Just this past week a jury in San Francisco awarded a school groundskeeper, Dwayne Johnson, $289 million dollars, determining that agri-chemical giant Monsanto was to blame for his terminal cancer. The jury concluded that the chemical that caused Johnson’s non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was the weed killer, Roundup.
For over twenty years, scientists (the ones not paid by Monsanto) have warned consumers about the harm caused by Roundup’s main active ingredient, Glyphosate. The literature on Roundup is confusing thanks to the reports sponsored by Monsanto. Slowly, independent scientists are being acknowledged for their studies of this product. According to Scientific American, even inert ingredients in Roundup have now been shown to “kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.” Most recently, the World Health Organization and the state of California have officially listed Glyphosate as a likely carcinogen. There have been French studies showing that exposure to Roundup causes tumors in rats.
But besides the recent lawsuit against Monsanto, little has changed to protect the unsuspecting consumer from the dangers of Glyphosate. Most stores, even local ones, sell Roundup without additional warnings and one even keeps it on shelves next to its “organic” products. Local groundskeepers can be seen spraying the weed killer without any protection from repeated exposure. It will most likely take years of lawsuits against Monsanto and those employers who require their workers to use this cancer-causing chemical for the public to learn the true dangers of Glyphosate. Much like the groundbreaking lawsuits against cigarette companies that repeatedly denied the dangers of smoking, these lawsuits will slowly bring to light the dangers of chemicals we spray in our own yards and on our food.