Sales of Roundup Drop Amid Concerns Over Safety
Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer has been seeing sales of the popular product drop over serious concerns that the chemicals used in the product cause cancer. Major retailers like Home Depot, Costco, and Lowes have recently reported drops in sales after a California jury determined that Roundup caused a man’s cancer. Monsanto was ordered to pay $80 million in damages after the verdict came back in the plaintiff’s favor. The same jury found Monsanto liable in another case in which the plaintiff argued that Monsanto’s Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The man had used Roundup on his 56-acre property for over two decades. The lawsuit revived concerns that the glyphosate-based weed killer is a potential carcinogen.
Regulatory Agencies Rebuff Safety Concerns
While juries are beginning to deliver verdicts against Monsanto and many foreign governments have banned the weed killer, the U.S. remains resolved that the weed killer is not a carcinogen and safe to use. Glyphosate is currently banned in Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, and Bermuda. However, a Brazilian judge overturned the ruling while the state issued a period of research into the agrochemical. It currently appears unlikely that Brazil will remain on the list of the countries that ban glyphosate for long.
Other countries such as Italy, Portugal, Germany, France, and India have placed restrictions on the use of glyphosate in certain spaces. Canada is among those countries where 8 of 10 provinces have restricted the use of “cosmetic” agrochemicals and only allow the use of any agrochemicals when they are absolutely necessary.
Stateside, Monsanto is getting hit with numerous lawsuits related to glyphosate-borne cancers.
Early Studies Say Roundup is ‘Not Likely’ a Carcinogen
In Monsanto’s favor, the chemical in Roundup, glyphosate, has been cleared by regulatory agencies such as the EPA that regularly houses former Monsanto executives as the department’s head. The EPA ruled that glyphosate was ‘likely no’ carcinogenic to humans. However, a 2015 study conducted by the World Health Organization determined that glyphosate was “likely” to be carcinogenic to humans. This prompted a war between U.S. political interests that received millions in donations from Monsanto (or hoped to) to defend the product in international headlines.
To date, Bayer, the company that owns Monsanto, has lost two major lawsuits, both in California. The first was a $200 million verdict that was later reduced to $78 million and the most recent one was the $80 million verdict.
A recent study produced evidence that glyphosate increases the chances of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma up to 41%. The study, conducted by the University of Washington, reviewed existing studies into the herbicide which was the same methodology used by the WHO. Nonetheless, U.S. regulators are standing beside Bayer and Monsanto to fight off claims that the herbicide is potentially dangerous.
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