Monsanto is one of the leading controllers of food produced in the United States and worldwide, and is well known for its leadership in genetic modification of crops and its production of agricultural chemicals. Some of the Monsanto’s chemical products, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, have been discontinued due to evidence that they are unsafe for human and animal populations.

Some of the chemicals the company produces are likely dangerous for humans, but are still in use. Forty individuals, residents of California, are currently suing Monsanto, seeking compensatory damages for the company’s promotion of false information and for its discrediting of legitimate research regarding the dangers of glyphosate, a key chemical in its weed killer product Roundup. Plaintiffs in the case are saying that the false advertising and information cover-up caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

Roundup has been around for years, since 1974. In recent years, questions about the safety of its main ingredient have increased, particularly when the World Health Organization declared glyphosate to be “probably carcinogenic” for humans.  Monsanto has disputed the research leading to that conclusion, but the company is currently facing over 700 lawsuits in connection with the chemical in state and federal court.

Roundup is not the only product which has glyphosate as an active ingredient. Apparently, its glyphosate-containing products are approved in 130 countries for a multitude of crops, making use of the chemical quite lucrative for the company. That Monsanto is scared of a crackdown on glyphosate should be obvious. Evidence of this fear may have emerged last week when a federal judge in California unsealed papers which are said to show that Monsanto employees had anonymously written research studies that were later used by federal regulators to justify weak regulations on glyphosate than environmental advocates have urged.

In our next post, we’ll look briefly at how glyphosate is regulated at present and the importance of compliance with federal environmental laws and regulations