glyphosate

Jurors in California have awarded $289 million to a man who claimed that his cancer was due to Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate, even though that is biologically impossible. Even the judge acknowledged that there was no evidence of harm. Yet, trial lawyers manipulated a jury’s emotions and the public’s misunderstanding of science to score another jackpot verdict.

The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, claims that glyphosate gave him non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that occurs when the immune system goes awry. There are three major problems with this claim.

First, as stated above, glyphosate does not cause cancer because it does not harm humans. It is an herbicide, so it is only toxic to plants. There is no known biological mechanism by which glyphosate could cause cancer,...

Americans love to sue people.

Each year, we file about 5,800 lawsuits per 100,000 people. To put that figure into context, America's lawsuit rate is higher than Canada (by 4 times), Australia (3.8x), Japan (3.3x), France (2.4x), and the UK (1.6x). We're a lawsuit-happy nation.

What do we sue over? Well, anything really. A former judge sued a dry cleaner for $54 million over a missing pair of pants. Although he lost the lawsuit, the financial hardship and stress of being sued caused the dry cleaners to close the store. Simply put,...

Two weeks ago, we reported on a bizarre decision by the online news arm of the journal Science: The outlet had reprinted an article from a politically slanted environmentalist website that hyped concern over a particular chemical. The article fell quite short of the high standards we associate with the journal.

Now, Live Science has done something similar, but it's far worse. Normally a reliable source of information (and an outlet with which ACSH has a reprinting agreement), Live Science published an article that is a dream for anti-pesticide and anti-chemical fearmongers.

The...

There's no nice way to put this. Academia is in the midst of self-destructing, not just in the United States but worldwide.

Recall that, just two months ago, Fresno State Professor Randa Jarrar went on a hate-filled Twitter rant against the recently deceased Barbara Bush. Her diatribe was so vile, that the university investigated the possibility of terminating or disciplining her. But, nothing happened, despite the fact that a video surfaced of her praising airplane hijackings (1:07) and making a sexual gesture at students (2:02).

Just a week later, the University of...

I've been a science writer and editor for nearly eight years. During this time, I've learned a few things.

Perhaps the most important is that science is never enough. It doesn't matter if you have facts, data, and logic on your side, a substantial proportion of people will reject what you say and call you bad names. The reason, usually, is because they have an ideological conflict of interest -- by far, the worst kind of conflict of interest. That is, they are so dedicated to a particular viewpoint, that literally nothing will change their minds. That is anathema to science.

Editors must be aware of that fact. Otherwise, they are likely to be...

Good science journalism is hard to find. In a world of fake news, the public needs trusted guides to help them understand complex issues.

The website Undark, whose stated mission is "true journalistic coverage of the sciences" seems a promising venue. Its editorial staff and advisory board contain some fairly well-known and respectable names.

That's what makes the website's publication of a Monsanto conspiracy article so troubling and, quite frankly, bizarre. The piece, written by Carey Gillam, deploys distortions and half-truths early and often. Literally, the very first sentence is a...

The first director of IARC (the International Agency for Research on Cancer), Dr. John Higginson, was also a scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health Those were the glory days of IARC, which was founded for the purpose of identifying human carcinogens for further study and to guide health policy.

Unfortunately, much has changed since 1965. Fifty-two years after its inception, IARC has become a fringe group, seemingly more interested in scaring people than identifying actual health threats. Any organization that declares bacon to be as dangerous as plutonium has entirely lost its way.

Things started to unravel for...

When it comes to food, biotech, and health reporting, the New York Times is at least consistent: It is guaranteed to be wrong every single time.

Recently, it ran a very strange article about traces of glyphosate in Ben & Jerry's ice cream. It's strange for two reasons: (1) Ben & Jerry's is vehemently anti-GMO; and (2) It doesn't matter if there are traces of glyphosate in your ice cream.

Ben & Jerry's Gets 'Greenmailed'

Like Whole Foods, Ben & Jerry's has profited handsomely by scaring people about the safety of the food supply. The company is anti-GMO and supports GMO labeling. However, that...

In Part One, we examined the findings of the 2015 meeting of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), during which a panel of 17 cancer experts considered evidence that would determine what class of carcinogens that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide RoundUp) belonged in.

What was especially strange was that the panel chair was Aaron Blair, an epidemiologist for the National Cancer Institute, was the head of a group which had conducted years of extensive research that gave glyphosate a good safety report card (not expected to be carcinogenic in humans). Yet, the panel never heard anything about Blair's work. He never said a word, allegedly...

Glyphosate, the active herbicide in Roundup, is pretty much always in the news, but it is even more so lately:

  • It causes cancer. (A lawsuit against Monsanto)
  • The EU says it doesn't cause cancer. 
  • It was added to California's Proposition list as a carcinogen. Except it isn't.
  • The...