The Billion Dollar Question
Monsanto Distinguished Fellow and Medical Toxicologist Dr. Daniel Goldstein:
Roundup has been available since 1974. The ingredients are glyphosate, water, a surfactant, and very small formulated ingredients, like food coloring and products to keep it from foaming up.
Readers, I’m having an identity crisis after a weekend at an environmental health conference. What if glyphosate isn’t actually the most significant toxin in the Roundup cocktail mix? Have I misplaced the relative importance of my namesake? Roundup celebrity scientist Dr. Seralini thinks so, and recommended “Formula Girl,” which unfortunately makes me sound like I also need a bouncy seat.
It was a veritable Who’s Who of those interested in pesticides, plastics and toxins at the Environmental Health Symposium in Arizona. It made for fabulous, engaging company. After a few drinks, we took guesses as to who might be an AgChem executive undercover, which was unfortunate for the suspicious-looking but innocent man who simply was a member of the steel drum band.
It was my first time at this symposium, and I can’t recommend it enough for those who want to learn the latest, non-ghostwritten science about cleaning up and eliminating everyday toxins from our bodies.
The keynote speaker was Gilles-Eric Seralini, who many of you will recognize as a pre-eminent GMO and Roundup scientist who has been a pain in the rear for Monsanto. What he has discovered in his lab has not been favorable to growing Monsanto product sales.
In his keynote, Seralini spent time celebrating Baum Hedlund and Brent Wisner for their success in winning the Johnson trial, before moving into shocking revelations from his recent research. I won’t drag you through the details, but this much you should takeaway. In 1973, Arsenic was banned for use in the US as a pesticide. In 1974, Roundup was introduced to market with the main ingredient glyphosate, water, surfactants, and “inert” agreements that made the mixture proprietary.
Well, Seralini discovered that those inert ingredients are anything but inert, and in fact include ARSENIC. The discovery has been confirmed but not yet published by another scientist.
No one has thought to test this before? So we have a highly toxic surfactant POEA facilitating the penetration of both glyphosate AND Arsenic, all around us, all of the time?
Let me get this straight. In the last few weeks I have heard the following facts presented:
Donna Farmer says that the Roundup formula can’t be tested because it kills the rats by way of the intestine before they can get a good read on carcinogenicity.
In Monsanto’s tests of how Roundup is absorbed via skin exposure, the lab cooked the tested cadaver skin at 140 degrees F, then froze it, making it impenetrable.
Seralini – who by the way released this study December 30, 2017 – found US-banned arsenic in the Roundup formulation making it multitudes more toxic than glyphosate alone.
HOW IS THE EPA – EFSA – ECHA NOT SCREAMING TO STOP APPLYING THIS IMMEDIATELY?
I want to point out the date of Seralini’s arsenic study release was well before the close of the Bayer acquisition. You may opt to google Seralini on your own, and will encounter the mega onslaught of a Monsanto-driven PR campaign to discredit his earlier studies. Seralini is also the most mentioned person in the Monsanto Papers.
Where was Bayer in evaluating the “inert ingredients” of Roundup? Did they have their own scientists take a look at it and judge for themselves? Did they get a list of what the proprietary extra ingredients were, and ask whether any were banned for use as a pesticide?
We still don’t know who knew what and when, but if I was a Bayer stockholder, I’d want to find out those answers.
Dr. Koch & The Billion Dollar Question
Today, we saw a long video deposition of Dr. Michael Koch, the New Technologies in Toxicology Lead at Monsanto/Bayer. He was notably Donna Farmer’s boss for many years, though he makes it clear in the testimony that he did not micromanage her.
Wisner opens a series of many questions in a video depo, which shows both of their faces. Wisner’s tone is well delivered – he keeps a friendliness even while presenting pointedly damning evidence. My guess is that those in the line of Wisner’s fire don’t find it quite so friendly.
Koch states: “Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup,” and admits that there are other things in Roundup as well. All I can think about is the arsenic, but that won’t enter evidence in this trial.
Gobs of incriminating juice squeeze out through Wisner’s questioning, though most of it is not new news for GG. Over the course of well over one hour of testimony, the jury is fully engaged, listening to every single word. Wisner repeatedly asks a question of Koch, and then shows terribly damaging email evidence of schemes of deception orchestrated by Roundup protectors Koch, Heydens, Goldstein and Farmer.
Between Koch’s incredibly intense and shifting eyes, choppy voice tempo, and inability to talk his way out of the corner in which Wisner holds him captive, there are expressions of amusement on the faces of nearly every juror. A few audible chuckles erupt from the Pilliods – can you imagine how wonderful it must feel to see Monsanto executives caught so red handed after they caused them such great illness?
I closely relate to that sentiment.
Much of the deposition prods at Monsanto’s ghostwriting that so clearly took place in structuring an “orchestrated outcry” in advance of the IARC decision. Just so much good meat here that I will link to the transcript once it comes out. There are too many emails to discuss, but one that I found particularly amusing is an email from Monsanto’s regulatory liaison Dan Jenkins to Dr. Heydens and Dr. Koch after hearing that IARC was going to evaluate glyphosate.
Dr. Koch: Regarding IARC, precisely what we didn’t want to hear.
Dr. Heydens: Yes, I’m sitting here pondering this as we speak. The one-billion dollar question is how could it impact. Actually cause them to reopen their cancer review and do their own in-depth epidemiology evaluation? This is getting huge after we hear on our call this morning.
Koch: Yes, I had several of the same thoughts.
Wisner asks Koch about the “billion” dollar question. Koch says that it could have been a $64 million question too, because it’s just hyperbole. What an irony that the estimated $1 billion would be a total bargain in comparison to what Bayer will ultimately owe in Roundup liability.
In the cross examination, we switch to a happy Dr. Koch who says that his is married with children, and has 2 dogs. There is quiet laughter among the jurors, because after all of the terribly damning evidence of lying to keep a known carcinogen a best-seller, (knowing that it could kill the likes of Johnson, Hardeman and the Pilliods), this description of Koch’s every-day man existence seems jarringly farcical.
In fact, I think the trial was just unofficially lost by Bayer. The jurors have put down their notepads and are watching the deposition with amused faces as though it is a TV legal drama that has been made far too obvious to be believed.
Expert Testimony of Dr. William Pease
For the first time in three Monsanto trials, Plaintiff attorneys are allowed to present an expert witness on the topic of California’s Prop 65, a measure that requires the state to maintain and update a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicology.
Dr. Pease has perhaps the most impressive educational pedigree of our expert witnesses: Yale undergraduate degree in English, Rhodes Scholar in English Literature at Oxford, and a PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from Berkeley. His demeanor is friendly, normal, calm and educated. His compassionate attitude towards the environment also seems very Berkeley, which is likely quite appealing to this crowd of jurors.
The jury hears the details of the four routes via in which a chemical can get listed on the Prop 65 list. In the case of glyphosate, it is listed due to IARC’s classification. IARC is one of the few sources of chemical evaluation that California deems trustworthy – it does not look to the EPA, EFSA, or other regulatory bodies for guidance. As a Californian Zombie, I am proud that the California EPA knows better than to trust the highly corrupt regulatory agencies that are in the back pocket of chemical companies.
The cross examination of Dr. Pease is entirely uneventful, but that is not surprising because the testimony more of an informational session on Prop 65 than anything controversial. In a cute moment, the Monsanto attorney asks him what he would preferred to be called, “Dr. Pease?” Pease responds: “You can call me Bill!” So then the Paul Simon “Call Me Al” goes through my mind and hasn’t left 10 hours later.
Testimony of Aaron Blair
Oh, the poor jury. SO LONG and SO BORING. Eyes are struggling to stay open during this testimony that focuses on Blair’s time leading the IARC working group in its evaluation of glyphosate.
The testimony is not dissimilar to, but considerably longer than, the testimony shown in the Johnson trial. Blair still looks like he really wishes not to be involved in a legal dispute, and would prefer to return to his scientific studies. He also still looks like this:
Testimony of Dr. Daniel Goldstein
You may remember Dr. Goldstein from the Johnson trial as the doctor who didn’t call Johnson back after Johnson called twice to see if his cancer could be related to Ranger Pro exposure. Goldstein is Monsanto’s veteran physician who oversaw product safety and human health. It appears from his LinkedIn profile that he has moved on from Monsanto after the Bayer acquisition to pursue a consulting practice and other hobbies. I’m sure he also is extremely rich.
I believe this testimony is a longer version of that which we saw in Johnson, but from the same day. The jury has perked up again, and amusement returns to their faces as the outrageous behavior of Goldstein and crew to cover up the carcinogenicity of Roundup is made quite obvious. Goldstein’s body language betrays his words – he appears fidgety, uncomfortable, and generally excessively guilty throughout Plaintiff questioning.
- Goldstein and Donna Farmer regularly play Whack-A-Mole, which translates to smacking down any science that shows unfavorable results towards Monsanto’s products.
- Goldstein and team celebrated that the abstract of the McDuffie 2001 article did not mention glyphosate exposure as a risk factor in NHL The omission of glyphosate in the abstract meant that searches for glyphosate wouldn’t pick up the positive findings of carcinogenicity in the study.
- In the cross examination, the Monsanto attorney pulls up the Andreotti study for defense via the AHS. Cause that’s all they’ve got.
The jury has become friendly with one another, just like those in the Johnson trial! In fact, they are so chummy that Judge Smith sternly reminds them that they are not to discuss ANY of the proceedings with one another until deliberations. I’m sure that is excessively hard given all of the comedy material depicted today.
Before testimonies started, one of the huge overhead lights started strobing. Wisner requested that be turned off before we all became dizzy and ill. So we were only half-lit today.
In the middle of the video testimonies, the jurors are invited to stand up for a few-minute stretching session. It was just so hard to stay awake.
A juror on the end farthest from the gallery has brought a chinese folding fan, which she uses throughout the day.
Today could not have been better for the Plaintiff. Bayer attorneys have even more cranky frowns after the disaster of the day. It has to be frustrating to try to structure a decent argument that is so betrayed by these video testimonies of Monsanto’s own senior executives.
Tomorrow we will enjoy testimony from Agricultural Economist Chuck Benbrook. Hold onto your hats!