Farmers in Kona, Hawaii Hit Monsanto with Lawsuit
After eight years of glyphosate exposure
Two South Kona coffee growers have reportedly filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, claiming that the company lied about the possibility for glyphosate, the main ingredient in Round Up, to cause cancer.
It’s not news that Hawaii has been drenched in pesticides. The islands have been deemed ‘ground zero’ for biotech companies like Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, and BASF. Big Ag companies even like to brag that Hawaii is their testing ground for ‘new’ agricultural technologies, meaning their latest pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and the GM crops meant to withstand being drenched by the chemicals.
Christine and Kenneth Sheppard claim that Monsanto is to blame for Christine developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The Environmental Working Group claims that this single pesticide can double the risk of developing this deadly cancer, after researching 44 different projects where individuals were exposed to chemicals like glyphosate or 2,4-D.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported that the couple filed a civil case earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Honolulu:
The suit alleges Christine Sheppard, who once was president of the Kona Coffee Council, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2003, after 8 years of using Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide on the farm, and that the Sheppards were forced to sell the farm and relocate to California in 2004, “where she continues to undergo treatment and surveillance for her lymphoma.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages, including compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees, and court costs.
Attorney Michael Miller accused Monsanto of a “misinformation campaign” and said the Sheppards’ lawsuit will “force Monsanto to face the human consequences of their lies.”
Monsanto told the newspaper in a statement that “glyphosate has a 40-year history of safe use.”
“While we are sympathetic to anyone suffering an illness, these claims regarding glyphosate are baseless and without merit, and we will defend against (the Sheppards’) suit vigorously. Glyphosate has a 40-year history of safe use, and based on the overwhelming weight of evidence, regulatory agencies around the world have concluded that glyphosate can be used safely according to label instructions. No regulatory agency in the world considers glyphosate to be a carcinogen,” the company said.
But that’s simply not true. The World Health Organization’s cancer research arm known as the IARC has said that glyphosate is ‘probably a human carcinogen,’ and now France and other members of the EU are seriously considering the process by which Monsanto’s Round Up was given regulatory approval after several internal tests about Round Up’s carcinogenic nature were withheld as an ‘industry secret.’
Please show your support for the Sheppards’ lawsuit – and may there be many more to hold Monsanto accountable for the damage caused by the ‘most widely used herbicide’ in history.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.