In a landmark case this August, a San Francisco court ruled in favor of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a 46-year-old husband and father who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after being exposed to the cancer-linked chemical glyphosate, which is found in the most-used herbicide in the world, Roundup. Johnson was directly exposed to the Monsanto product for great lengths of time while working as a groundskeeper at a Bay Area school, and now his body is covered in debilitating lesions so painful he has difficulty speaking at times. Johnson’s case was expedited under California law since his health is in rapid decline, being given only months to live while his wife works two full-time jobs to help pay for medical bills. Thanks to the use of scientific evidence (The World Health Organization classifies glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”) as well as exposing the fact that Monsanto has known about the human health risks caused by the chemical, the court ordered Monsanto pay Johnson $289 million.
This was the first court case of its kind, the first time an individual has successfully won a lawsuit against the mega-corporation Monsanto, and it will now stand as precedent for some 4,000 similar cases brought against Monsanto by those who have cancer or other illnesses believed to be linked to glyphosate exposure.
Although we remain hopeful that the suffering of Johnson and so many others will not be in vain and our Government will finally ban the use of the hazardous chemical, the truth is we are still far from that reality, and a recent study by Environmental Working Group (EWG) further shows just how widespread the problem of glyphosate is.
Testing 45 samples from over a dozen brands, including Quaker, General Mills, and Kellogg’s, EWG found glyphosate in all but two samples of products made with conventionally grown oats. Around 75 percent of those samples had glyphosate levels above what EWG scientists consider “protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.” And yes, organic brands like Nature’s Path and even the oats from Whole Foods bulk bin, had glyphosate detected in them. In fact, around a third of the 16 organic oat product samples tested had glyphosate, which can be credited to drift from nearby non-organic farms, as well as possible exposure during production.
The study concluded that “The EPA has calculated that 1-to-2-year-old children are likely to have the highest exposure, at a level twice greater than California’s No Significant Risk Level and 230 times EWG’s health benchmark.” Considering cereals like Cheerios are often one of the first solid foods toddlers snack on, this is extremely significant when it comes to the health of consumers.
To read more about the study and see all the products they tested, go here.
Unfortunately, glyphosate is virtually unavoidable, even with organic products. Therefore, the single best way to rid our society of the poison is at the judicial and legal level. We remain optimistic that Johnson’s win and the rest of the cases against Monsanto awaiting trial will spur a public discourse and protest to the point where glyphosate will ultimately be banned and stop putting innocent lives at risk. To add your name to a petition demanding a ban on glyphosate, go here.
And please remember to share this with your network as a public service and encourage your friends and family to get on board with you in signing the petition!
Image Source: Pixabay