Millions of internal documents from Monsanto – known as the Monsanto Papers – were released as part of lawsuits against the company involving claims that the active ingredient glyphosate in its herbicide Roundup causes cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and that the company knew of the risks but failed to warn consumers, including those regularly exposed to the product while working as groundskeepers, landscapers, and horticulturalists.
Monsanto has repeatedly said that its weed killers are safe, despite the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015 classifying glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Here is what the Monsanto Papers showed:
- Monsanto campaigned aggressively to protect Roundup, its flagship product.
- The company knew the potential risk of glyphosate for decades.
- In 2003, Monsanto was warned by its lead toxicologist that it could not definitively say that “Roundup is not a carcinogen,” because cancer risk with the weed killer had never been studied.
- Monsanto made efforts to cover up independent assessments of glyphosate.
- The company launched a public relations campaign to counter the IARC’s classification of glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.”
- Monsanto ghost-wrote scientific papers supporting the safety of glyphosate, and paid experts to sit on panels involving Roundup.
Monsanto, which was recently bought by Bayer AG, faces more than 560 Roundup lawsuits in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, and an additional 8,000-plus similar lawsuits in state courts.
Last August, a California jury awarded a school groundskeeper $289.25 million after finding that his regular use of Roundup contributed to his non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis.
The next trial date is slated for Feb. 5, 2019; however an expedited trial is requested in at least two other cases – one involving an elderly couple, both of whom have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma allegedly caused by the use of Roundup.
U.S. Right to Know