The Monsanto and Dewayne Johnson Court Case

Dan Wilson

Senior Member.
Monsanto (now merged with Bayer) is receiving a new wave of disapproval from the general public as a jury has ruled in favor of Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year old groundskeeper, and awarded him $289 million in damages. Johnson sued Monsanto claiming that the herbicide Roundup gave him cancer and that the company failed to warn consumers about the dangers of it. What is getting the most attention, however, is the claim that internal documents revealed that Monsanto knew about the dangers of Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, for decades and purposely manipulated the science to cover it up. Almost none of this is true.

Does glyphosate cause cancer?
The best evidence, gathered and reviewed by independent institutions from all over the world, says no. Although glyphosate was classified as a "probable carcinogen" in 2015, most scientists feel that the data does to support that classification. I previously wrote another thread about this but here are some brief excerpts from the most recent relevant publications. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29136183
In this large, prospective cohort study, no association was apparent between glyphosate and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including NHL [non-Hodgkin lymphoma] and its subtypes. There was some evidence of increased risk of AML among the highest exposed group that requires confirmation.
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27677669
Glyphosate has been rigorously and extensively tested for carcinogenicity by administration to mice (five studies) and to rats (nine studies). Most authorities have concluded that the evidence does not indicate a cancer risk to humans.
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27552246
It is shown that the classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen was the result of a flawed and incomplete summary of the experimental evidence evaluated by the Working Group.
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Did Monsanto fail to warn consumers about Roundup?
Given that there is no solid link between normal glyphosate exposure and cancer, no. Monsanto claims that if used according to the label, there is little risk. The Roundup label does in fact provide safety information including the recommendation of personal protective equipment (PPE) and to wash clothes worn during use of Roundup separately from other clothes. https://45ijagbx6du4albwj3e23cj1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/Roundup-Original.pdf Screen Shot 2018-08-14 at 12.31.40 PM.png
Did Monsanto manipulate the science, ghost-write articles, and bully scientists?
No. Even with the full release of emails and documents, no evidence of foul play can be found despite contradictory headlines. All relevant emails and documents can be found here: https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/toxic-tort-law/monsanto-roundup-lawsuit/monsanto-secret-documents/ Each description of every document is greatly exaggerated. Let's look at an example. What the headline says:
4.Monsanto Email from Donna Farmer Demonstrating Company Manipulation of Glyphosate Studies
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What the document actually shows are standard peer-review style edits to a paper. Going through all of the edits, not once does the editor change or manipulate data or rewrite any conclusions. In fact, Monsanto has long been accused of doing things like this but each investigation concludes that nothing nefarious happened. Instead, we find just find collaboration, a staple of good science. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017...l-school-says-no-evidence-monsanto-ghostwrote
Another researcher mentioned in the email, David Kirkland, a genetic toxicologist based in Tadcaster, U.K., was a co-author on a 2016 paper with Williams and several others. That paper, which appeared in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, reviewed the IARC findings and concluded the scientific research didn’t support claims that glyphosate posed a risk of genetic toxicity. He is adamant that the paper was not ghostwritten. "I’ve been in the field for 35 years. I’ve got a global reputation,” he told ScienceInsider. “I'm not about to try and compromise that by signing up to a paper that has been ghostwritten by someone else.”
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No corporation is perfect. Monsanto does work with scientists outside of their company and pays some as consultants, which is common for companies to do. The main thing to emphasize here is that there is no evidence that these interactions have compromised the integrity or authenticity of the data and its interpretations by the scientific community as a whole. Monsanto is a particularly hated company, mostly because of very pervasive myths. As a result, a lot of bunk is associated with almost every story about them. Courts and lawyers do not represent scientific consensus. Scientific consensus is decided by the data and made clear by the voices of scientists. By the fault of both scientists and media outlets, those voices are not being heard.
 
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Agent K

Senior Member
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27552246
It is shown that the classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen was the result of a flawed and incomplete summary of the experimental evidence evaluated by the Working Group.
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IARC said the author quoted above was paid by Monsanto.
The journal article by Tarone referenced in the Reuters article acknowledges that the author consulted with a lawyer representing Monsanto and that payment was received for that consultation. IARC scientists took note of the article and submitted a Letter to the Editor of that journal in December 2016. To date, this letter has not been published. However, the journal’s editors have indicated, most recently in correspondence dated 17 May 2017, that the article by Tarone will be corrected to report the author’s paid consultation with Monsanto as a conflict of interest. In additional, the journal editor indicated that the text of the published article itself will be changed and that the revised article will be characterized as an “opinion paper” rather than a “research paper”.
http://governance.iarc.fr/ENG/Docs/IARC_responds_to_Reuters_15_June_2017.pdf
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Any better sources on why the IARC Working Group was wrong?
 
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Agent K

Senior Member
Did Monsanto manipulate the science, ghost-write articles, and bully scientists?
No. Even with the full release of emails and documents, no evidence of foul play can be found despite contradictory headlines. All relevant emails and documents can be found here: https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/toxic-tort-law/monsanto-roundup-lawsuit/monsanto-secret-documents/ Each description of every document is greatly exaggerated. Let's look at an example. What the headline says:
4.Monsanto Email from Donna Farmer Demonstrating Company Manipulation of Glyphosate Studies
Content from External Source
What the document actually shows are standard peer-review style edits to a paper. Going through all of the edits, not once does the editor change or manipulate data or rewrite any conclusions. In fact, Monsanto has long been accused of doing things like this but each investigation concludes that nothing nefarious happened. Instead, we find just find collaboration, a staple of good science. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017...l-school-says-no-evidence-monsanto-ghostwrote
Another researcher mentioned in the email, David Kirkland, a genetic toxicologist based in Tadcaster, U.K., was a co-author on a 2016 paper with Williams and several others. That paper, which appeared in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, reviewed the IARC findings and concluded the scientific research didn’t support claims that glyphosate posed a risk of genetic toxicity. He is adamant that the paper was not ghostwritten. "I’ve been in the field for 35 years. I’ve got a global reputation,” he told ScienceInsider. “I'm not about to try and compromise that by signing up to a paper that has been ghostwritten by someone else.”
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Well that was cherry-picked. Monsanto's executive admitted that Monsanto ghostwrote "Williams Kroes & Munro 2000" and suggested ghostwriting for Monsanto's former consultant Kirkland for the 2016 paper that Monsanto funded.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017...l-school-says-no-evidence-monsanto-ghostwrote
Monsanto officials had learned in advance of IARC’s 2015 decision, and considered responses aimed at quickly pushing back against the agency’s findings, according to emails among company executives. Several options involved seeking to publish papers in scientific journals buttressing the company’s contention that the chemical didn’t pose a health risk to people. That included sponsoring a wide-ranging paper that, according to an email from one company executive, could cost more than $250,000 to produce.

In one email, William Heydens, a Monsanto executive, weighed in on that option, suggesting Monsanto could cut costs by recruiting experts in some areas, but then “ghost write” parts of the paper. “An option would be to add Greim and Kier or Kirkland to have their names on the publication, but we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just sign their names so to speak. Recall this is how we handled Williams Kroes & Munro 2000,” Heydens wrote in an email. (See p. 203 of this PDF.)

The lead author on “Williams Kroes & Munro 2000” was NYMC’s Gary Williams, an M.D. whose “research interests include mechanisms of carcinogenesis” and the “metabolic and genetic effects of chemical carcinogens,” according to a university website. Williams did not respond to an email from ScienceInsider seeking comment. His two co-authors, Robert Kroes and Ian Munro, have died, according to media reports. The journal’s editor, Gio Gori, a former National Institutes of Health researcher who drew attention in the 1980s for accepting funding from the tobacco industry and questioning the risks posed by second-hand smoke, could not be reached.

Another researcher mentioned in the email, David Kirkland, a genetic toxicologist based in Tadcaster, U.K., was a co-author on a 2016 paper with Williams and several others. That paper, which appeared in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, reviewed the IARC findings and concluded the scientific research didn’t support claims that glyphosate posed a risk of genetic toxicity. He is adamant that the paper was not ghostwritten. "I’ve been in the field for 35 years. I’ve got a global reputation,” he told ScienceInsider. “I'm not about to try and compromise that by signing up to a paper that has been ghostwritten by someone else.”

Kirkland, who works as a private consultant, has served as a consultant for Monsanto on a glyphosate task force in Europe, and Monsanto provided the funding behind the 2016 study, according to disclosures accompanying the paper. Kirkland also co-wrote a 2013 paper reviewing research around the health effects of glyphosate, under a contract with the Glyphosate Task Force, an industry-backed group, he says. But Kirkland says the money’s source didn’t influence his findings. “I make my judgements based on the science and not on any particular stakeholder,” he says.

A top Monsanto executive echoes Kirkland, stating that Monsanto employees did not write any portions of either the 2000 or 2016 papers. Rather, Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy, says Monsanto scientists will work with outside scientists to help them access research data and other scientific information held by the company. “There was nothing secret or hidden or underhanded here. What I regret is the unfortunate use of the words ‘ghostwriting.’ That’s an inappropriate way to refer to the collaborative scientific engagement that went on here,” Partridge says.
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Does anyone believe that "the money’s source didn’t influence his findings" or that the words "ghostwriting" and "us doing the writing and they would just sign their names" referred to collaborative scientific engagement?
Imagine if ExxonMobil had that kind of engagement with climate scientists.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Any better sources on why the IARC Working Group was wrong?
He gave you other references. and explained the style edits he examined, did not change the data or conclusions of the paper. Can you give an example where Monsanto edits changed the data or conclusion of the research? This is not meant as a combative question, I am genuinely interested.

[and thank you for making me check your quote. the very next line says
Further information about the IARC Monographs, including the correct classifications of glyphosate (Group 2A), red meat (Group 2A), and coffee (Group 3), can be found at monographs.iarc.fr.
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and that was a question I had regarding a federal judge recently ruling that Monsanto didn't have to put warning labels on their product. Although in fairness I don't read my meat labels all that closely, will have to check if they now have warning labels on them.


IARC said the author quoted above was paid by Monsanto.
Actually, based on your quote, IARC said the author [Tarone] quoted above disclosed in the paper he was paid by Monsanto. All research papers require writers to disclose conflicts of interest. But a conflict of interest, while important to note, does not mean the data is faulty. Herndon is a conspiracy theorist, but that doesn't mean out of hand his data or conclusions are faulty in the papers he writes. One needs to prove the data or conclusions in the paper are faulty.

Reuter's allegedly agreeing to mark the piece as an "opinion piece" does not mean it is not a "research paper". Reuters is a mainstream media outlet not a scientific source.

Does anyone believe that "the money’s source didn’t influence his findings"
That's like saying 'man made global warming' is a farce or autism research is a farce because financial support is provided by people with a vested interest in a certain conclusion. Which of course, is what some conservatives say re global warming. But feeling that is so, is not proof it is so.

or that the words "ghostwriting" and "us doing the writing and they would just sign their names" referred to collaborative scientific engagement?
I don't. Papers with multiple authors, obviously they aren't all doing the writing together. You read the paper and make sure it is written properly before you sign your name. If you sign your name, that means any mistakes are on you, not the writer.
 

Dan Wilson

Senior Member.
Any better sources on why the IARC Working Group was wrong?
There are plenty. You can find that the IARC is essentially alone in its classification of glyphosate as a "probable carcinogen" with every other agency disagreeing with the idea that glyphosate poses a harm to consumers at normal exposure levels. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5515989/
The IARC conclusion was not confirmed by the EU assessment or the recent joint WHO/FAO evaluation, both using additional evidence.
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Imagine if ExxonMobil had that kind of engagement with climate scientists.
If ExxonMobil bought a few scientists, which they do, the scientific consensus would still speak louder, which it does. Whether or not the general public believes the scientific consensus is another story but you would be hard pressed to find many journal articles saying things Exxon would be thrilled about. With glyphosate, the independent investigations find that its just not dangerous when used correctly, just as Monsanto had found in their tests. It is very difficult today for a company to buy out the scientific community. There are too many independent researchers doing their own work for results to be "bought." That's not to say it's impossible but with the amount of data consistently coming to the same conclusion, we can be confident in saying that glyphosate is one of the least harmful herbicides on the market today. What's important to note here is that there is no evidence that Monsanto manipulated data.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
In one email, William Heydens, a Monsanto executive, weighed in on that option, suggesting Monsanto could cut costs by recruiting experts in some areas, but then “ghost write” parts of the paper. “An option would be to add Greim and Kier or Kirkland to have their names on the publication, but we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just sign their names so to speak. Recall this is how we handled Williams Kroes & Munro 2000,” Heydens wrote in an email. (See p. 203 of this PDF.)

hmm.. interesting your mag has a slightly different quote then the source they give.
n.PNG
 

Agent K

Senior Member
He gave you other references. and explained the style edits he examined, did not change the data or conclusions of the paper. Can you give an example where Monsanto edits changed the data or conclusion of the research? This is not meant as a combative question, I am genuinely interested.

Monsanto's exec said the company ghostwrote Williams Kroes & Munro 2000. That's the same Williams who co-wrote the 2016 paper with Kirkland.

Actually, based on your quote, IARC said the author [Tarone] quoted above disclosed in the paper he was paid by Monsanto.
Right, it's buried in the paper, and the journal didn't report the conflict of interest where it's supposed to.

All research papers require writers to disclose conflicts of interest. But a conflict of interest, while important to note, does not mean the data is faulty.
It wasn't even a research paper, it was an opinion paper by a biased guy. I'm not qualified to tell if his claims are faulty, but I can tell that he's biased.

Reuter's allegedly agreeing to mark the piece as an "opinion piece" does not mean it is not a "research paper".
The European Journal of Cancer Prevention marked it as an "opinion paper", not Reuters.

That's like saying 'man made global warming' is a farce or autism research is a farce because financial support is provided by people with a vested interest in a certain conclusion.
No, it's like saying ExxonMobil-funded Global Warming denial is a farce.
 

Dan Wilson

Senior Member.
Monsanto's exec said the company ghostwrote Williams Kroes & Munro 2000. That's the same Williams who co-wrote the 2016 paper with Kirkland.
The paper by Williams, Kroes, and Munro was not a research paper, it was a review. From the emails we can gather that it was, at least in part, ghost-written by Monsanto employees and then edited by the listed authors. However, it is a review of the literature that includes a lot of work done by independent organizations, which can speak for itself if you don't trust the review. I don't see this as nefarious or evidence of Monsanto actually manipulating data.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Monsanto's exec said the company ghostwrote Williams Kroes & Munro 2000. That's the same Williams who co-wrote the 2016 paper with Kirkland.
that doesn't even begin to answer my question.



It wasn't even a research paper, it was an opinion paper by a biased guy. I'm not qualified to tell if his claims are faulty, but I can tell that he's biased.
I didn't realize you were referencing a review. sorry. I can't access the piece.. what in his review indicates he is biased?


The European Journal of Cancer Prevention marked it as an "opinion paper", not Reuters.
my mistake. you're right. the full link was talking about misinformation in the Reuters article.. so I thought that's what they meant by "journal" . sorry :)

No, it's like saying ExxonMobil-funded Global Warming denial is a farce.
Same difference. Obama had a agenda so if gov funded global research then we can opine 'they must be biased'. Anyway, this is MB. The whole point of MB is to not rely on our own biases and make assumptions.

Do we dismiss CT evidence simply because they are conspiracy theorists? no. we examine the evidence behind the claim.
 

Cedtomcat

New Member
I always see articles using round-up and glyphosate without making any differences between the two.

The informations I gathered mostly show that glyphosate is harmless ( except if you are a plant ;)) but round-up "activators" ( sorry, i don't have the english term for the chemicals that help the glyphosate be assimilated by the plant) are the things that make it toxic.

Are there meta-studies differenciated between the two?


Mike DeVito, acting chief of the National Toxicology Program Laboratory, told the Guardian the agency’s work is ongoing but its early findings are clear on one key point. “We see the formulations are much more toxic. The formulations were killing the cells. The glyphosate really didn’t do it,” DeVito said.

A summary of the NTP work stated that glyphosate formulations decreased human cell “viability”, disrupting cell membranes. Cell viability was “significantly altered” by the formulations, it stated.

DeVito said the NTP first-phase results do not mean the formulations are causing cancer or any other disease. While the work does show enhanced toxicity from the formulations, and show they kill human cells, the NTP appears to contradict an IARC finding that glyphosate and/or its formulations induce oxidative stress, one potential pathway toward cancer. The government still must do other testing, including examining any toxic impact on a cell’s genetic material, to help add to the understanding of risks, according to DeVito.
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https://www.theguardian.com/us-news...sts-monsanto-health-dangers-active-ingredient
 
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Cedtomcat

New Member
Thank you to have added a source, mine are mostly in french. I can post it but it would be of little use for the majority on this forum...

I couldn't find study comparing glyphosate and round-up toxicity. Even the one posted test only formulations, not the molecule alone.
 

Dan Wilson

Senior Member.
Are there meta-studies differenciated between the two?
All epidemiological studies that look at human exposure to glyphosate are actually looking at their exposure to RoundUp, since RoundUp is the main source of glyphosate exposure.

Many lab studies do differentiate the two, especially in regards to how they might affect wildlife. For example: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29990732
Overall, the present findings highlighted the hazard of glyphosate exposure [in zebrafish] not only in the commercial formulation but also glyphosate alone, since both can induce damage in the ZF-L cell line primarily through the induction of apoptosis.
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Another example is the widely debunked Seralini paper which used RoundUp formula instead of glyphosate alone and the data there actually showed that male rats that drink RoundUp live longer.

Overall, I think it makes sense that the RoundUp formula would be more toxic than the glyphosate alone but most lab studies test the affects of the the formula on cell culture which is really a poor predictor of how exposure affects human health. There are two reasons for this. 1) Cells in a dish do not behave like cells in a body. In a body you have organs and many other cell types that can affect cellular responses. 2) Studying chemical exposure this way mimics what would happen if those chemicals were in the bloodstream which isn't always realistic. These studies are very useful for determining mechanisms of how chemicals might affect cells but it has to match with epidemiological and animals studies for a clear picture of what is going on.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I couldn't find study comparing glyphosate and round-up toxicity.
Newspaper reports say this man, Dewayne Johnson, also used a product called "Ranger Pro". I mention this because even though I feel the safety precautions on Round-Up bottles tells us that spraying Round-Up is not like spraying lemonade, it is important to not jump to conclusions about Round-up based on this lawsuit. Although, I do not know how often he used each product.
 
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