The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Poisoning the World

Sep 3, 2018

Dewayne “Lee” Johnson sprayed Roundup herbicides around California school parking lots and sports fields for years. In 2014, he was diagnosed with cancer–and he kept spraying. He had been told by the person who certified him for his job that Roundup is “safe enough to drink.”

But in 2015, the World Health Organization issued a report stating that Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, probably causes cancer. And on August 10, a California jury awarded Johnson 248 million dollars in a lawsuit against Monsanto, finding that the company deliberately sold a product it knew was dangerous.

The case revealed Monsanto’s own internal documents, showing that the company had serious doubts about Roundup’s safety starting in the 1980s. In the late 1990s, the company did its own study establishing that Roundup was capable of causing mutations in DNA–exactly what causes cancer. Those conclusions were buried. Instead, Monsanto worked behind the scenes to manipulate scientific research by ghostwriting articles, manipulating regulatory agencies, and plotting attacks on scientists’ credibility, all to protect the reputation of its product.

Four thousand other people are suing Monsanto–but that is only the tip of the iceberg of all the people hurt by this chemical. Today, glyphosate is the most frequently used herbicide in the world. 9.4 million TONS of the stuff have been sprayed on crops, lawns, and gardens since it was introduced in 1974.

Monsanto plans to appeal the verdict, hiring an army of lawyers, and will no doubt continue to do everything in its considerable power to block the release of any proof that glyphosate is dangerous.