Environmentalism

Bayer to Waste $5.6 Billion Trying to Appease Anti-Pesticide Activists

This will fail and more pressing problems will be neglected

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Trial lawyers have managed to bamboozle three American juries so far into showering billions of dollars onto their suffering clients based on the scientifically bogus claim that exposure to Bayer's glyphosate (sold as Roundup here) weedkiller gave them cancer.

These jury awards are made despite the fact that the vast majority of the scientific literature and most of the world's regulatory agencies find that glyphosate is safe to use. That includes the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR). And also the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory agencies in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Korea have consistently reaffirmed that glyphosate does not cause cancer.

Plaintiffs' lawyers make their case in part by citing a highly politicized International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)monograph and a badly flawed meta-analysis that purportedly found that exposure to glyphosate increased the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in humans by 41 percent. Interestingly, it was later revealed that one of the consultants on the IARC monograph was a paid by the Environmental Defense Fund and is now an expert witness for trial lawyers. No conflict of interest there!

The trial lawyers are the willing (and highly compensated) instruments of the longstanding activist campaign against modern biotech crops spearheaded by groups such as Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, and Union of Concerned Scientists.

Battered by the bad publicity stemming from the ridiculous jury awards Bayer is now pledging to invest $5.6 billion in additional methods to combat weeds over the next decade. The company says that this R&D investment will aim at better understanding of how pesticide resistance develops, discovering new pesticides, and devising more precise application methods. Doubtless some considerable proportion of the pharmaceutical and crop science company's annual R&D spending of $5.8 billion is already devoted to achieving those goals.

Since the activists basically oppose modern agriculture, Bayer's pledge of additional R&D funding to find new ways to kill weeds will do nothing to mollify them. To meet its commitment, Bayer is presumably diverting funds from solving other pressing problems, such as, finding new ways to control disease carrying vermin in the tropics or developing new cancer cures. The price of this attempt at appeasement is likely more suffering in the world than there would otherwise have been.

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  1. When are you gonna drink that glass of glyphosate, Ron, to prove to us all how safe it is?

    1. Why don’t you drink a glass of cinnamon and see how that works out , or a gallon of water straight down.. It’s the dose that’s the poison .

      1. Broccoli is full of its own insecticides

        1. And most of the fruits and nuts we eat are at least slightly poisonous.

          1. Or radioactive.

      2. So the amount of exposure makes a difference then? Which means you’re not saying it doesn’t cause cancer and there are distinctions to be made. That’s reasonable. What’s not reasonable is Bailey’s all or nothing proposition, but I guess that’s his shtick

        1. Which means you’re not saying it doesn’t cause cancer

          It causes cancer to the extent that pretty much anything, in a large enough amount, can cause cancer.

          The headlines will say “Roundup Found to Cause Cancer” not “Roundup Found to Have Roughly Equal Cancer Risk to Coffee” (which is true).

          1. I drink a cup of coffee every day, would you drink a cup of roundup every day?

            1. If you are stupid enough to drink a cup of Roundup every day, I bet you will not have to worry about cancer.

            2. There’s actually a whole host of effects besides “cancer” and “drink as much as you like.” I doubt it would cause permanent harm, but I doubt it would go down easy.

            3. Is the prescribed usage of roundup to drink a cup a day fucktard?

              1. Ok, he can just drink a thimble-ful. Every day, for a year. I’ll be waiting. Fucktard.

            4. Most of the people linked to cancer also drove vehicles every day. You wouldnt drink a cup of gas every day. Therefore anyone with cancer should receive millions from oil companies. Dumbass anti science liberal logic.

            5. What a stupid response. Most people use bleach and bleach is considered a fairly safe, non-carcinogenic household chemical. You don’t drink a cup of bleach.

              Hey, you know what? You put soap on your hands every single day (or you should). For your false equivalency, maybe you should drink a cup of anti-bacterial soap. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

        2. this is a no-retard zone, Philharmonic, so fuck off back to Mother Jones with the other stupid twats.

      3. As the Danes banned high dose cinnamon danish pastry years ago, it’s just a matter of time before New York and Frisco add cinnamon sticks to their straw bans.

      4. Cinnamon is a carminative, I learned while reading Huxley’s Crome Yellow.

    2. Jesus christ you’re fucking retarded. 1 study put of hundreds shows a loose correlation to cancer (and the agency that published the study says everything causes cancer) and you lap it up like the anti science retard you are.

      1. That’s right! The only two options available are “Roundup causes cancer” and “Roundup is safe enough to drink”. You really are a tedious tribalist.

    3. I still remember that stupid ass geocities page you linked to the last time you made a fool of yourself on this subject.

      The intense frustration you obviously felt from getting laughed at and made fun of made kicking you that much better.

      “Gut bacteria!!!” You cried while we laughed at your ignorance and gullibility.

    4. Don’t be stupid all your life, Chipper. My best friend is a farmer in Illinois who grows corn and soybeans. He has been using glyphosate for decades with no issues. Perhaps instead of showing yourself to be ignorant AND stupid, you ask someone who actually KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. Sadly, you will go with your ignorant, stupid, nonsensical bloviating as it is easier than finding the actual facts.

  2. Missing point; the taxpayers will chip in, as this wasted “R&D” will be deductible.

    1. R&D is a business expense, and is deductible. The point is the R&D $$ could go toward something useful

    2. Taking a deduction to lower your taxes is not stealing from the taxpayers.

  3. If these clowns manage to turn Roundup into the new asbestos it will have serious consequences. I’m talking about our ability to feed ourselves.

    1. I think they know that, and they don’t care.

      1. I think they actually don’t. I’ve asked many anti-glyphosate people what’s wrong with it, and they uniformly answer by telling me what’s wrong with arsenic and then pretend that they answered my question.

        At root, as Ron says, it’s just “herbicides are bad, m’kay?”

        1. Do you point out that many foods have arsenic and cyanide in them? Trace amounts, but it’s there.

          1. No – the argument they slide into is “it goes into the water supply and then concentrates as it moves up the food chain,” which is the arsenic argument (i.e. yes it’s harmless in small amounts, but it gets concentrated in the fish, etc., etc.).

            The thing with glyphosate is that it’s nothing like arsenic. It’s an enzyme that breaks down pretty quickly into pretty harmless stuff. It stops being able to harm even the plants it was designed to kill after about three hours.

            But if I say that, I pretty quickly get accused of having been brainwashed by Monsanto propaganda.

            1. Been there. It’s stupid, but the war against Monsanto was pretty effective.

          2. Only 20 bitter almonds could kill you.

      2. It’s their plan. I long for the days when I can only buy food grow close buy here in SE Ohio. Guess I’ll have to learn can at home and stock up on root veggies for the winter. Raise a pig and beef steer. I’ll need more orphans.

        1. I’ll need more orphans.

          How do you can them?

          1. How do you can them?

            You have to grind them first.

            1. I prefer mine cut in stew meat, just like a deer. And the marrow is something to savor.

      3. The problem, as always, is that the government doesn’t give a shit about facts, but instead prefers feelings over facts.

    2. If you live in a market with a Morgan and Morgan law office or affiliate, you are already bombarded with TV ads to sue away

    3. Feed ourselves? What? Field corn and soybeans and cotton? That’s where the 300 million pounds of Round-Up are spread–on government-subsidized farms.

      Who eats two-thirds of that corn and soy? Beefs and bio-fuel cars. Neither should be getting subsidized corn or soy, but they do.

      180,000,000 acres of corn and soy welfare farming.

      Less government subsidized agriculture might mean less junk crops, less junk food, possibly better health, and less fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide run-off junking up the Gulf of Mexico.

  4. The trial lawyers are the willing (and highly compensated) instruments of the longstanding activist campaign against modern biotech crops spearheaded by groups such as Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, and Union of Concerned Scientists.

    Perhaps that extra $5.6 billion can develop a pesticide to get rid of these pests.

  5. Tell me more about the authority and wisdom of state regulatory agencies. Once you mentioned EPA, I was totally on board, those guys are a class act all around

    1. They’re the ones who will enforce your stupid anti-science glyphosate ban Chipper.

  6. Yeah I think this pledge is more a case of “Bayer is trying to get the bad publicity off their backs by making a major splashy announcement to do something that they were already going to do anyway”

    If Bayer was smart, they were already going to be spending money on “better understanding of how pesticide resistance develops, discovering new pesticides, and devising more precise application methods”, lawsuit or no lawsuit. Because weeds that are Roundup resistant really is a thing, and of course they’re going to be looking at ways to get around this resistance.

    https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/status-and-concerns-glyphosate-resistance

    1. We should stop using round up because weeds will eventually resist roundup… now tell us your thoughts on stopping the use of antibiotics and immunizations.

      1. Oh look it’s Jesse burning strawmen again. Maybe if you put some Roundup on that straw they won’t mutate into strawmen.

  7. More evidence of the continuing fatal flaw in civil suits: that plaintiffs (really, their lawyers) get to keep punitive damages.

    Hitting a proven (?) violator with a big fine might be justified, since huge companies will not change practices otherwise, but why is this a windfall for the plaintiff? Actual damages, sure, but the mega-millions or billions is always in the punitive category. These dollars should go somewhere else–like the federal or state deficits?

    1. Oh, God, no! That would be the nest Asset Forfeiture, and be abused, if anything, even more. Further, it would have little or no effect on government debt, since the governments in question would simply spend money they would otherwise have spent on reducing the debt on something else.

  8. How potent is Roundup? How well does it work? I ask because there’s so many safety warnings on every damn thing that if you regularly work with the stuff you learn to ignore the safety warnings until something comes along that actually merits the safety warnings and bites you in the ass. Maybe these people were under the impression they were using the equivalent of Scrubbing Bubbles when they were really using the equivalent of sulphuric acid.

    Somewhat related, I’ve been building a new deck at my niece’s house and the neighbor guy came over and started asking me about the carpenter bees that have been feasting on his deck. Back in the day, they used chromated copper arsenate on pressure treated lumber and you knew that stuff was nasty because after a day of working with it your face would be itching and burning and your eyes would be swollen and red no matter how careful you were about wearing gloves and glasses and masks and being careful to wash frequently and not wiping your face. And now the carpenter bees cheerfully eat that “environmentally friendly” stuff – to hell with that, I’m trying to kill the damn environment. Mold, mildew, rot, bugs, bacteria, I want that shit dead, not mildly uncomfortable.

    1. You monster!

    2. How potent is Roundup? How well does it work?

      Meh. You have to use it in a pretty specific way – douse the leaves just as the sun is hitting them for the day. When you do that, the plant (if it’s susceptible) is dead within hours. But if the plant isn’t dead within hours, you have done it no harm.

      The irony is that the point of Roundup is that it’s actually pretty environmentally friendly.

      1. That is a fairly accurate assessment, based on my own use of the product in a research capacity.

      2. Either I have mutant plants, or mine works differently. After spraying the Roundup, the plays contort and grow abnormaly. Often the dandelions resprout, but the flowers look week and pathetic. The thistles which normally grow straight up grow in circles.

        Someone mentioned above the concentration/quantity. I think most people get scared when we hear about “Roundup ready” crops that are repeatedly blanketed with the chemical, rather than having Weds sprayed as necessary.

        As usual the truth about the cancer is probably somewhere in between. I’d be more likely to believe the stuff messes with your reproductive system and causes bad DNA.

  9. Luddites.

    I expect that any day they’ll protest cancer-fighting drugs because they kill defenseless cancer cells.

    1. Well at least within 6 years after Biden cures cancer.

  10. Roundup isn’t a pesticide.

    1. Hush, they’re emoting.

  11. Appeasement never works.

  12. Is this more from the folks who FUCKING love science?

  13. First thing glyphosate is a herbicide, not a pesticide.
    Second, glyphosate is being used in ways that are not allowed by label instructions, meaning it is being used “off label” which is illegal. But that doesn’t stop farmers from spraying their wheat with it.
    Third, the mode of operation for glyphosate is damaging to microbes as well as plants.
    “Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it will kill most plants. It prevents the plants from making certain proteins that are needed for plant growth. Glyphosate stops a specific enzyme pathway, the shikimic acid pathway. The shikimic acid pathway is necessary for plants and some microorganisms.”
    Humans and animals have biology in the gut that is negatively impacted by the chemical.

    I’m not saying that all use of glyphosate should be banned, but when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.

    1. Herbicides are indeed pesticides.

      Herbicides are a kind of pesticide, just as insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, avicides and other compounds are pesticides.

      Some plants are pests. Herbicides are a kind of pesticide that kill these pest plants.

  14. The notion that anti-glyphosate crusaders practice politically motivated anti-science, while government regulatory agencies go unaffected by lobbying, seems out of place in an ostensibly libertarian article. For consistency, this article should at least have taken note of the controversies (and resignations) which have afflicted some of those government panels.

    I don’t think anyone can say with reliability whether glyphosate caused any particular cancer. That Monsanto worked hard and improperly to undercut scientific criticism is beyond question. That record probably has something to do with jury outcomes. Why shouldn’t it?

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