Of late, there have been several Monsanto-Bayer financial settlements granted to those who have been diagnosed with cancer as a direct result of using their most popular product, Roundup.
You know those commercials where the voice over asks if you or a loved one has suffered from [fill in the blank for whatever illness or disease is mentioned in the commercial], you may be entitled to a large financial settlement. Call [the law firm soliciting the
victims]. Well, either those ads are really working, or those who have suffered from any one of those illnesses mentioned in the law firms’ advertising campaigns were both sick enough and smart enough to call the law firm of their choice without ever seeing those TV commercials.
It didn’t surprise me at all that there was finally a commercial asking its viewers if they have been diagnosed with cancer from using Roundup. Those of us who have followed any of the “health sites” online regarding how to choose healthier foods, or how we can avoid those foods that can cause illness or disease, already had known for years that Roundup was the worst thing one can use on one’s crops.
One thing that we must remember when it comes to informing the elderly — whether we consider that category starting around 60 or even earlier or later — is that many of the elderly do not use computers and are not exposed to all the information online that the younger generations are exposed to. They do not have access to all those health sites that warn us of the dangers of glyphosates, GMOs and such, explaining in detail the whys and wherefores of the dangers and how to avoid them.
Those of us in the know would say it seems so simple to just buy all organic produce and forego any produce that has been treated with Roundup or its stronger cousin, but it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that 1) many people actually believe the commercials on TV, and 2) the cost of food is always a factor. If organic food always costs more, that would not be the food that is first choice of the elderly or the uneducated, or the financially-challenged. And It wouldn’t be the food of the nonbeliever, who hopefully is finally getting the message now that Roundup causes cancer.
In addition to the over $2 billion payout, the couple was also awarded $55 million for damages. And there are approximately 11,000 lawsuits of that type pending throughout the country. I’m surprised there are not more. People like “easy,” and Roundup promotes its product as easy to use.
In addition to that, it obviously does not come with a noticeable warning label; in fact, the company that makes it and the company that sells it still to this day claims that its main ingredient, glyphosate, is not harmful to animals, the environment, and certainly
not to humankind. (I do wonder if that is what they use on their own gardens from which they harvest vegetables to feed their own children, mothers, and grandmothers.)
The couple who received the payout, the largest for Monsanto so far, was Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, California, who were both diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. They had been using the Roundup product on their residential properties since the 1970s, when Monsanto first began to sell the product. The elderly couple, both in their 70s, filed suit in state court. After a relatively short five-week trial, the jury awarded $1 billion apiece to the Pilliods in punitive damages, plus another $55 million in damages.
I do believe that even the lawyers are getting sick and tired of Monsanto’s deception in advertising and want to have these lawsuits
make a statement as well as compensate the injured parties. It’s the largest and the third payout in a row for Monsanto in regard to its Roundup lawsuits which claim that the product is a direct contributor
to or cause of their clients’ cancers.
Perhaps the reason for the much higher payout was that the attorneys were allowed to present the huge and complete amount of evidence to support the charges against the Roundup product. Perhaps they were able to show how Monsanto manipulated the results of safety tests, and by clever rewording of the facts, gained endorsements and recommendations, and were able to present their product as worth buying and worth using; their advertising made it seem like the best thing since sliced bread, as they say. Apparently, there was never any warning that it could cause cancer or any other illness.
The couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, California, had no idea that the product was so harmful to their health.
According to an online article, contributed to by Andrew Blankstein and Adiel Kaplan, Bayer, the company that bought Monsanto in 2018, said in a statement that they are “disappointed with the jury’s decision and will appeal the verdict in this case,” and that there is a “consensus among leading health regulators worldwide that glyphosate-based products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.” Really? They are “disappointed” that they got caught being harmful to the health of many humans and never warned them about the dangers!! Well, my goodness! And I do wonder what leading health regulators have deemed glyphosate not only noncarcinogenic but actually safe. Notice their use of the words “can be used safely,” but their lack of the words, “if one uses a gas mask and wears a hazmat suit.” Has anyone bothered to go and check out their gardens or the health of their friends who have been using their products to support them? Have they recommended their product,
Roundup, to their own families? Monsanto did not immediately respond to a request for comment. What would they say? “We’re glad we sold our company before all these lawsuits started coming down on us!”
When I first saw this news item on TV, Alva Pilliod wondered out loud why Monsanto never had big warning labels on the Roundup bottles.
Well, that is so very easy to answer, Alva. If there was an adequate warning on the bottles, many people, likely including you and your husband, would not have chosen that particular weed killer, preferring your health to ease of use or even good results. Profit is always the reason that companies lie to us and deceive us, both in their TV commercials and on their labels, and maybe now, thanks to these giant forced lawsuit payouts, those profit-only driven companies will have a second thought about the safety of those who use their products.
In 2018, Dewayne Johnson, a San Francisco groundskeeper who used Roundup in the performance of his job, was the first of the thousands of people suing the company to go to trial. The jury first awarded him $290 million, but it was later reduced to $78.5 million by the judge.
Monsanto still appealed the decision. (2018 was the year Monsanto sold out to Bayer. I wonder if there was any connection.)
Then in March of this year, a federal jury ordered Monsanto to pay $80 million to Edwin Hardeman, a 70-year-old man with cancer who had used the product for three decades on his over 50-acre property in Sonoma County, California. The jury, quite justly, found that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in his illness.
Are we beginning to see a pattern? With total payouts — and this is only so far — to more than $2.2 billion, will this finally bring
Roundup down? How many more people have to take them to court to say in front of the judge and everyone present that they’re mad as hell and are not going to take it any more?
* * * * *
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at email@example.com.