Monsanto, perhaps America’s most hated corporate name, is about to disappear. Nonetheless, its toxic legacy will live on.
The name will disappear after the German conglomerate Bayer takes ownership of the St. Louis based agribusiness concern. Bayer bought Monsanto for $63 billion on June 7 after two years of negotiations with European Union regulators, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Furthermore, Bayer will keep operating Monsanto and make all of its products, including Roundup, but will drop the name. It is easy to see why Bayer is dropping the name: Monsanto has been controversial for decades. It manufactured the notorious herbicide Agent Orange that poisoned both U.S. troops and civilians during the Vietnam War. More recently, the company has been a major producer of genetically modified (GMO) seeds and many have accused them of selling cancer-causing products.
Roundup Maker To Get New Name
Monsanto’s most controversial product is the weed-killer Roundup, which many lawsuits have accused of causing cancer. DeWayne Johnson developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) after spraying Roundup for three years while working as a groundskeeper at a school district in California, Mother Earth News reported. By January 2018, Johnson’s body was covered with lesions and he could no longer speak.
Monsanto suppressed studies that exposed Roundup’s cancer risks, as Johnson’s lawyers have charged. The trial in Johnson’s case is supposed to begin on June 18 in San Francisco, just in time for Bayer to get an introduction to American courts. “The internal correspondence noted by Johnson could support a jury finding that Monsanto has long been aware of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicides are carcinogenic,” Judge Curtis Karnow wrote in an opinion on the case. He further stated, “But has continuously sought to influence the scientific literature to prevent its internal concerns from reaching the public sphere and to bolster its defenses in products liability actions.”
Lawsuit Claims Monsanto Made Roundup More Toxic
Johnson’s case will be the first Roundup lawsuit to go to trial, The Guardian reported. Moreover, around 4,000 people are suing Monsanto over Roundup in the United States. Legal experts think that if Johnson’s lawsuit succeeds it will open the floodgates for a torrent of lawsuits against Monsanto and Bayer. Johnson’s attorneys are alleging that Monsanto’s formula for Roundup was even more toxic than glyphosate alone. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.
Beyond the plans to drop the name, Bayer’s plans for Monsanto are not clear. The Post-Dispatch speculated Bayer may sell off some of Monsanto’s businesses to the German chemical company BASF. The name Monsanto will probably vanish after the BASF transactions are complete. News stories did not say whether Bayer will sell Roundup or stop making it. Monsanto employs around 5,400 people in St. Louis, and the fate of their jobs is unknown. Analysts have found that another Monsanto weed killer, dicamba, has damaged millions of acres of crops, The Post-Dispatch reported. Dicamba is supposed to kill “Roundup-resistant super weeds,” but it is apparently too powerful.
Carcinogenic Herbicides Are What’s For Dinner
Almost every American might be in danger from Roundup. Researchers have detected the herbicide’s active ingredient in many of the foods on supermarket shelves. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had trouble finding foods that companies had not contaminated with glyphosate, The Guardian reported. FDA scientists found glyphosate in almost every food they tested. “I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal, and cornmeal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them,” FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote in an email obtained by The Guardian. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had a plan to start testing foods for glyphosate but dropped it in 2017.
It is unlikely that major corporations will put away glyphosate even if Monsanto disappears and Bayer stops marketing Roundup. Since American farmers use 200 million pounds of the weed killer every year, somebody else would have a strong incentive to sell a similar glyphosate herbicide. The best way to protect your family from glyphosate is to grow as much of your own food as possible with heirloom seeds and organic methods. If that is impossible, buy non-GMO products and try to buy food from organic family farmers.
You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: Monsanto Finally Admits What We All Suspected About Roundup & Cancer
What do you think about Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto? Let us know in the comments below.