Feb. 8, 2019 – Ottawa, Canada – – After listening to a presentation and meeting with Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman attorneys during their recent trip to Canada, Member of Parliament Carol Hughes is calling for an independent review of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.
Three-term MP Hughes, who represents the electoral district of Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, told the media that “an independent review needs to be done on the effects of glyphosate.” She added that the review should be conducted at an “arm’s length” from Monsanto (now Bayer).
Canada MP Hughes: ‘There Has to be an Independent Review…’
MP Hughes met with American law firm Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman managing partner Michael Baum and partner R. Brent Wisner at the end of January to discuss Health Canada’s controversial decision to relicense glyphosate for 15 years. The government’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) approved glyphosate despite concerns that Monsanto may have influenced the scientific literature and the regulatory process.
Friends of the Earth invited the attorneys to Ottawa and Toronto to discuss the recent landmark verdict in the case of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson v. Monsanto Co., which culminated in a $289 million jury verdict against Monsanto. Michael Baum and R. Brent Wisner served on the trial team with Wisner delivering the opening and closing statements.
Over the course of two days, Mr. Baum and Mr. Wisner gave presentations and participated in roundtable discussions with Members of Parliament, environmental attorneys, activists and the general public. The attorneys showed audiences some of the internal Monsanto emails, text messages, company reports and other memoranda now known throughout the world as the Monsanto Papers.
The Monsanto Papers detail Monsanto’s ghostwriting, scientific manipulation, and collusion with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory agencies. The documents also include previously undisclosed information about how the human body absorbs glyphosate.
“Based on our successful disclosure of Monsanto’s paper trail, the jury [in the Johnson case] also found that Monsanto acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct. This determination should ring warning bells for Canadian Parliamentarians,” Michael Baum said during one of the presentations in Canada. He characterized the federal government’s decision to relicense glyphosate as “dead wrong”.
MP Hughes was moved by the presentation, telling the media that Baum and Wisner, “explained how a blind eye is being turned to scientific evidence that shows if a person is exposed to this herbicide for a long period, [it] causes cancer,” Ms. Hughes said.
“It was an interesting presentation. There has to be an independent review done. The federal government, as recently as January, indicated glyphosate can still be used. They are not listening to the disturbing reports that have come out about the effects of glyphosate use.”
“They talked about tests that have been undertaken on rats, and the effects the herbicide has on the rats, when they are exposed to it just in three days in a row … The evidence is this herbicide has shown to be playing a role in increased incidents of cancer in humans. So, they are asking us to push Canada’s government for an independent review of glyphosate.”
MP Hughes is not the only politician to call for an independent glyphosate review. MP Karen Ludwig, who represents the electoral district of New Brunswick Southwest, announced last year that she was pushing the federal government for an independent review. Ms. Hughes said she has asked to work with Ludwig to pursue the review.
Second Roundup Cancer Trial Starts Feb. 25 in California
In related news, the next U.S. Roundup cancer trial started on Feb. 25 in San Francisco, California. Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. is considered a bellwether case for more than 1,600 other plaintiffs with lawsuits filed and consolidated in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria for the Northern District of California.
The lawsuits allege that exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and its active ingredient, glyphosate, causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Mr. Hardeman’s case is the second Roundup cancer case to go before a jury.