By: Dr. Chuck Benbrook
Many people ask me — Why the big punitive damage awards in the Roundup-Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) litigation?
Easy answer — Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s) lousy product “stewardship” behavior.
Company representatives and others up and down the herbicide supply chain have been reassuring Roundup users for almost a half-century that Roundup is as safe as common household products like coffee, acetaminophen, and apple cider vinegar.
And we all have heard more than once that Roundup is “safe enough to drink,” and you can hear it yourself from the farmer’s mouth – just scroll to the bottom of this post.
This claim that has surfaced many times in various dialogues on Hygeia’s Facebook and Twitter posts. Not a big deal when it is just a troll doing their thing, but not good when a farmer or landscaper that actually uses Roundup thinks this is true.
Such claims by anyone making or selling a pesticide are UNLAWFUL. Monsanto’s systemic negligence in stopping people from overstating Roundup’s “safety” is one reason why juries have awarded such sizable punitive damage awards. Want to see the tab? Hint – there are a lot of zeros!
BTW, for the non-lawyers among us, punitive damage awards are intended to punish bad behavior. In the Roundup-NHL litigation, after 6 to 8 weeks of trial, all three juries had heard enough about Monsanto’s bad behavior to convince them that Monsanto/Bayer not only deserved, but NEEDED a really big dose of punishment, in the hope it would change their behavior.
The message has clearly not gotten through, at least in terms of Monsanto/Bayer’s willingness to make Roundup safer.
Monsanto/Bayer has announced far and wide that Roundup is safe. EPA is right and IARC is wrong (for context look right). Monsanto/Bayer have promised farmers that there will be no changes in how Roundup is formulated, labeled, and can be applied in accord with label requirements, including no new PPE requirements.
In terms of Monsanto/Bayer’s willingness to make Roundup safer, the punitive damage awards have clearly not accomplished their intended purpose (changing corporate behavior).
So, almost all of us will continue to get our daily dose of glyphosate via our food. Farmers and applicators will continue to be exposed to U.S. Roundup formulations that are far more toxic than the Roundup products Monsanto/Bayer has been selling in Europe for almost 5 years now. I could go on…and on…
Check out “The New Bayer Acid Test” to see the steps Monsanto/Bayer should take, and needs to take, if they want to make “safety job #1” and save most Roundup uses.