Why a California jury finding Monsanto at fault for illness is a loss for science

Wheat Field.jpg

One of the many reason to appreciate science, besides of course the numerous technologies helping us to lead healthier lives, is that it’s fact.
There is no gray area, no opinions, no chance for in incorrect information, just the truth.
Last week Friday, a jury in San Francisco found agriculture company Monsanto guilty for one man having developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Dewayne Johnson accused Monsanto, the company behind glyphosate-based herbicide RoundUp being responsible for his developing the disease.
The jury awarded Johnson $290 Million for damages associated through his use of RoundUp for 12 years during his duties as a groundskeeper.

 

But who gives a jury the decision to speak on scientific data?

 

Monsanto has long touted the safety of Glyphosate for pesticide use, and will be appealing the motion.
The company is standing by their products through using data from over 800 scientific studies and reviews from the EPA stating glyphosate does not cause cancer, and didn’t cause Johnson’s.
While the World Health Organization says that Glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen” the studies and levels used remain untested and unproven.
This would be the first case that ever won in court since Glyphosate has been in use since the 1970’s.
Glyphosate works by preventing plants from producing proteins in the plant, and the chemical does not vaporize. Possible contamination from the chemical would be from direct contact with wet plants, or eating directly after spraying without hand washing first.
In scientific verbiage, Glyphosate (The main ingredient in RoundUp) is a broadleaf pesticide that acts by inhibiting the plant enzyme 5-3 phosphate synthase. It is used to kill annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops.

Gylphosate
Glyphosate Chemical

As the most used pesticide in agriculture, what would the ag industry look like without the use of Glyphosate?

 

Prior to the release of RoundUp in 1974, there were no safe alternatives for producers and farmers.
Pesticide usage peaked in 1981, and since 2014 has been on a downward trend in agriculture. Viewed in pesticide usage reports published by the USDA, when GM (Genetically Modified) crops were introduced in 1996, overall pesticides were used less and less.

Glyphosate Article

A scientific study conducted by New York Medical College’s Department of Pathology (Did the jury that decided this outcome read, or know how to read scientific data?) stated that Glyphosate and its predominant surfactant and breakdown product [aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) and polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA)] were non-genotoxic and do not bioaccumulate in tissue. Numerous studies showing lifetime feedings of both chemicals were found to be noncarcinogenic.
Study found here -> https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10854122/
I can go on for days about the science behind the reasons RoundUp and the chemicals in it do not cause cancer, reduce overall pesticide use, and are even better for the environment than others, but the real question of the matter is this.

Do opinions outweigh scientific data now?

Despite decades of research, studies, and minimal cases of supposed related sickness, all scientific outcomes and data were thrown away in favor of opinion.
The jury, which is un-named and thus scientific credibility is unable to be found, could be acting like any of the consumers on social media, to which Monsanto is essentially the devil.
Monsanto’s Vice President said in a statement;

We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family. Today’s decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews – and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world – support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer. We will appeal this decision and continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective, and safe tool for farmers and others.”

When science and technology has been continuously advancing and improving our lives, why do so many people refuse to believe factual evidence?
Whether discussing Glyphosate and Monsanto, vaccinations and Autism, growth hormones and cancer, social media opinion trolls are doing everything in their power to ruin the credibility of scientific research.
Reading a research study, finding factual data and evidence, trusting true sources such as colleges and universities, are one way to only believe true data.
Twitter trolls with hashtags are not scientists, and neither are mom blogs, who are often uneducated in the subjects they are so opinionated on. Yet somehow have more of a voice and standing than a scientist with numerous degrees and accreditations.
If opinions become more trustworthy than scientific data, we’re all screwed.   

 

 

Sources
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jury-orders-monsanto-pay-290m-roundup-trial-n899811
https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/roundups-289m-cancer-verdict-opens-up-floodgates-for-thousands-of-other-lawsuits
https://monsanto.com/news-stories/statements/statement-scott-partridge-vice-president-monsanto/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10854122/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29843719

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