Costco Pulls Controversial Weedkiller Roundup From Shelves

By - March 25, 2019
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The grassroots group Moms Across America recently started a campaign to stop the sale of the weedkiller Roundup at three major retailers. This was done in light of the court decision in Johnson v. Monsanto that found that Roundup contributed in part to Dewayne Johnson’s non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL). (Inhabitat.com)

After Moms Across America collected nearly 90,000 signatures on a petition to have Roundup removed from those retailers’ shelves, they mailed a letter to Home Depot, Lowe’s and Costco. In a major win for American consumers and Moms Across America, Costco recently responded that the company would pull Roundup from its shelves across the country. (Healthimpactnews.com)

Costco has long been known for supporting organic farming and having organic foods in its stores. The company reportedly believed that pulling the controversial weed killer from its product line up was the correct thing to do. Also, they took the additional, unrequested step of finding equally effective, organic weed killer options to stock. So, in addition to not stocking Roundup in the future, the company is also ensuring that any weedkillers that contain glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – also is not stocked by Costco.

Thousands of Personal Injury Lawsuits Pending Against Monsanto

After recent court decisions that found Monsanto liable for causing NHL in at least two individuals, there are thousands of other lawsuits pending that could financially devastate the company and its parent company, Bayer AG. Science, physicians and American consumers have all been fighting for several years to bring to light the many dangers of glyphosate after so many reports of non-Hodgkins lymphoma came to the surface that appeared connected to the product.

In another lawsuit several years ago, Monsanto did win a battle to avoid affixing a warning label on Roundup even though the judge in the case did concede it contained carcinogens dangerous to humans. That decision also went against the California Prop 65 designation that Roundup should be classified as a product that contains a chemical that causes cancer.

Huge Recent Win in Roundup Lawsuit Is Great News for Other NHL Claimants

A major encouragement for people who want to see Monsanto pull Roundup from company shelves came this month when a federal jury in San Francisco found that Roundup played a major role in causing a California man’s cancer.

In the verdict announced March 19, jurors in San Francisco ruled in favor of Ed Hardeman, a 70 year old man from Sonoma County, California. They determined that Roundup was a major factor in the development of his non-Hodgkins lymphoma. (Weedkillercrisis.com)

That case is soon going to move to the next phase where the jury will decide whether Monsanto knew about and concealed data about the possible harm the product could cause consumers, and what damages if any Hardeman should receive.

According to Hardeman’s Roundup lawsuit attorney, he is pleased that the jury found that Roundup was responsible for his cancer. Next, the jury can focus on the evidence that Monsanto was irresponsible in its approach regarding the safety of the weedkiller.

The Hardeman lawsuit is the lead case of multidistrict legislation that involves at least 1600 plaintiffs in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. It is the second lawsuit that has gone into the trial phase alleging that the Monsanto product causes several types of cancer.

The other big case that is bad news for Monsanto but great for consumers who want to see Roundup disappear from shelves was concluded in August 2018. That was when another San Francisco jury awarded Dewayne Johnson, a former California groundskeeper who has NHL and used high quantities of Roundup in his work, nearly $290 million in damages. On appeal, that amount was reduced to $78.5 million. Still, it was a devastating judicial blow to Monsanto and Bayer AG.

The result of the Hardeman case, in terms of potential damages awarded, could be a major sign for how the thousands of other pending cases will fare. As of January 2019, Monsanto faced personal injury and product liability lawsuits from 11,000 plaintiffs that claimed glyphosate exposure caused them harm.

One of the law firms that represented Johnson told the media last week that while the Hardeman verdict will not necessarily establish settlement standards for other cases that are pending, it was a major win for all Roundup NHL claimants and a major loss for Monsanto and Bayer.

Hardeman had a diagnosis of NHL in early 2015 after he used Monsanto’s weedkiller to kill invasive plants on his large property in Sonoma County in California for more than 20 years. The roundup cancer lawsuit alleges that the man’s long term exposure to the herbicide led to his cancer, and that Monsanto was aware or should have been aware of the risks, and failed to offer sufficient warnings about the harm that could come from using the product.

Hardeman’s attorney stated that Hardeman used Roundup on a regular basis, and sprayed 6,000 gallons of the product over 25 years. She said he had a major poison oak problem on his property and he had to use the weedkiller often to prevent the invasive plant from overtaking hiking trails and their water system.

Since the cancer diagnosis, the 70 year old has undergone five rounds of chemotherapy and is going in for scans every quarter to determine if the cancer is returning.

For its part, Monsanto and Bayer continue to contend the product is safe. A spokesperson said after the ruling last week that while the company sympathized with Hardeman, the scientific evidence shows that Roundup did not cause his cancer, and the product is safe for consumer use.

Will More Retailers Ban Roundup in the Future?

With this major victory behind them, Moms Across America is still encouraging other retailers, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, to ban the product on its shelves. Also, the consumer activist organization is continuing to provide public education about the many dangers of glyphosate. Consumers are the ones who continue to buy the product in high quantities. But with time, hopefully, consumers will learn that when Roundup is applied, it endangers humans, contaminates air and water and is a danger to the planet.

Thank you Costco!

References

Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett is Editor-in-Chief of WeedKillerCrisis. Since 1999, he's worked across a multitude of areas of consumer protection including defective products, environmental issues, identity theft, predatory lending and more.

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