Until recently, a cornerstone of Monsanto’s defense of glyphosate; its cornerstone weed killer and the primary ingredient in Roundup, has been the volumes of “scientific” evidence which exist only to exalt the compound’s safety. Study after study, according to one of the world’s most secretive corporations, has proven that glyphosate is safe for humans and the use of the chemical poses no safety risks to America’s families.
That refrain itself was put on trial when California groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson used a Roundup cancer lawsuit to not only attack glyphosate and Roundup, but to attack the source of the studies Monsanto was relying on to defend its product. In many cases, that source happened to be Monsanto itself.
Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled in a separate Roundup cancer lawsuit that the plaintiffs in that case would also be allowed to introduce evidence of Monsanto’s efforts to shape the public and scientific conversations around Roundup. The jury will hear about the corporation’s alleged use of ghostwritten studies and the lengths it was willing to go to influence scientists and federal regulators.
The revelation of Monsanto’s use of these practices; practices meant to deceive the public and conceal glyphosate’s true impacts on the human body, were dismissed as a “sideshow” by the corporation. This “sideshow” would detract juror’s attention from the true facts of the case; facts like the “scientific” evidence proving Roundup’s safety.
Mr. Johnson was far from the first to suspect Monsanto of trying to guide the conversation around the controversial product. In fact, a bombshell report in The New York Times from 2017 details a treasure trove of internal documents that details the strategies the corporation employed as well as some of the names of those involved. After the success of the Johnson case and Judge Chhabria’s recent ruling, it would appear that a major fracture is forming in the wall Monsanto painstakingly built to protect glyphosate and Roundup from the public’s scrutiny.