Two nonprofit organizations are suing Monsanto over what they claim is an intentionally misleading Roundup label that states glyphosate, the active ingredient in its Roundup weed killer, is “target[ing] an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets.”
Beyond Pesticides and the Organic Consumers Association filed the lawsuit today in Washington DC under the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act, charging that Monsanto’s Roundup label is “false and misleading” because of the enzyme that Roundup targets “in fact, is found in people and in pets,” according to the complaint.
Both groups allege that while representing itself as a trusted expert in herbicides, Monsanto knowingly made false and deceptive statements about Roundup not targeting an enzyme found in people and pets.
“Monsanto is aware of how glyphosate works on the shikimate pathway, and … is aware of studies showing that the shikimate pathway is present in bacteria integral to the digestive systems of people and pets,” according to the complaint. “Monsanto, therefore, knows that glyphosate targets an enzyme present not only in plants but also in people and pets.”
“Reasonable consumers must and do rely on Monsanto to report honestly Roundup’s effects on humans and animals and whether the enzyme it targets is found in people and pets,” the complaint states, adding that “no reasonable consumer seeing these representations would expect that Roundup targets a bacterial enzyme that is found in humans and animals and that affects their immune health.”
The lawsuit further alleges that the misleading Roundup label has allowed the company to sell more of its blockbuster herbicide, and at a higher price.
Beyond Pesticides and the Organic Consumers Association are seeking equitable relief on behalf of the public, with all profits Monsanto earned from Roundup sales in Washington DC to be deposited into a charitable fund aimed at raising consumer awareness of the effects of glyphosate.
Glyphosate Linked to a Number of Health Issues
Glyphosate’s claimed mechanism of action is that it interrupts the shikimate pathway, which is a metabolic function in plants that allows them to synthesize essential amino acids. When the shikimate pathway is interrupted, plants die. Human cells don’t have a shikimate pathway, which could be the basis for Monsanto’s claim that glyphosate only targets an enzyme found in plants, not in humans or pets.
The problem is that a shikimate pathway is found in bacteria, and we have millions of good bacteria in our guts—often referred to as our gut flora. Gut bacteria is essential to our health. It doesn’t just affect our digestion; it can also modulate our immune systems. Scientists believe that when glyphosate gets into our systems, be it from eating foods with glyphosate residue or through exposure to the chemical when it is sprayed on crops, it has the capacity to cause a number of different health problems.
A number of studies on glyphosate have found that incidences of inflammatory bowel diseases and food allergies have substantially increased over the last 10-15 years. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, one in 20 children now suffers from food allergies. That represents a 50 percent increase from the late 1990s.
Incidence of eczema and other skin allergies have risen by nearly 70 percent, now affecting one out of every eight children. Scientists argue that it is reasonable to suspect that glyphosate’s impact on gut bacteria may be contributing to these diseases and conditions, as well as a host of others.
Roundup Cancer Attorneys Representing Individuals from Across the Nation
Perhaps the most damaging and recognizable side effect of glyphosate is non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report on glyphosate, which concluded that the chemical is a probable human carcinogen.
According to the IARC report, the cancers most associated with exposure to glyphosate are non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other hematopoietic cancers. The report further concluded that there is evidence that glyphosate exposure can cause DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, as well as genotoxic, hormonal, and enzymatic effects in mammals.
The IARC report was the impetus behind hundreds of lawsuits filed against Monsanto by farmers, farmworkers, gardeners, landscapers, government workers, and a host of other individuals who allege that exposure to Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman is working alongside environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy to represent people in the ongoing Roundup cancer litigation. Our firm has filed claims on behalf of hundreds of people who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup.