If you think all the talk about glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup) is simply fear-mongering, think again. Dewayne Johnson (NOT the actor/wrestler) took Monsanto to court last year claiming their product gave him cancer, and guess what? HE WON.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Who is Dewayne Johnson?
Dewayne Lee Johnson is a former school groundskeeper in California who was able to prove that not only did exposure to Roundup cause his cancer (after he accidentally spilled it on himself at work on 2 occasions), but that Monsanto KNEW their weedkiller could cause cancer for decades yet continued to market it as a safe product. They hid the truth to protect their wallets, at the expense of innocent people.
Mr. Johnson’s terminal cancer diagnosis will not go away with the $289 million settlement he won. It will not extend his lifespan. But it will give him peace of mind knowing that not only will his family be taken care of after he dies but he has successfully taken on a GIANT and paved the way for others to do so as well (there are over a thousand similar cases against Monsanto, and counting). Not to mention the exposure his case has gotten could prevent countless others from the same fate.
Damning evidence presented during the trial included discussions among Monsanto employees about ghostwriting scientific papers to say glyphosate does not cause cancer. They wanted to ghostwrite these journal articles in an effort to discredit the IARC’s (International Agency For Research On Cancer) classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.
What is “ghostwriting”?
Ghostwriting is the practice of writing material for a different author, without acknowledging the true author of the material.
In the scientific community there are some research articles written and published by seemingly unbiased scientists who are actually being paid by big corporations, yet they give no disclosure of their affiliation with these companies. Some of them have had all or portions of their articles ghostwritten by these corporations. These studies tend to claim that certain chemicals (used and/or sold by the corporations they secretly take money from) are harmless.
There are also writers who publish ghostwritten articles under their own names in popular publications to attack studies (and people) that link pesticides and GMOs to cancer. The New York Times has written about this issue and the activist Vani Hari has been exposing these shady practices for quite some time now (and has become a target due to her activism and influence).
How do you determine the truth?
Don’t believe everything you read. Be critical. If you read something that concerns you, dig deeper and look into the sources. Look into the author and any affiliations he or she may have. Use common sense.
Why is there so much debate regarding glyphosate?
Studies have been conflicting so far but that’s because the link between cancer and ANYTHING is hard to prove due to the fact that there are so many variables that can affect cancer risk. That’s why it took decades to prove the link between cigarettes and lung cancer (also because the tobacco industry fought hard and dirty to skew the evidence much like the big chemical corporations are doing now).
While people who don’t smoke can still get lung cancer due to other causes and not everyone who smokes is guaranteed to get lung cancer, there is still a proven increased risk of lung cancer for smokers. So some studies will show a link while others don’t, just as some studies show a link between cancer and glyphosate while others don’t.
However, a recent large-scale study found that people who ate mostly organic food were 25% less likely to get cancer than people who ate mostly conventional food over a 4 year period. I’d say that’s pretty significant. And I bet that percentage would have been higher had the study gone on longer.
Food is not your only source of glyphosate exposure. A lot of people use Roundup on their lawns and gardens; it’s also used on many school fields and parks. So if you want your kids to safely run around barefoot in the backyard then skip the weedkiller, and keep their shoes on when they’re in public parks and playgrounds.
When the Environmental Working Group released a report stating that glyphosate was found on common oat-based breakfast cereals, some skeptics were quick to point out that a person would need to eat up to 12 servings of Cheerios to reach the level of glyphosate consumption that is above legal limits. Now obviously you wouldn’t eat 12 servings of Cheerios in a day, but you would eat 12 servings of food. And unfortunately a lot of foods aside from breakfast cereals are contaminated with glyphosate and/or other pesticides making it pretty easy to consume enough pesticides in a day to reach harmful levels. No one knows the cumulative effect of all of these pesticides in our food because it hasn’t been studied (it’s simply too difficult to carry out a controlled study on the topic).
Logically if we add a low dose of something that is known to cause cancer to low doses of other substances also known to cause cancer, the combined doses (even though they are individually below the safe limits) would add up to a cumulative dose above the safe limit. Common sense, right?
Just like it took decades for people to realize that cigarettes cause lung cancer, it’s probably going to take decades to accumulate enough scientific evidence to prove that pesticides like glyphosate cause other types of cancer.
In the meantime, you can either be proactive and err on the side or caution when it comes to pesticides or turn a blind eye and hope for the best.
Look at it this way: if (when) a decade or two from now it is proven without a doubt that pesticides do in fact cause cancer, do you want you or your kids to be one of the statistics that proves it?