The safety of consumer products is generally considered to be a fairly binary situation: a product is either safe for use around humans or it is not safe for use around humans. Products that are considered to be safe are usually marketed as such while those that are not safe usually come with significant warnings, disclaimers, and other markings demonstrating that the product is, indeed, dangerous and should be handled with care.
One has to wonder then why Monsanto routinely claimed that its home gardening and landscaping product Roundup was marketed as safe, while evidence exists directly to the contrary. That is the question that a Wisconsin court is facing as six plaintiffs from around the country bring a lawsuit against the corporation claiming that despite numerous claims that Roundup is safe, it can actually do significant damage to the human body.
At issue is a chemical called glyphosate. Introduced to the market in 1974, glyphosate has been a staple in the herbicidal treatment of food crops. Weeds and other plants were said to be held at bay by the chemical’s ability to interact with an enzyme not present in humans or domesticated pets. Such a chemical would, seemingly, be safe for use in almost any situation; either commercial or around the home. For example, parents could rest easy knowing that their children were playing in yards surrounded by lush grasses and not have to worry about the fact that the yard had been treated with a chemical compound.
As it turns out, glyphosate may not be the “miracle” chemical it’s been presented as for the past 43 years. The Wisconsin Roundup lawsuit asserts that, when researched, evidence shows that glyphosate actually does target an enzyme found in humans and animals. That enzyme is located in what is known as ‘gut bacteria’ and, when interfered with, can cause significant issues with the immune system, digestion, and brain function.
The suit claims that Monsanto, as well as Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., knew about these dangers yet continuously deceived customers regarding the safety of glyphosate. “Defendants repeat these false and misleading representations throughout their marketing,” claims the lawsuit, “including in video advertisements produced for their websites and YouTube Channel.”
Neither company has issued a public comment on the suit, and it is worth noting that this is not the only ongoing legal action regarding Roundup at this time. Over 1,000 lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto that claim that glyphosate caused the plaintiffs to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.