glyphosate trials.

IARC supposedly based its 2015 glyphosate-causes-cancer finding on evidence from rodent studies. However, subsequent reviews by Dr. Kabat, National Cancer Institute statistician Robert Tarone, investigative journalists Kate Kelland and David Zaruk, and other investigators confirmed that the IARC process was tainted beyond repair from the very beginning.

IARC’s glyphosate review was proposed by U.S. government statistician Christopher Portier, who also helped design the study and served as special advisor to the IARC “working group” that evaluated the chemical. He did so while also being paid as an advisor to the anti-chemical Environmental Defense Fund. Then, just days after IARC issued its ruling, Portier signed a contract to receive $160,000 for serving as a litigation consultant for two law firms that were preparing to sue Monsanto on behalf of “glyphosate cancer victims.” Portier and IARC tried to cover up these blatant conflicts of interest.

Tarone discovered that, during its deliberations, the IARC panel highlighted certain positive results from rodent studies it relied on – while ignoring contradictory results from the same studies. Overall, the data do not support the agency’s claim that glyphosate is carcinogenic, he determined.

Kelland found ten instances where “a negative conclusion about glyphosate leading to tumors was either deleted or replaced with a neutral or positive one” between draft and final versions of the IARC report. Portier himself admitted the animal studies subgroup report concluding “limited evidence” of carcinogenicity somehow got upgraded to “sufficient evidence” for the final report.

Just as disturbing, the chair of IARC’s glyphosate Working Group was also a senior investigator for the AHS pesticide and herbicide analysis. He knew the AHS results clearly exonerated glyphosate as a carcinogen. However, he did not inform the Group about those results, on the spurious ground that they had not yet been published. He later admitted that the study would likely have altered IARC’s decision.

Kabat says “IARC had to cherry-pick the results from two mouse studies in order to make its tortured case that the animal evidence supported a conclusion of carcinogenicity.” IARC also did not have access to the 2017 National Cancer Institute study and apparently ignored the 2015 AHS analysis.

The 1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals requires that, in cases like these glyphosate cancer claims, plaintiffs must prove to the presiding judge’s satisfaction that the scientific evidence they intend to present is relevant and reliable. It must have been tested and/or peer-reviewed against accepted standards, must be accepted in the applicable scientific community, and must meet basic standards of honesty, integrity and credibility.

IARC’s claim that glyphosate is carcinogenic is such an outlier, so beneath scientific norms, so tainted by conflicts of interest and misconduct, so unrelated to actual chemical risks – indeed so deceptive and borderline fraudulent – that it should never have been admitted as evidence in any glyphosate trial.

It is bad enough that these cancer trials are driven by emotional appeals to jurors’ largely misplaced fears of chemicals and minimal knowledge of chemicals, chemical risks, medicine and cancer. It is far worse when our courts let these lawsuits also be driven by the scientific misconduct of one agency, IARC.

If the lower courts cannot or will not rein in these abuses, the Supreme Court will have to revisit Daubert.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and author of many articles on energy and the environment. He has degrees in sciences and environmental law.

199 thoughts on “Keep fraudulent science out of our courtrooms

  1. As I’ve said before, the primary purpose of the legal system is to enrich lawyers.

    The legal system is corrupt on purpose, because those who run it get rich from that corruption.

      • I agree. But what’s to be done about it?

        “HA”, the 1st thing is, ….. don’t have any money or valuable assets …… or keep them hidden,

        REMEMBER, …… all Judges are also Lawyers ……. and they “protect their own”.

        And me thinks the majority of elected Legislators are also Lawyers and thus the Legal Statutes are favorable to the profession.

      • The judge should request repetitions of the scientific experiments claiming the negative effects, before a ruling.

    • This lawsuit is more likely about trying to remove Roundup from use and thereby starve people to death through reduced harvests .
      Malthusian bastards …

      • If it wasn’t for the so-called Malthusian bastards we’d still have dioxins, PCBs, uranium, etc, etc., etc. being dumped into our creeks. Not everyone who opposes the irresponsible actions of greedy, evil SOBs is a Malthusian bastard.

        • Wow, do you have any evidence that they are the same Malthusian bastards, or do you just start from the assumption that anyone who is anti-chemical and anti-medicine is one of the good guys?

          • I work from the realization that if it wasn’t for people concerned about the environment, who pushed for laws that now keep greedy, evil bastards on a short leash, those bastards would still be dumping whatever they want into the environment.

          • icisil – I was a member of an environmental group at Queen’s University in the 1960’s, a few years before the founding of Greenpeace in Vancouver. There was indeed a time when industry spewed waste into the air, water and soil with impunity. Those terrible polluting practices were largely cleaned up in Western countries by the 1980’s.

            The Former Soviet Union countries and China continued these polluting practices for decades more, and some continue to this day.

            What has happened since is that environmentalism has become a growth business, with every-more-stringent standards that may not be practical, economic, or necessary.

            On the political front, environmentalism has been used a as a false-front for extremist political objectives that would otherwise be strongly rejected by informed citizens. Many of the leading Western “environmental” organizations are actually false fronts from far-left extremist political groups.

            Then there is holier-than-thou, greener-than-thou British Columbia, where major cities like Victoria still discharge their untreated raw sanitary sewage (aka poop) into the ocean. WHAT? Are you serious? Yup.

          • Spent 3 decades helping industrial clients deal w/ TSCA compliance including PCB site characterization and remediation. Served as expert witness for one project and chaired a confrence session on PCB remediation. PCBs were very widely used and unfortunately were dumped in some cases. They were widely used during the WWII effort as I have worked at several of those sites. As far as being greedy and evil, those that used PCBs thought they were a great improvement over combustible dielectric fluids which were a fire hazard. Because of the beneficial properties, they were used for many, many applications including adhesives, caulking, paint, and of course, dielectric fluids for capactors and transformers. Just like the internal combustion engine solved the manure problem, PCBs solved problems that were worse. That being said, the folks using PCBs where mostly following the laws based on knowledge at the time. There were some exceptions. In any event, many folks, including myself, think the PCB hazards were overestimated

          • icidil,
            You cannot equate pollution and the risks associated with a commercial chemical.

            The regulation of chemicals and other technology in the presence of patents is particularly important. Manufacturers are only too happy to give up products that are out of patent, or to have regulations imposed on the patented products of competitors.

            The classic example was DDT, which the chemical industry was happy to have restricted under the POPs convention, because that would improve the market for their newer, more expensive products that were covered by patents. In the end, the use of DDT was allowed in restricted use on the developing world (with the support of the WHO) because there was no cheap, effective alternative for combating malaria,

            The environment NGOs in these circumstances act as moralising ‘Baptists’ to help empower the ‘Bootleggers’ (economic interests) so well described by Bruce Yandle in his ‘Bootlegger and Baptist’ theory of regulation.

          • Wow, do you have any evidence that they are the same Malthusian bastards

            I’m sure he was told by {insert someone he considers an authority here}

        • PS: Dioxin, like Round-up is no where near as bad as the Malthusian bastards claimed.
          PCB’s were never “dumped” into the environment in huge amounts.

          • For over three decades Sangamo-Weston dumped about 400,000 lbs of PCBs into Town Creek that flows into Lake Hartwell.

          • icisil – February 4, 2019 at 5:13 pm

            For over three decades Sangamo-Weston dumped about 400,000 lbs of PCBs into Town Creek that flows into Lake Hartwell.

            Icisil, …… for the past 10+ decades ….. the railroads have been spraying “killer” chemicals on their right-of-way which will kill any “green” growing life forms, insects, amphibians, etc. that venture upon their property.

            And to add insult to the injury of the aforesaid, the crossties are constantly leaching creosote into the environment.

            And worse yet, tens-of-thousands of miles of railroad tracks run parallel (adjacent) to drainage ditches, creeks, streams, rivers and lake shores …. into which those aforenoted “killer” chemicals slowly “weep” or are quickly “flushed” by rainwater with similar effect therein.

            And I have never heard of a “nature loving” group of people concerned about the environment ever bitch about, complain or protesting the aforesaid actions of the railroads.

        • Icisil,
          How about some agenda-neutral references to scientific studies showing actual harm to people from uranium dumped in creeks.
          Otherwise, you are simply showing yourself in the same regrettable group as IARC that Paul is showing to be harmful.
          You can benefit from reading and understanding Edith Efron’s book The Apocalyptics. Geoff

          • Sorry, I don’t play that game. I do know that enriched uranium discharged from a plant in Erwin, TN contaminated the groundwater and the nearby Nolichucky River.

          • icisil wrote “enriched uranium discharged from a plant in Erwin, TN contaminated the groundwater ”
            And the damage, the harm, the human illness and mortality was …. ?

          • Icisil,
            I worked for some years at ERA Uranium Mine in N.T., Australia. The Mine reported every drop of water released off the mine site and recorded uranium in PPM (Parts Per Million) which was normally less than background levels.
            At the same time they also monitored and reported what flowed down Magella Creek, which surrounded 3 sides of the boundary of the mine and only flowed during the welt season (Nov – April) they reported this amount in 100’s of kg.
            The local aborigines have known “bad lands” that they do not dwell in, the mine was discovered by reaction to a Geiger counter during a flyover in a small plane, as were several other sites.
            The local town of Jabiru had less background radiation than suburbs in Melbourne and most mine workers received less radiation /year than if they had made 10 flights to Melbourne!

          • Wasn’t enriched uranium, though, was it? And I doubt that mine was in the middle of a town polluting the groundwater wells of surrounding homes, as the plant I was speaking of did.

        • you say: “we’d still have dioxins, PCBs, uranium” what you evidence, I am guessing it studies similar that of the glyphosate causing cancer evidence. To the most part such activities have been curtailed to the level of non existence, unless of course if a government agency, do you remember Animas River spill, no one went to jail for that. As far as uranium you remind me about a lame brain reported talking about a waste water pipe failing and releasing water into the local stream. The reporter keep asking about the uranium in the water, when the collage professor pointed out the stream already had uranium for the springs that feed that stream and the streams in the area and the animals in that region had adjusted to the nature uranium already there and it was not a problem but the dissolved solids in the water was. She kept asking the question about the uranium and ignored the real problem. If you are worried about dioxins what about all the natural sources of them they were in the environment long before we started to create them and now we have stringent controls on the creation of man made dioxins. PCB again have been identified as a problem and if you possess them you better make sure they are dispose of properly, a task made much more difficult because general the safest way to depose of them if by incineration or using the PCB oil in a cement kiln something the greenies won’t allow. Ditto for most of the garbage we produce, the dumbest thing we ever did with the greenies blessing was to create landfills something that going to haunt our grand and great grand children.

          • There is a great temptation to lose one’s temper in these arguments and yell at people like Icisil to “answer the *****ing question, will you.”

            Experience of dealing with environmentalists over 20 years and more has taught me two things:
            1. They could have given Nixon lessons in mendacity;
            2. They are not susceptible to persuasion or reasoned argument.

            Their lies need to be confronted head-on, their pseudo-scientific arguments exposed for the rubbish they are, and as far as possible they need to be kept well away from anything resembling a “lever of power”!

        • Organophosphorus compounds are like throwing a monkey wrench into the delicate cellular mechanisms. Most peoples will tell it is quite safe but still the cellular metabolism is not yet completely understood. I see a parallel with those that say terrestrial climate is not fully understood, so there is no settled science on the effect of the magic CO2 molecule, yet will brag at large that organophosphorus are completely safe. Get real, we have no idea of the effect of such stuff at low dose long term exposure. I’m far from the eco-nazi definition and I believe in the use of science to increase crop productivity, but when it come to organophosphorus I think extreme prudence is required.

          • The minor little problem with your example is that glyphosate is not an organophosphate, so the effects of that family of pesticides is a total distraction.

          • Tom Halla:

            Whatever you are smoking, stop immediatly…

            “Glyphosate (IUPAC name: N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant. It is an organophosphorus compound…”

          • Astrocyte, it is you who need to study more. While Glyphosate contains Phosphorus, it is decidedly far different from traditional organophosphate pesticides and nerve agents:

            “Glyphosate is usually formulated as an isopropylamine salt. While it can be described as an organophosphorus compound, glyphosate is not an organophosphate ester but a phosphanoglycine, and it does not inhibit cholinesterase activity.”

          • John Pickens:

            Phosphanoglycine is not an organophosphorus??? Go back to rhetoric scool John Pickens, you are desperately grabbing staw and make a fool of yourself…

            FYI glycine is an amino acid and quite organic in my book!

          • Glyphosate is NOT an organophosphate. It is an organophosphite or organophosphonate. It has phosphonic acid moiety, with a phosphorus atom bound to 3 oxygen atoms and to one carbon atom. 03P-C-R

            If it had phosphoric acid, i.e. a phosphate group with 4 attached oxygen atoms, and with one of the oxygen atoms bound to an organic compound, then it would be an organophosphate. O3PO-C-R

            The difference is comparable to sulfite S02 ion vs. sulfate S03 ion, or carbonite ion C02 versus carbonate CO3 ion.

        • icisil,

          I don’t disagree in principle with you, however, there does seem to be an agenda behind many of the regulations, restrictions, and reporting on events. I distrust (am skeptical) of everyone, even and especially the regulator. It seems too often that individuals with a pseudo-religious belief in the evil of mankind exaggerate the harmful effects of our industrial processes.

          Even the story you reference below in Erwin TN as described by you can lead one to believe the event was much worse than it actually was. As someone who’s family farm is 15(ish) miles as the crow flies from that facility, I’m quite familiar with it and the efforts to keep it clean. Indeed, a quick google search can provide you with details related to their environmental monitoring program and efforts to control effluents and waste streams.

          Finally, I just want to point out that the high value of enriched uranium ensures the economic incentive to keep it from being dumped into the environment. If the plant you mentioned was so grossly negligent as to be allowing the continued release of radioactive contamination from enriched uranium (or natural, or depleted), then there would be monetary reasons, on top of environmental, to fix.

          I guess, though, I’m not necessarily arguing with you too much. I do want our environment to be kept clean, and the economic incentives to forgo adequate waste processing can be significant. Indeed, I tend towards conservative rather than libertarian because I believe the rules and regulations serve to keep the worst of mankind’s depredations in check. I just also acknowledge that there are incentives beyond money which motivate individuals in governmental / regulatory positions. And those incentives, the desire for power, leads them to inflict more widespread pain and suffering than any greedy capitalist ever could.



      • I have personally used roundup for as long as it has been on the market. For field crops, around the garden, painted quack with a brush, ect. I am 73 with no ill effects. Maybe if I live to be 130 I might die from cancer.

    • Jonathan Swift:
      “It is a maxim among these lawyers, that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions; and the judges never fail of decreeing accordingly.” ― Gulliver’s Travels.
      Charles Dickens:
      “The one great principle of the English law [ and by extension all common law countries e.g. the US] is to make business for itself. There is no other principle distinctly, certainly, and consistently maintained through all its narrow turnings. Viewed by this light it becomes a coherent scheme and not the monstrous maze the laity are apt to think it. Let them but once clearly perceive that its grand principle is to make business for itself at their expense, and surely they will cease to grumble” – Bleak House.

    • From Michael Fumento’s book: “Science Under Siege:”
      The tenets of epidemiology:
      Tenet 1: Everyone dies.
      Tenet 2: One fourth of us will contract cancer and one fifth of us will die of it.
      Tenet 3: The mechanics of how cancer develops are not well understood.
      Tenet 4: Most cancers are unexplained.
      Tenet 5: Being a victim of a disease does not make one an expert how that disease is contracted.
      Tenet 6: The physician treating the victim does not necessarily have any expertise in the cause of the problem when that problem is cancer.
      Tenet 7: Miscarriages are common.
      Tenet 8: Birth defects are common.
      Tenet 9: Most miscarriages and most birth defects are unexplained.
      Tenet 10: Epidemiology is a complex science.
      Tenet 11: Epidemiology is an inexact science.
      Tenet 12: Epidemiologists are only human.
      Tenet 13: Associations do not equal cause and effect.
      Tenet 14: Rare diseases still have to happen to somebody.
      Tenet 15: “Clusters” almost always mean absolutely nothing.

      The experiments run by epidemiologists are hard to design, hard to run, and hard to analyze. Even if they do everything right, there’s no guarantee that they’ve done everything right.


    • MarkW
      A couple of at least partial solutions have been banded about for several years but always somehow shot down by the legislators, probably at the behest of the K-Street crowd. The first is to make the person that brings the personal injury suit pay the defendants legal expenses if they loose the case, and the second is to limit damages in tort cases to reasonable and actual. There’s just too much money involved. But, as they say, we have the best government money can buy.

  2. There’s a contradiction in the article. One person says that it’s less toxic than table salt, and in another place the guy who got soaked with it is faulted for not washing immediately and seeking medical help. Sorry, can’t have it both ways.

    • icisil:
      I do not follow your logic. If anyone spills large amounts of weedkiller on them, commonsense dictates that you wash it off. A substance can be an irritant or even hazardous without being toxic.

      • Common sense dictates you take a shower after swimming in salt water. Why wouldn’t anyone with a grain of common sense take a shower after being drenched in weedkiller.

        Seriously, pour vinegar on me and I’ll take a shower. Try urine from a healthy person, which is fairly sterile and I’ll take a shower.

        I take a shower to wash my own sweat off me. For Pete’s sake, why on earth wouldn’t someone take a shower after being drenched in something that says “Killer” on the packet.

        Are they mad……or just mercenary?

        • I still haven’t heard a description of what they mean by “drenched.” If you’re standing next to a tank and the tank or a hose ruptures, you might get “drenched.” If you have a bottle that you’re using for mixing and it slips out of your hands, your left (or right) pant leg might get “drenched.” Big exposure difference, but still think the guy’s an idiot for not washing off.

        • People are very bad at estimating risk. Mad or mercenary doesn’t make a difference unless you’re trying to get better at it.

    • Icisil “One person” does not say it’s less toxic than table salt, numerous rigorously carried out studies say that. If the claimant believed it was toxic why din’t he wash himself? If he didn’t, you’d think anyone who immersed himself in any sort of weedkiller would clean up.

      • “If he didn’t, you’d think anyone who immersed himself in any sort of weedkiller would clean up.”

        Why? It’s “less toxic than salt”. No one cleans up after spilling salt on themselves.

          • …or in a cut (maybe your knife skills aren’t as good as you think they are when you’re fileting that fish)?

        • Dropping a few grains of dry salt on your cloths is nowhere near the same as drenching yourself with liquid weed killer in much larger quantities.

          If you were drenched in highly concentrated salt water, then would you wash it off — I would, and most rational people would.

          The point is, from the perspective of the person being drenched, a rational drenched person would wash off anything of this concentration. Not washing is irrational. That’s the point. It doesn’t matter what the substance is — if it’s a large dose, in large enough concentration, drenching you, then you wash it off, if you have any sense at all.

          Drench me in liquid chocolate, and my rational response is to wash it off. Drench me in sugar water, … wash it off. Tea, coffee, milk, corn syrup, whatever — if it drenches me, then I wash it off.

        • icisil, that argument is thin. If you use your bare hands to throw some de-icing salt, you wash your hands as soon as you can. If the saltshaker breaks and spills onto you, even just your clothes, you wipe it off as soon as you can. The definition of “to clean” is simpler than you think: remove detritus from your skin or hair, or fur (in the case of animals). That can happen simply by brushing off dry material or washing off liquid material. The innate desire to stay free from contaminants is obvious in humans as early as toddler years.

          No one refuses to clean themselves because of a reason as logically fallacious as, weedkiller is less toxic than salt. That would be considered negligence in a courtroom.

        • Icisil,

          For starters, the person comparing the acute toxicity to salt is likely referring to ingestion. Being soaked in weedkiller vs salt is a totally different exposure route/pathway. So this is not really relevant to the Dewayne Johnson case. It would likely be applicable to other lawsuits referred to in the article, however.

          Secondly, the issue was not “acute toxicity” when Dewayne Johnson was doused. He’s claiming that it gave him cancer. Carcinogenicity and toxicity are not the same thing (nor are chronic and acute toxicity the same thing, either…but take baby steps).

        • I know that you are deliberately missing the point.
          The point is, that the plaintiff is claiming to believe the stuff to be toxic, yet when it was spilled on him, he didn’t do anything about it.

          • Where is it said that he knew beforehand that he considered it toxic? Maybe he was under the impression that it’s “less toxic than salt” and didn’t wash himself because “it can’t cause cancer”. He got cancer and apparently the doctor told him it was possibly because of the roundup. That’s why he now thinks it’s toxic.

          • ALL Chemical applicators are supposed to know the chemicals they handle, they are supposed to READ THE LABEL, which is required by law for LICENSED chemical sprayers.

            It is clear from YOUR comments that you have no idea what you are talking about.

          • Actually I think I do know what I’m talking about. IMO Monsanto is talking out of both sides of it’s mouth. Roundup is harmless, but make sure you treat it as a harmful substance by following these instructions (because it really is harmful unless washed off). That’s the game that’s being played IMHO.

          • Gosh your feeble attempt to play Devils Advocate falls flat on its face. Heck you look foolish with your well advertised ignorance of the subject, it is clear you are unhappy with Monsanto, which is why you move around with your bogus arguments.

            The man didn’t clean up after being “drenched” by a chemical that has specific clean up procedures on the LABEL! Then has the gall to sue the company who complied with the law in having that label on the products container, the chemical he didn’t bother to wash off.

            There is no way you can excuse this contradiction that you and HIM have created, he doesn’t comply with the label, doesn’t use the chemical properly and, doesn’t clean up as specified by the label.

            The man has no case here.

          • Actually I think I do know what I’m talking about.

            You may well think it, your posts prove you think wrongly.

        • It is the dosage that counts. Large amounts of salt or even water can be lethal. Prudence would dictate that you wash off if you are drenched by any chemical.

    • The piece does not seek to ‘have it both ways’. Washing is a standard to response to any chemical spill – regardless of effects. Toxicity, carcinogenicity, or teratogenicity of the specific chemical are something quite separate.

      • The article specifically mentions “specific detoxification procedures”, which implies that glyphosate is indeed toxic. Salt is also a chemical, but there would be no need of detoxification because it is completely non-toxic (to the skin). I’m sensing a double standard.

        • While salt isn’t technically toxic, eating or drinking too much of it can kill you.
          Regardless, dump someone in a vat of salt and within a few hours they will be dead and completely desiccated.

          No double standard here.

        • …. on the spurious ground that they had not yet been published.

          Me thinks that had the study found that glyphosphate was carcinogenic, the fact that it had not yet been published would have been a lot less “spurious” in the eyes of this fan of the Daubert ruling.

          More double standards.

          • Suppose that a company produces a product. It tests the product and finds it safe. Other studies also find it safe. After a period of years, one study decides that the product isn’t safe after all.

            As far as I can tell, the company shouldn’t be liable for any cases that arose before it learned that the product was unsafe. As long as the company was taking all reasonable (‘reasonable’ can be highly unreasonable) precautions, it should not be found negligent. negligence

        • Let me guess, you’ve never worked in an industrial setting. If you spill any large amount of anything on yourself the first response is to wash. And yes, if you were covered by a salt spill you would be going to the wash area immediately. It’s basic WH & S protocols.

          There is no double standard. (And salt is more dangerous than you think)

        • Icisil, you are being absurd since it is STANDARD procedure to wash ANY spilled chemical off themselves and their equipment, regardless of toxicity levels.

          I have worked with and around pesticide/herbicide applicators for over 25 years, they ALWAYS wear gloves, eye protection and wear white Velcro suits, and clean up the same way every time. It is common sense to protect yourself and a good habit too, NO MATTER WHAT CHEMICAL WAS USED!

          I have used “Round up” many times, to know having a lot it spilled on themselves indicate the person was incompetent in handling it. I would have FIRED such a careless employee for doing it.

          Have YOU read the MSDS, do YOU even know what that is?

          • Icisil – Bentonite (and other types of clay) has been found to contain trace amounts of naturally-occurring dioxins attributable to volcanic activity and forest fires. Better wash up!

        • You’re obviously unfamiliar with the excessive caution statements standard to safety literature, icisil. Much of it can be CYA.

          It often takes an expert chemist to know which of the chemical safety statements transmits a true hazard.

          For example, here are the cautions on the SDS for sodium chloride (pdf) (table salt), even though it’s classified as non-hazardous (SDS = Safety Data Sheet):

          Inhalation: Move to fresh air. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. Call a physician if symptoms occur.

          Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting unless directed to do so by medical personnel. If vomiting occurs, keep head low so that vomit does not enter lungs. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Call a physician or poison control center if symptoms occur.

          Skin Contact: Wash skin with soap and plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Remove contaminated clothing and shoes. Wash clothing before reuse. Call a physician if symptoms occur.

          Eye Contact: Check for and remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Immediately flush eyes with gentle but large stream of water for at least 15 minutes, lifting lower and upper eyelids occasionally. Immediate medical attention is required. Call a physician if symptoms occur

          Handling: Wear personal protective equipment.

          So, there you are. Will you now wear a bunny suit at your dinner table?

      • However, reputable evidence strongly suggests that there is no connection between glyphosate use and lymphomas or other cancers.

        A French scientist who did the most extensive tests ever on the effect of glyphosphate on rats ( using reasonable exposure, not mega doses ) had his paper retracted on unprecedented, flimsy grounds.

        It turned out that the editor who retracted the paper got payed $12k by Monsanto.

        Of course that paper can not be used in the trail , can not be used by regulatory authorities and is no long “reputable research” since it has be removed from existence by retraction.

        When I found out about that I became a lot less skeptical about the claims being made about Round-up.

        • Care to specify what these allegedly “unprecedented and flimsy grounds” are.
          The anti-vaxxers are making the same claims about the discredited studies that support their delusions.

          • Gilles-Eric ? Seralini , Prof of molecular biology, Univ. Cean , France.

            time 51 minutes in the french documentary.

            Other cases of ghost-writing papers , paying for papers and paying to infulence content of papers. Also ignored unfavourable results of someone they hired to examine the toxicity.

            Check out the “Monsanto papers” , thousands of documents and emails exposing the corruption behind suppressing unwanted results and maintaining the image.

        • Greg, don’t you put any store in the “most extensive tests ever” that have been done on glyphosate daily since 1974, when it was released onto the market?

          Glyphosate has been regularly used by hundreds of millions of people around the world every year since. I am among that number. I have sprayed many thousands of litres of glyphosate over the years, mostly using powered pumps, to kill weeds & shrubs on my parents farm. I also used 2,4,D & 2,4,5,T the same way for a few years, until they were banned because of potential dioxin contamination.

          Can you name a single person who has been killed, or even contracted a disease, as a result of using glyphosate? Dewayne Johnson is not the answer you need, because no-one can prove one way or another that his illness is caused by glyphosate. In fact, the weight of evidence suggests that the jury in his court case made a mistake.

      • Yes,

        and if I am on the jury the question I ask is: what other substances has he worked with/ingested/absorbed, without care?

    • icsil, of course when soaked with industrial compounds / solutions you should seek medical help.

      On every oil drilling platform the workers are in contact with industrial compounds / solutions. Don’t think they always cry for a medic.

    • If you got covered in table salt wouldn’t you consider it reasonable to wash off immediately??? Sorry bad argument.

    • The man who gets “soaked in it” twice, but fails to do a simple washing it off each time, as he was supposed to be trained to do, is a man who never should be allowed to work with chemicals anymore.

      By the way getting soaked with a chemicals indicate total carelessness and incompetence since it is hard to be drenched in it, if he was following proper chemical handling procedures as most Round up containers are going to be on a low lying shelf or on the floor.

      Have YOU ever handled large chemical containers? Do you know that handling them in the proper way make it nearly impossible to get “drenched” by it?

      • Indeed. Once can be chalked up to accident (even with the best procedures accidents do happen, even if rarely), but twice looks like incompetence.

    • Nonsense. There are well established proper use standards, including what to do if the chemical were accidentally spilled on the skin, or ingested, ON THE LABEL. If what the groundskeeper claimed is true, he was extremely negligent, and did not follow use “consistent with the label.”

      I’ve used glyphosate on and off for decades, properly and safely.

    • The person who made the claim that the glycosate caused the cancer has a ethical obligation to mitigate damages. So the author is not incorrect to point this out.

      As an aside anyone that uses chemicals in the home and garden or fields should simply read the instructions for proper use and how to handle accidents with the chemical involved. 7 P’s apply: Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Pungently Putrid Performance.

  3. A real problem is that lawyers, and thus judges, do not generally know any science. So atrocities like the glyphosate cases advance in court, based on clearly faulty research.
    This is as bad as the “recovered memory” cases in the 1980’s, like the McMartin Preschool case. The interrogation method used with the children had never been tested as a forensic method, and produced literally fantastic charges. Another similar theme were the Satanic Panic cases, of claims of intergenerational Satanic child abuse conspiracies that were as much fantasies as McMartin.
    As many people already want to believe in the harmfulness of “chemicals”,just as there were people who wanted to believe in Satanic ritual abuse, such abuses need some other remedy than relying on badly educated judges.

    • “… many people already want to believe in the harmfulness of “chemicals”,just as there were people who wanted to believe in Satanic ritual abuse … “

      Precisely the reason why I titled my blog ‘Stands to Reason’. The world is full of people whose logic stretches no further than “chemicals are dangerous; Round-Up is a chemical; therefore Round-Up is dangerous. Stands to reason, dunnit?!”

      The world, regrettably, is also full of people like icisil who are mugs for every conspiracy theorist with an agenda to pursue. The sad (and dangerous) thing is that occasionally they may be right but that, like the boy who cried ‘wolf’, they are so persistently wrong that no-one with any sense takes them seriously.

  4. Can’t both statements be true. One relates to toxicity and the other relates to following common procedures after “drenching” yourself in anything except water. That would include a shower if covered with table salt or peanut butter. Johnson’s veracity is being questioned in the second instant.

    Dewayne Johnson- loved his work as The Rock but apparently a little bit of a dullard as a groundskeeper.

    • I know of no procedure to drench myself in water after being drenched with salt water. Yeah when you get home from the beach, take a shower, but that’s after sitting all day long covered in salt. And most likely that’s what the groundskeeper did.

      • “And most likely that’s what the groundskeeper did.”

        Pure speculation and therefore proves you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • What tosh, icsil. Weedkillers are purchased in concentrated form. Glyphosate is mixed with water at rates up to 20 ml per litre of water, depending on the concentration of the particular product purchased. Groundskeeper Johnson had access to whatever water source he used to mix up his spray, & he could have washed him self using that. His claim to have been drenched twice likely relates to having the spray droplets being blown onto him while actually spraying the weeds, or a prank by workmates.

        • That stuff is pretty expensive. I doubt management would look kindly on a prank that involved spilling large amounts of it.

          • Mark, 2 litres of prepared weedkiller sprayed onto a person to drench him amounts to somewhere between 6ml & 40ml of glyphosate. Sure the stuff is expensive, & shouldn’t be wasted that way, but the world is full of idiots, & a prank like that is only an outside possibility.

        • “Weedkillers are purchased in concentrated form. Glyphosate is mixed with water at rates up to 20 ml per litre of water, depending on the concentration of the particular product purchased.”

          True weed killers are sold in the “concentrated” form. But even the “concentrated ” form is still fairly diluted. The heavily concentrated form at the wholesale level is still less than 20% concentration.

      • icisil.
        You are playing Devils advocate but it is getting a bit tiresome .
        Roundup has been used on farms , parks and waste areas for 45 years and I have used it all of that time .
        Of course you wash it off your skin and if I had the misfortune to get soaked in it I would have taken a shower.
        Your argument is nonsense so just get over it .

  5. In quantity, and concentration, almost everything poses an elevated risk. The guy’s exposure is exceptional and should have been corrected immediately in following best practices and common sense.

  6. Excellent article! The basic problem is that tests for carcinogenicity used to screen potential new chemical products were used inappropriately to assess existing chemical products, when regulation turned in that direction. Often the doses are 35,000 time typical human exposures.
    A further problem is that it has now been shown that many substances demonstrate hormesis – risks go down with low doses – whereas most regulations are written assuming a linear dose-response relationship and no safe dose. Very costly and misleading.

    • The Ames test is the most popular screening tool. Guess who is perturbed by it’s haphazard use and abuse? Bruce Ames, they guy who invented it.

  7. Read up on glyphosate a couple of years ago. Mishandling in underdeveloped countries and runoff into water courses seem to be the main problems. Also, a friend in Greece took neighbours to court because it was wind carried into an olive grove. My conclusion is it is safe to use. It has to be applied when the plant is actively photosynthesising – a nice warm sunny day. Even horse tails respond to double strength (recommended for slow growing plants), despite what the local radio garden guru says.

    I have spent over 40 years in labs, handling the real toxic stuff, and often things that were unclassified.

    • …and add just a little Dawn or Palmolive as a surfactant….makes it work a lot better

      I just spilled RoundUp all over my hand about 4 hours ago….rinsed it off

      • You could have left it on to prove it doesn’t cause cancer.

        I really think that officials who make claims about products should be required to put their own lives on the line to back it up. Roundup doesn’t cause cancer, Mr. Scientist? OK, you’re going to be the guinea pig. That would be the most just solution.

        • icisil, there are rules for evidence for a reason. With the Salem Witch Trials, “spectral” evidence was allowed. Try to disprove that a demon is not sitting on your shoulder telling you what to say.
          Trying to prove a negative is futile.

        • You can tell when someone knows they don’t have an argument.
          They start getting bitter and nonsensical when their original arguments are refuted.

          • I’m not bitter at all. These kinds of problems would go away if we made those who are in charge accountable for their claims. “Roundup doesn’t cause cancer, Mr, CEO. OK, we’re going to put it on your skin every day for a test trial before we put it on the market.” That would be a just solution.

          • PS: Your posts also indicated an extreme hatred towards chemical companies, to the point where you are willing to lie about standard testing procedures.

        • The fact that no one recognize is that there is LOTS of variations (mutations) from individuals to individuals. A small minorities may have enzymes with specific and unique modified (mutated) bindind site that will “act” on products not normally nefarous for the majority of peoples. The trick is to make the safety study on the “most representatives human specimen”, AKA cherry picking…

          • Basically you are arguing that unless they test it on every person on the planet, they shouldn’t be allowed to market it.

      • …and add just a little Dawn or Palmolive as a surfactant….makes it work a lot better

        Indeed. The other ingredients in Roundup are there to ensure penetration ( several are surfactants ). Seralini et al found that testing only glyphosphate is not a realistic assessment of risk , despite this kind of testing of the “active ingredient” being recommended and commonplace in toxicity testing.

    • Me too, but years not decades. Like about 2 litres of concentrated hydrofluoric acid a week, brought to the boil to dissolve rocks. Some years later its actual danger was reported in more detail. Horrible stuff.
      But, we used common sense and general precautions to good effect.
      Most importantly, none of us lab rats was infected by chemophobia. That mental illness is widespread these days, to the detriment of all people. Some people have pre-packaged slogans like “toxic heavy metal contamination” that are part of their every day Life fears. If they actually worked with such chemicals routinely, they might well be cured through self-education. Akin to fear of flying by snowflakes. Geoff.

  8. Courts should bar evidence that fails to meet basic standards of honesty, integrity and credibility

    That ‘failure to meet’ criterion must be proven by the side questioning the evidence. The burden is on them, not some super-whiz judges who are supposed to know it all in advance, and most likely studied law instead of science to get where they now are.

    • The burden is always on the plaintiff as the party making the affirmative claim, as it should be. The concepts regarding fraud are well understood by lawyers, and I doubt my 12-year old would fail to understand the matter as to good or bad science, if properly explained. The judge screwed up.

  9. Salt is an essential part of our diet just like iron, but too much of either one is toxic, especially for children. Roundup or glyphosate has a Caution label which is the most benign of the three label types, even insecticidal soap has a Caution label. I think that anyone who has been trained to apply pesticides knows that if you get soaked in pesticide you should immediately remove the contaminated clothing and take a shower. This is especially true for pesticide concentrates, but I would think it is more likely that he got soaked by the dilute pesticide that you spray on weeds.

  10. Consumer protectors found glyphosate in beer.

    The health risk threshold is estimated 3000 glass of beer daily.

    beer is not banned in the EU. But glyphosate should get banned in the EU in 5 years.

  11. “Courts should bar evidence that fails to meet basic standards of honesty, integrity and credibility”
    This is silly. The courts are the authority supposed to decide if evidence meets those standards. If the evidence doesn’t even reach the courts, then who decides?

    • This should be seen as an opportunity to settle the issue whether that study is credible or not … get the experts and let the court decide.

    • If the courts don’t decide, then you are leaving it up to the jury to decide. Is that any more reasonable?

      • The normal process is that the court hears the evidence and the jury (or judge) decides. The proposal here is to bar evidence from the court, so it won’t get to a jury. Then who decides?

        • Your argument seems to be that this is somehow evidence. Is science that does not follow the scientific method and cannot be confirm by replication of observation, or falsified, really science? And if not, how should it be allowed to be introduced as evidence.

          There are rules of evidence in the court of law here in the US. For example, hearsay is not allowed. Evidence obtained by illegal search is also not allowed (unless your Trump 😉

          • “There are rules of evidence in the court of law”
            Yes, but not based on its factual content. Hearing and evaluating that is the basic function of the court. Who else can do it?

        • The idea behind Daubert was not to bar evidence, but rather bar magical thinking from a courtroom. What do you suggest?

          • Nick Stokes: I have no idea what goes on in Australian courtrooms, though the word Kangaroo makes me suspicious. Nonetheless, in the U.S. judges are expected to provide instructions to juries regarding what they may regard as evidence and what they must disregard. Are you suggesting that anything goes in a courtroom and juries must consider everything as evidence? Daubert gave judges benchmarks and guidance on “scientific” evidence. Darned good guidance, too. But probably we need to add more Daubert-like guidance from time to time.

          • Kevin Kilty,
            “I have no idea what goes on in Australian courtrooms”
            Pretty similar to US, I expect. The court’s function is to hear and sift evidence. They may well not accept it. But the proposal, as in the heading here, is “Keep fraudulent science out of our courtrooms”. Not hear it and decide, but don’t let it in the courtroom at all. That measn some other process has to decide. In Australia, that is a function for the courts.

          • Nick, since you clearly missed it (on purpose I suspect) I’ll simply repeat what MarkW already said the last time you said such nonsense:

            Nick, are you really this dumb, or is someone paying you to make a fool of yourself.

            We are talking about the judge excluding evidence. IE, the court.

        • Nick, I know that there are people here who consider you to be intelligent. Why don’t you try to live up to their expectations.
          Courts have always decided on who is and who isn’t an “expert witness”. Courts have always decided what evidence is admissible and what isn’t.
          Why do you object to bad science being excluded from the court room?

          • “Courts have always decided what evidence is admissible and what isn’t.
            Why do you object to bad science being excluded from the court room?”

            If it is excluded, then how can the court decide?

          • Nick, are you really this dumb, or is someone paying you to make a fool of yourself.

            We are talking about the judge excluding evidence. IE, the court.

          • Somehow I think you would object to “non warmer” scientist being excluded by a court because the court decides that what they have to say is non admissible. This is the obvious implication. Sad that there is such a lack of real skeptics.

            My thought when I read a piece like this is to hear and understand the “other side’s’ best argument (and assessment of accuracy) to what is in the article. Anyone else really want to hear that?

          • Stokes: First sentence: “Courts should bar evidence that fails to meet basic standards of honesty, integrity and credibility.”
            Agree or disagree?

            Geiger: If the evidence “fails to meet basic standards of honesty, integrity and credibility,” I would absolutely object to it being introduced as evidence, regardless of its source or which side it benefits. I would hope that all true scientists would (and non-scientists, too, but we all know that there is a large group who believe the end justifies any means, including lying and unethical behavior.) If you are on the right side of science, you need not stoop to those acts.

        • I’m not a lawyer or judge, but in the US legal system it is normal procedure for the judge to review evidence that each side plans to introduce and rule on whether or not it’s admissible. I believe this process is typically through rulings on motions made by the party’s attorneys after discovery. Documents deemed by the judge to be not credible are routinely excluded from trial.

        • Mr Stokes, you are being your usual obtuse self. The court decides whether or not evidence is admissible. No other person or body has the authority to make such a decision.
          Now, because you are plainly slow on the uptake I will repeat it:
          The court decides whether or not evidence is admissible. No other person or body has the authority to make such a decision.

          • “The court decides whether or not evidence is admissible”
            Yes. But the proposition here is that it should exclude evidence that
            ” fails to meet basic standards of honesty, integrity and credibility”

            Isn’t that how they normally evaluate evidence that they have heard? And how could they exclude it without hearing it?

          • You are incredible. And I don’t mean that as a compliment.

            The judge holds an evidentiary hearing, without the jury present, to rule on the admissibility of a piece of evidence. This is where the bona fides of the report and its authors are hashed out. So, “the court” does hear it. If the court thinks it’s crap, it’s excluded the jury never hears it. In this case, the judge made a hash of it.

        • No. With questionable, challenged evidence, the judge hears arguments from both sides before the trial, without the jury, and decides whether to let the evidence be presented to the jury. Otherwise, it could be inadmissable and prejudicial, biasing the jury, even if the judge instructs them to disregard it. You cannot unring a bell.

          That is exactly the procedure followed in the case above:
          “Judge Chhabria had to decide whether it would be admissible at the upcoming trial.”

        • Reading comprehension failure, Stokes. The argument is not to bar evidence from the court, but that the courts should bar the evidence from being given in a trial. Look at the quote you cited, “Courts should bar evidence.” Judges routinely decide what is admissible evidence for a jury to hear.

          The gest of this is that judges should hold a higher standard than they do for the ‘scientific evidence’ they are allowing in the courtroom.

  12. One thing I have noticed is that hippies and environmentalists seem to think Monsanto is the most evil company that ever existed and has a special lab reserved for punching puppies and kicking kittens. This all stems from their irrational hatred of GMO, and possibly because GMO’s can be patented. I view this lawsuit’s sole purpose is to damage Monsanto (and now Bayer chemical).

    Many years ago I watched a documentary called Food, Inc. There were some good points about how food has become too industrialized, and thus not as tasty or as good for us. But it had a ‘big business is always bad’ vibe about it. In the documentary, they talked about Monsanto suing a farmer for not handling his seeds properly. It was one-sided and essentially made it seem like this poor, ignorant farmer was being bullied by Monsanto. Being the inquisitive person that I was, I decided to research. And it turns out the farmer was not ignorant nor as innocent as the documentary made out. I also decided to ask two farmers I know about Monsanto. Both had a very high opinion of them. So I asked myself, who is more believable: a city dweller who never touched dirt, much less farmed for a single day in his life but who can make a documentary; OR, farmers whose livelihood is directly affected by Monsanto?

    Simply put, my opinion of Monsanto is based exclusively on people who grow food for a living and not on people who literally spend all their working days living in a world of concrete. It is based on people who work in the heat all day for several months of the year and not on people who worship Mother Earth.

        • For the purposes of VA compensation benefits, Veterans who served anywhere in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides, as specified in the Agent Orange Act of 1991.

          These Veterans do not need to show that they were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides in order to get disability compensation for diseases related to Agent Orange exposure.

          • So how does that advance your argument, icisil? It is simply an example of the stupidity of politicians.

          • I asked for evidence icisil, even you should be able to recognize that an act of congress does not qualify as scientific evidence.

            Since this is the best you can do, thank you for admitting that you have no evidence to back up your paranoia.

        • “There was never any evidence that Agent Orange was bad for anyone who wasn’t growing leaves.”

          Either you are joking or else you are quite an imbecile…

      • Yes it does. A prime example of government incompetence.
        The dump was properly sealed, then it was taken over by the local government then turned over to a developer to build a sub-division.
        The company involved fought this decision all the way, but lost time and again in the courts.

        • @ Mark W
          I think we’re talking about a different incident. My original reading of “Times Beach” indicated that Monsanto was 1) careless with chemicals and 2) dishonest about it. My more recent reading does not involve Monsanto at all. In any case, it has nothing to do with glyphosate. I should not have mentioned it.

          • I was thinking about Love Canal.
            Times Beach was where they sprayed oil on dirt roads to prevent dust from blowing.
            Turns out the used oil had minute amounts of dioxin in it.
            Major panic by the usual suspects. Nobody hurt, but costly clean up followed.

  13. This is just like 2nd hand smoke. The liberals have been after Monsanto for years. Just like a battering ram, they will finally break through to the honey pot. If not this time, then they will try again and again and again and again.

  14. The Apocalyptics: Cancer and the Big Lie, by Edith Efron, published in 1984, explained how these shoddy scientific efforts work. There’s nothing new going on here, except that my loathing of lawyers just went up a notch. What percentage of America’s difficulties are caused by lawyers?

  15. Innocence and being right on facts have little weight in jury trials. Juries have predictable biases which lawyers use to pick juries. Expert witnesses often have no expertise whatsoever, and are often chosen because of their commanding presence and ability to relate to the jury. Juries are ill equipped to make any judgment about underlying science or the value of expertise. Then, when it comes to giving away shareholder’s money to a sympathetic plaintiff, the whole exercise is an abstraction for people who struggle to recall how many zero are in a million, or what the product of 9,000 times 78,000,000 amounts to.

    If Oakland had insisted on a jury trial rather than having Judge Alsup decide their case, I can just about guarantee that a jury, chosen carefully, would have given all of Chevron and maybe more to the city. The reason is that the average citizen hates the oil company, because, well because they charge too much for their products. The company, shareholders, employees are abstractions. I hate to seem so cynical, but the whole idea behind a jury of one’s peers is every bit as flawed as the idea of peer review. People decide far too much of the basis of personal animus, prejudice and gain.

    • A recent survey found that a solid majority of voters support raising taxes on the rich to 70% and higher.

      Why, because the rich have money, and the voters want it.

    • Juries are ill equipped to make judgement about underlying science in part because knowledgable jurors will be stricken by lawyers. Justice is not the goal.

  16. The point is Monsanto refuses to disclose is what additives it uses, otherwise termed surfactants or adjuvants. Nobody else can tell its safe without testing the final product which neither Monsanto nor EPA has done. Fortunately somebody did.

    On June 30, 2017, attorneys from Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, lawyers for the plaintiffs, released online court documents provided by Monsanto to the Court in the ongoing California case against Monsanto.

    Among the emails from the Monsanto internal documents is an email exchange marked Confidential, dated November 22, 2003, from Donna R. Farmer, PhD., then chief toxicologist at Monsanto responsible for glyphosate products worldwide. Farmer states, “The terms glyphosate and Roundup cannot be used interchangeably nor can you use “Roundup” for all glyphosate-based herbicides any more. For example, you cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen … we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.” 

    Another confidential Monsanto email dated December 14, 2010, more than seven years after Donna Farmer’s 2003 admission, states that “With regards to the carcinogenicity of our (Roundup-w.e.) formulations, we don’t have such testing on them directly, but we do have such testing on the glyphosate component.” 

    Monsanto has deliberately turned the public and legal debate to focus only on glyphosate. Are their trade secret additives including chemicals such as formaldehyde? We don’t know. Do they include known carcinogens ? We don’t know. Monsanto refuses to tell the public.

    Those additives are mostly classified as “trade secret” by Monsanto and have not even been made known to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    Among the Monsanto confidential emails is one dated March 5, 2013. In it Monsanto admits internally, “We do not conduct sub-chronic, chronic or teratogenicity studies with our formulations. The long-term exposure has been assessed according to the regulatory requirements in chronic and carcinogenicity studies conducted with the active ingredient glyphosate.”

    Monsanto admits that it only used tests of the possible carcinogenicity of its so-called “active ingredient” glyphosate. Never did they submit tests of the true Roundup cocktail actually used commercially.

    In a peer-reviewed scientific paper published on February 26, 2016 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, a team of toxicologists led by Gilles-Eric Séralini of the Institute of Biology, University of Caen in Normandy, France and András Székács, Director of the Agro-Environmental Research Institute of Hungary’s National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, tested the most commonly used glyphosate-based herbicides including Monsanto Roundup. They tested the complete cocktail, including the co-formulants and formulations used in combination with the glyphosate.

    Their tests concluded that the compounded herbicides using glyphosate as base, but including undisclosed “formulations” or surfactants or co-formulants, were vastly more toxic than glyphosate tested alone. They write, “All co-formulants and formulations were comparably cytotoxic well below the agricultural dilution of 1%.” Depending on the product, the tests revealed that glyphosate, in combination with co-formulants, could be up to 2000 times more toxic to cells than glyphosate alone.

    • Yep, where there’s a will there’s a way. Business as usual in the US is the reason that research had to happen in Europe.

  17. Your link to the Agricultural Health Study goes to a home page. Is this the study you mean? Glyphosate Use and Cancer Incidence in the Agricultural Health Study.

    Conclusions: In this large, prospective cohort study, no association was apparent between glyphosate and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including NHL and its subtypes. There was some evidence of increased risk of AML among the highest exposed group that requires confirmation.

  18. Considering spraying glyphosate on my weeds does nothing and roundup in fact a formulation of solvents and surfactants of which there are over 100 formulation my question is. What long term feeding studies can you name using roundup that includes blood and tissue sample analysis that shows the safety of roundup. My second question thus follows, so why you want to feed this stuff to your children? If our farmers are going to continue to use it, my family and I are not going to eat it. I believe this court case was won as much the exposure of the dirty dealing, revolving door between the EPA and Monsanto, purposeful suppression of unfavorable science and scientist, ghost writing, and much more.

    • Other than the silly notion that something can be proven “safe”, you are mostly 180 degrees out on the politics. The anti-glyphosate movement was driven by the “organic” marketing/quasi religious movement, which opposes “corporate farming” and is trying to impose it’s scientifically incoherent view of some Arcadian local, small farmer, landrace variety, peasant misery and starvation imposed on a gullible public.

      • Tom,

        Still “believing” glyphosate is not an organophosphorus? Your expertise of organic chemistry is none the less illuminating… Your level of knowledge does not seem to match the authoritative way you talk…

        • Astrocyte;

          The key characteristic of organophosphorus compounds is the inhibition of cholinesterase. Roundup does not inhibit cholinesterase. It even says that in the MSDS. Ergo, in terms of its chemical activity, it is not an organophosphorus compound.

          • I didn’t recall that glyphosate had anything like the method of action of VX or parathion, which is what I originally meant by organophosphates.

        • Astrocyte, don’t confuse talking about “the “organic” marketing/quasi religious movement” with “organic chemistry” the two are not the same thing. A carrot is organic (according to organic chemistry) but if it was grown using chemical fertilizers it is not organic (according to the organic marketing movement). Same word, two different meanings.

  19. Typical tactic of the herbicide loving crowd : “glyphosate is the active component of Roundup”.

    No it’s not the only one, it also contains old school herbicides like Arsenic and Cadmium, and other adjuvants.

    Most medical studies on Roundup have been fraudulent because they only studied the effect of glyphosate, which indeed doesn’t look very harmful. But the French study studied Roundup and other glyphosate based herbicides in all their chemical complexity.

    Drink a glass of it, I dare you.
    You are good on climate issues but you are wrong on herbicides. On this second subject history will prove your stance wrong.

    • Drink a glass of table salt, I dare you.

      There’s such a thing as concentration level. A few grains of salt, for example, is not only not harmful but actually beneficial (we need some salt in our diets), but a large amount (such as a glass full) is very harmful possibly even deadly. so your “drink a glass” dare is asinine and reveals a disturbing lack of perspective and lack of scientific knowledge.

      • Drink a 3.5% roundup solution. I have swam in the ocean and drank a cup of seawater. Nothing bad happened. Do the same with Roundup if you are so sure. You are right of course about quantities, and I should have compared what was comparable based on the table salt analogy. If you are in a scientific institution, buy roundup and run it through a mass spectrometer. I’ll stick to the seawater.

        • 3.5% solution of which version of roundup? The stuff sold at Home Depot? The stuff sold by the Nursery? The Concentrate available at Home Depot? The stuff sold at the CO-OP? Many states require Herbicide licenses for anything other than the weakest solution.

          • if we keep the table salt analogy, it would be 3.5% of the concentrate, supposing it is not diluted at all.

          • Actually you could make a 7% roundup solution to equal a 3.5% salt solution, because glyphosate accounts for less than 50% glyphosate. The untested adjuvants must be safe, right ? For a 60kg individual you would need 20L of 3.5% saltwater to reach the LD50. If RoundUp is as safe as table salt you could theoretically drink a 1L concentrate bottle.

    • @Frantxi
      OK, I don’t think that 90 parts per billion of Arsenic are going to be much of a threat to the user or the environment.

      • @D.J. yeah I checked the info too and the kind of language I used for arsenic could be called unjustified fear mongering. Sorry about that. I was also wrong about Cadmium, which I confused with Cobalt. Séralini compares the concentration to admitted drinking water levels which is wrong since no one seems stupid enough to drink roundup, let alone have it on a regular basis.

  20. Any biologists in the crowd ? Do you know soils produce fertility thanks to fungi and microorganisms ? RoundUp is patented as an antibiotic, it kills the life of the soil, including the worms who feed on bacteria, and actually improve soil structure, aeration and water retention. Herbicide use forces farmers to use fertilizers, most of the time inorganic which also doesn’t help the rhyzosphere much. I read people saying people who oppose herbicides and roundup resistant GMOs are eugenists, just check the data. Even their inventors don’t think they improved productivity.
    Are there industrial scale solutions ? There is soil solarization, there is flame weeding, and there is plastic, cardboard or other biomass mulching. Right now we are killing the rhyzosphere that all land life depends on.

    • Why do I even waste my time arguing with people like you Frantxi .?
      Glyphosate breaks down rapidly on the surface of the soil and only kills green vegetation that it touches
      .It does not kill seeds or even germinating shoots below the soil surface in the soil or worms .
      This is a urban myth .
      Conduct your own trial with a few shovel fulls of rich soil with plenty of worms and put outside in two boxes and count the worms in each box .
      Run your sprayer with Roundup at the correct dilution over one of the boxes .
      Then cover both boxes with chicken netting to stop the birds.
      Water both boxes it there is no rain .
      Check weekly how many worms have died or have been born in each box .
      Report your findings .

  21. If all else fails, read the instructions (straight from my squirt bottle of Roundup:

    “Avoid contact with the eyes and skin. Wash hands after use.”

  22. A civil law case has a much lower standard of evidence than a criminal one. If the jury is 51% convinced that a defendant is responsible, they are instructed to find them guilty. It would be nice if the scientific experts could be trusted to be completely accurate, but we know that’s never going to be true. At least the experts should have a high standard for their own scientific findings, but, once again, this is also not always true.

    Given the information they have, it’s very difficult to blame a jury for deciding in favor of anyone claiming to be harmed by a chemical sold by any company, no matter how harmless the chemical might be in reality. It’s wrong and unfair, but it’s an artifact of the system. This is why any company must carry insurance and why rates are so expensive. Someone will eventually sue the company and they’re going to take the fall, regardless of the real causes.

  23. Where are all of the sick and dying farmers and farm workers. It is as bad as they claim even school populations would be decreasing.

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