Suit Filed Against Monsanto Alleges Deceptive Advertising of Roundup Herbicide

Product Liability
False Advertising

By Lynn Shapiro, Staff Writer

A new lawsuit was recently filed in a Wisconsin federal court against Monsanto’s blockbuster weed killer, Roundup.

Monsanto continues to claim Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is safe, even while the extremely effective weed killer has been found by the EPA and the World Health Organization to cause many types of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as digestive problems.

The lawsuit also names Roundup distributor, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, as defendant, alleging that farmers and gardeners are being misled by both firms into believing they can use the product without health concerns.

Thousands of agricultural workers and gardeners filed suit against Monsanto after they developed lymphoma.

The newest Wisconsin case includes plaintiffs from six large agricultural producers: Wisconsin, Illinois, California, New York, New Jersey and Florida.

“Defendants repeat these false and misleading representations throughout their marketing, including video advertisements produced for their website and YouTube Channel,” the lawsuit alleges.

The Wisconsin lawsuit is notably different from others in that it doesn’t allege that plaintiffs have been physically injured. It alleges deceptive advertising.

Roundup Ready Crops

Roundup Ready, the newest form of the Roundup herbicide, is genetically engineered so plants aren’t harmed by it. It’s sprayed on crops during the growing season.

Monsanto’s Roundup Ready marketing has been so effective that about 70 percent of corn and cotton and 90 percent of soybeans are genetically-modified Roundup Ready Crops.

The Roundup Ready seeds have been marketed since 1991 although Roundup was originally patented by Monsanto and has been a tremendous success since the 1970’s.   

Roundup Ready crops are sterile, so farmers and gardeners are forced to buy Monsanto seed annually.

EPA Caves to Monsanto Lobbying

In 1985, the EPA classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a Group C chemical, indicating it was possibly carcinogenic to humans. This finding was based on early animal studies, which showed increased incidence of cancer in mice exposed to the chemical.

In 1991, however, aggressive lobbying by Monsanto persuaded George H.W. Bush’s EPA to re-classify glyphosate as a Group E chemical, indicating there was no evidence that glyphosate herbicides manufactured as Roundup was unsafe.

The re-classification occurred just as Monsanto was about to introduce genetically-engineered Roundup Ready seeds that would become a $6 billion a year cash cow for Monsanto.

EPA Found Monsanto Data Fraudulent

In the early 1970’s, Monsanto hired industrial Bio-Test Laboratories to study Roundup’s toxicity levels.

One EPA reviewer said there was “routine falsification of data” and that it was “hard to believe the scientific integrity of the studies.”

As a result of this finding in 1983, three top Bio-Test executives were convicted of fraud, resulting in a New York State lawsuit alleging Monsanto refused to admit Roundup’s health hazards.

The suit was settled after the chemical company agreed to stop falsely advertising Roundup weed killer as safe within the state of New York.

California Ban

Meanwhile, California has added Roundup to its list of cancer-causing chemicals, effective July 7th.

A judge issued a final ruling on the herbicide on March 10, 2017, requiring California to list Roundup as a chemical known to cause cancer in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65.

Listing glyphosate as a carcinogen would require Monsanto and generic makers selling glyphosate in the state to post warning labels on their packaging.

Digestive Disorders

Scientists have noted Roundup’s association with serious health conditions is linked to its effect on the digestive system.

They say the same properties that make Roundup toxic to weeds also affect digestive microbes in the stomach.

 When human beings are exposed to Roundup, it leads to inflammation in the gut that can result in long term illnesses, including a heightened risk of cancer.

The most serious Roundup side effects include:

  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Bone Cancer
  • Melanoma

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