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UCSD Study: Monsanto Roundup Linked to Liver Disease

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Is this the new wave of Roundup lawsuits?

San Diego, CAA new study, conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, suggests an association between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in human beings.

This is new. It is in addition to the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin lymphoma that has led to Monsanto glyphosate lawsuit jury awards totaling billions of dollars. It also suggests widespread contamination of agricultural food crops that could have long term effects on human health. What happens next?

The pee test said liver cancer



A team of scientists led by Dr. Paul J. Mills, professor and chief in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine, compared glyphosate excretion in the urine of patients who had been diagnosed with a type of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and those who had no such a diagnosis. They found that, even when other variables like age and diabetes status were taken into account, the glyphosate residue was significantly higher in patients with diseased livers. The pee test said liver disease. It also suggested Roundup.

These findings were consistent with an earlier rat study at King’s College in London. That study focused on the molecular composition of female rats’ livers after they were fed an extremely low dose of Roundup weed killer for more than two years. The glyphosate dose from the Roundup-given rats was thousands of times below the level permitted by regulators all over the world. Animals in the study suffered from a form of liver disease similar to that found in the more recent human study. The accumulating evidence is worrying, despite Monsanto’s continued insistence on the safety of its flagship product.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can lead to increased risk of more serious liver diseases like cirrhosis and an increased risk of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. In the United States, it is the most common form of chronic liver disease, affecting an estimated 80 to 100 million people. Symptoms may include an enlarged liver, fatigue, pain, abdominal swelling and enlarged breasts in men. The condition is increasingly common around the world, especially in Western nations.

What adult eats Lucky Charms?



In August 2018, the EWG Children’s Health Initiative reportedly found traces of glyphosate in dozens of Quaker, Kellogg's, and General Mills products, including Cheerios and Lucky Charms. Later tests reported that Quaker Oatmeal Squares had levels of glyphosate that were nearly 18 times the organization’s safety threshold,

What adult eats Lucky Charms? Children are the most at risk of glyphosate poisoning from sweetened breakfast cereals. But agricultural crops like wheat, barley, beans, and chickpeas are also exposed to glyphosate before harvest. Perhaps ironically, this may also raise the threat for those seeking a healthier diet with whole grains and meat alternatives.

Worldwide impact



Glyphosate is used in the U.S. at roughly 300 million pounds per year in agriculture, with about 90 percent for agriculture, and 10 percent for other, non-agricultural venues like parks and playgrounds. It affects water quality as well as soil and food production as rainfall washes the chemical into waterways and drinking water.

The use of herbicides, like glyphosate, has grown with the use of genetically engineered glyphosate-resistant seeds. Glyphosate-tolerant seed crops are so popular that glyphosate is now one of the most widely used agrochemicals in the world, with a global increase of almost 15-fold since Roundup-Ready crops were introduced into the market in 1996.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma lawsuits



It is important to keep track of the fact that this new health evidence may open an entirely new front in Monsanto glyphosate lawsuits. The damage that is the subject of these studies comes from eating or drinking glyphosate-contaminated foodstuffs. The harm that has been previously described in a series of lawsuits linking Roundup to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers seems to come from skin contact with the herbicide or possible inhalation of the spray.

The jury awards in three of these cases have been very substantial. The jury in Pilliod v. Monsanto Co awarded Alva and Alberta Pilliod $55 million in compensatory damages and $2 billion in punitive damages for their Roundup-linked cancers.

Edwin Hardeman used Roundup to kill to weeds on his 56-acre property for 30 years, after which he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury found that Monsanto should be held liable for Hardeman’s illness because it failed to warn that the weed killer could cause cancer. He was awarded $80 million in damages.

DeWayne Johnson, a school groundskeeper, used Roundup on school properties as part of his job from 2012 to 2015. In September 2017, his physicians diagnosed him with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. At the time of trial, he was near death. The jury awarded him $289 million, which was later reduced to $78 million.

If lawsuits develop over the issue of glyphosate food contamination, there will certainly be differences because the medical evidence is different. But there may also be similarities based on Monsanto’s legal obligation to market and sell safe products. These may include arguments about Monsanto’s duty to disclose risks to consumers and allegations concerning incomplete or misleading scientific tests.

We shall see. We shall certainly see.

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