Monsanto was sued in the state of Delaware (Roundup Petition) for causing a man’s non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The plaintiff is New York resident Kenneth Panthen, who was diagnosed with NHL after using Roundup for several years.
Roundup Lawsuit Petition
The lawsuit petition says Mr. Panthen was injured “as a direct and proximate result of (Monsanto’s) negligent and wrongful conduct in connection with the design, development, manufacture, testing, packaging, promoting, marketing, advertising, distribution, labeling, and/or sale of the herbicide Roundup®, containing the active ingredient glyphosate.”
Mr. Panthen maintains that “Roundup® and/or glyphosate is defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be marketed and sold in commerce.” He also alleges Roundup lacked proper warnings and directions regarding its dangers.
All Formulations of Roundup
Injuries were Avoidable
The Monsanto lawsuit petition also states that Mr. Panthen’s injuries, “like those striking thousands of similarly situated victims across the country, were avoidable.”
The petition also explains that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), 7. U.S.C. § 136 et seq.: “FIFRA requires that all pesticides be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prior to their distribution, sale. . .”
EPA does not verify Roundup Safety
Part of the EPA registration process requires a chemical maker to perform a variety of tests to evaluate the potential for exposure to pesticides, toxicity to people and other potential so-called “non-target organisms,” and other adverse effects on the environment. EPA registration, however, is no assurance or finding of safety, says the petition:
“The determination the EPA makes in registering or re-registering a product is not that the product is safe (emphasis ours), but rather that use of the product in accordance with its label directions ‘will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.’” 7 U.S.C. § 136(a)(c)(5)(D).
FIFRA defines “unreasonable adverse effects on the environment” to mean “any unreasonable risk to man or the environment, taking into account the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of the use of any pesticide.” 7 U.S.C. § 136(bb). FIFRA thus requires the EPA to make a risk/benefit analysis in determining whether a registration should be granted or allowed to continue to be sold in commerce.
EPA does not Test Monsanto Products
FIFRA generally requires that a registrant like Monsanto conduct health and safety testing of its pesticides. However, most people are surprised to learn that Monsanto and other pesticide makers perform their own tests; an agency like the EPA simply peruses those tests. The government does no safety testing of its own.
The petition explains: “The government is not required, nor is it able, to perform the product tests that are required of the manufacturer.”
Just as drug companies attempt to hide behind “FDA approval,” despite the fact that FDA does no drug testing of its own, Monsanto has attempted to hide behind EPA registration as some sort of official government certification of safety.
The other problem with that dubious position is that secret Monsanto emails between Monsanto executives and EPA officials in charge of registering (and, one can only hope, regulating) Roundup show that EPA employees worked to help Monsanto. Recently-released documents show that EPA officials helped slow reviews of Roundup/Glyphosate, and helped Monsanto sidestep any meaningful regulations. Several EPA officials have helped engineer public perception for the benefit of Monsanto.
Glyphosate a Probable Carcinogen
Monsanto became gravely concerned with public perception and legal problems after the World Health Organization declared in 2015 that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. Many of the legal cases regarding glyphosate in Roundup are based on that World Health Organization’s declaration. But the WHO is far from the only organization to find deeply troubling problems with glyphosate.