Lawyers in a high-profile lawsuit in California say U.S. agri-giant Monsanto asked the court to ignore relevant scientific data and discounted reliable studies as a way of covering up the health effects associated with glyphosate, the main ingredient in its flagship herbicide.
.. “There is overwhelming evidence — whether it be the epidemiology, toxicology or mechanistic data — that exposure to glyphosate-based formulations causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” plaintiff lawyers told the court
.. They also argue that Monsanto relies way too heavily on one study “that was flawed from its inception,”
.. That study — the Agricultural Health Study — looked at the effects of multiple pesticides, including glyphosate, on 89,000 farmers and their spouses in Iowa and North Carolina.
.. the Monsanto Papers, show a 2015 email from William F. Heydens, a Monsanto executive, in which he is cited telling other Monsanto officials to “ghostwrite” research on glyphosate by hiring academics to put their names on papers actually written by Monsanto.
“These chemicals are largely unknown,” said David Bellinger, a professor at the Harvard University School of Public Health, whose research has attributed the loss of nearly 17 million I.Q. points among American children 5 years old and under to one class of insecticides. “We do natural experiments on a population,” he said, referring to exposure to chemicals in agriculture, “and wait until it shows up as bad.”
.. The industry is winning on both ends — because the same companies make and sell both the genetically modified plants and the poisons. Driven by these sales, the combined market capitalizations of Monsanto, the largest seed company, and Syngenta, the Swiss pesticide giant, have grown more than sixfold in the last decade and a half. The two companies are separately involved in merger agreements that would lift their new combined values to more than $100 billion each.
.. “Currently available G.M. crops would not lead to major yield gains in Europe,” he said. And regarding herbicide-resistant crops in general: “I don’t consider this to be the miracle type of technology that we couldn’t live without.”
.. Figures from the United States Department of Agriculture show herbicide use skyrocketing in soybeans, a leading G.M. crop, growing by two and a half times in the last two decades, at a time when planted acreage of the crop grew by less than a third.
.. The whole point of engineering bug-resistant plants “was to reduce insecticide use, and it did,” said Joseph Kovach, a retired Ohio State University researcher who studied the environmental risks of pesticides. But the goal of herbicide-resistant seeds was to “sell more product,” he said — more herbicide.
.. Mr. Rousseau’s seeds cost about $85 for a 50,000-seed bag. Mr. Stone spends roughly $153 for the same amount of biotech seeds.