by Scott Partridge, Monsanto Vice President
(originally published in Monsanto.com)
Like everyone else following the Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto Co. trial, my colleagues and I have deep sympathy for Mr. Johnson’s plight. Our hearts go out to the Johnson family, and we understand their desire for answers.
Glyphosate is not the answer. Glyphosate does not cause cancer. The jury got it wrong. We will appeal the jury’s opinion and continue to vigorously defend glyphosate, which is an essential tool for farmers and others. We are confident science will prevail upon appeal.
The jury’s opinion does not change the science. Glyphosate has a more than 40-year history of safe use. Over those four decades, researchers have conducted more than 800 scientific studies and reviews that prove glyphosate does not cause cancer. The National Institutes of Health (NIH)and the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) both recently reaffirmed glyphosate does not cause cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory authorities in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, Korea, and elsewhere routinely review all approved pesticide products and have consistently reaffirmed that glyphosate does not cause cancer.
Rather than arguing the science, the plaintiff’s lawyers repeatedly crossed the line, distorted the facts and used baseless and egregious emotional appeals to inflame the jury. We are deeply troubled by the conduct of the plaintiff’s lawyers in this case. The judge admonished this conduct on several occasions and instructed the jury to ignore these statements. However, we are concerned that this conduct unduly influenced the jury’s deliberations, and we will be raising this issue in our appeal.
The plaintiff’s lawyers know they cannot win on the science. This lawsuit is based solely on the opinion of one organization called IARC. IARC is not a regulatory authority and did no independent studies. IARC is the same organization that determined beer, meat, cell phones, and coffee cause cancer. Investigative reports by Reuters (here and here) and the Times of London (here) have uncovered that IARC members reviewing glyphosate concealed important scientific data, edited out the conclusions of key studies, and were closely aligned with U.S. trial lawyers.
After IARC’s opinion was announced in 2015, U.S. trial lawyers starting running advertising campaigns to recruit people for their lawsuits against Monsanto. There were no lawsuits blaming glyphosate for cancer until after IARC’s opinion. A federal judge overseeing some of these lawsuits recently stated that plaintiffs’ evidence is “shaky” and any lawyer faces a “daunting challenge” in bringing a case to trial based on IARC’s opinion.
Our next step is to file post-trial motions with the Court. Following the Court’s ruling on the motions, we will file our appeal with the California Court of Appeals if needed. We are fully confident that science will prevail in the end. Glyphosate-based herbicides are too important to farmers and others for these baseless lawsuits to go unchallenged.