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Cereal Killer: Monsanto Put RoundUp in My Kid’s Cheerios?

Posted on Friday, August 9th, 2019 at 5:24 pm by Williams Hart   

Imagine yourself on a Saturday afternoon: you’re at the grocery store, pushing a heavily loaded shopping cart through a maze of long, crowded aisles. You’re anticipating a lengthy receipt. 

Leaving behind a treacherous wall of cookies and other delicious treats, you turn the corner, kids trailing behind you, and at once realize you’ve entered another minefield of questionable choices: the cereal aisle. You try to move quickly but escape proves futile. 

Suddenly, a yellow, family-sized box appears. “Please?” the small voice whines. Sigh.

“Sure”.

 What’s the harm in another week’s worth of Cheerios, anyway?

Poison for Breakfast: Are Those Cheerios Contaminated?

It turns out, there may actually be significant harm in that box on its way to your pantry. 

Since the breakfast cereal was introduced to the American diet in 1863, children and adults alike have enjoyed an estimated 160 bowls, or 10 lbs of cereal, per person–annually. With a U.S. population of nearly 300-million people today, that’s 1.35 billion kilograms a year. That’s a lot of cereal. 

Until recently, devoted consumers have remained blissfully unaware of what may be hiding in those beloved boxes of sugary goodness.

The Study

Independent laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group in 2018, and again in June 2019, revealed that heavy doses of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular herbicide RoundUp®️, have been found in many food products specifically marketed towards children. 

Unsafe levels of glyphosate were detected in all but two of 45 samples of oat-based food products distributed by two major companies, Quaker Oats and General Mills. Among those products, breakfast cereals consistently tested highest for glyphosate contamination. 

 

Product Type Variety Glyphosate (ppb)
Oat breakfast cereal Honey Nut Cheerios 147
Oat breakfast cereal Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal 729
Oat breakfast cereal Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios 400
Oat breakfast cereal Cheerios Oat Crunch Cinnamon 283
Oat breakfast cereal Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch 833
Oat breakfast cereal Multi Grain Cheerios 216
Oat breakfast cereal Nature Valley Baked Oat Bites 389

(Source)

While the companies say there is no reason for concern, tests showed that 26 of the 28 samples revealed amounts of glyphosate higher than EWG’s safe upper limits. 

In another analysis, exposure to glyphosate increased the overall risk for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma by 41%.

“All of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to GBHs (glyphosate-based herbicides) are associated with an increased risk of NHL,” the authors wrote in a study published in the journal of Mutation Research

“It is very troubling that cereals children like to eat contain glyphosate,” said Alexis Temkin, an EWG toxicologist and author of the report. “Parents shouldn’t worry about whether feeding their children healthy oat foods will also expose them to a chemical linked to cancer. The government must take steps to protect our most vulnerable populations.” 

Representatives from General Mills and Kelloggs have denied that the levels of glyphosate found in their cereals are above safe limits. 

Who is the Environmental Working Group?

Founded in 1993 by Ken Cook, EWG is an American activist group and nonprofit organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants, and corporate accountability. Their mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Their key issues include consumer products, cosmetics, farming, food, toxics, and children’s health. 

The Cancer Round-Up

RoundUp is an extremely popular herbicide, originally produced by agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto, and its widespread use has led to understandable concern following increased awareness about its possible carcinogenic effects.

RoundUp: Helpful Herbicide or Dangerous Carcinogen?

RoundUp and other herbicides with the active ingredient glyphosate are probably the most commonly used weed killers among farmers, foresters, gardeners, and biologists trying to control weeds. Since Roundup’s introduction in 1974 more than 9.4 million tons of Roundup have been sprayed into crops, fields, and backyards that pose a direct health risk to people across the country.

According to a report by The Guardian, “US farmers spray about 200m pounds of Roundup each year on their crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat and oats. It can also be used on produce such as spinach and almonds.”

How does it work?

Glyphosate-based herbicides all work on the same biochemical principle — they inhibit a specific enzyme that plants need in order to grow. The specific enzyme is called EPSP synthase. Without that enzyme, plants are unable to produce other proteins essential to growth, so they yellow and die over the course of several days or weeks. A majority of plants use this same enzyme, so almost all plants succumb to RoundUp.

Glyphosate is used mostly as a weedkiller on genetically modified corn and soybeans. But it is also sprayed on oats just before harvest as a drying agent, or desiccant. It kills the crop, drying it out so it can be harvested sooner, which increases the likelihood that glyphosate ends up in foods children love to eat.

Cancer Connection

The failure to warn consumers of the risk involved with RoundUp has continued in spite of the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) listing glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen as early as 2015.  Recent court proceedings and newly published research have highlighted the possible link between Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and heavy use of RoundUp among those hard-at-work in the agricultural industry.

Dewayne “Lee” Johnson filed a lawsuit against Monsanto in 2016 alleging that being exposed to the Roundup herbicide while he worked as a groundskeeper caused him to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). This was a first of its kind case which led to a unanimous verdict that Roundup’s glyphosate-based weedkiller was responsible for Johnson’s cancer.  The trial took over 8 weeks and resulted in a unanimous jury verdict that Monsanto acted with malice and should be punished for its product. 

“I’ve been going through a lot of pain,” Johnson testified weeks earlier. “It really takes everything out of you … I’m not getting any better.” 

Jurors awarded Johnson $289 million. Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial because Johnson’s health is declining and doctors said he didn’t have long to live. Dying plaintiffs in California can be granted expedited trials. 

Since then, more than 18,000 people have filed lawsuits across the country against Monsanto and are expected to go to trial in the coming years.

What is a Genetically Modified Organism? 

Monsanto’s reputation as a controversial agricultural biotechnology corporation holds a dominant position in both herbicides and genetically modified organisms, specifically seeds.. Identified more closely than any other company with the effort to introduce genetically modified organisms into the food supply, Monsanto has been the target of ongoing campaigns for more than 20 years.

A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

A Threat to Wildlife 

Because RoundUp is used heavily in the agricultural industry, new studies have also been conducted to examine its effect on wildlife. Recent research has suggested that Roundup compromises the immune systems of bees contributing to a critical decline in bee populations. Roundup also caused bee larva to grow more slowly and die more frequently than normal which is thought to be caused by a disruption in the beneficial gut bacteria within bees’ stomachs.  

“We all know that glyphosate is an antibiotic. It’s very toxic to bacteria. It’s even patented as an antibiotic,” says Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “But very few researchers have actually dived into this issue. The good thing is, that’s starting to change.” 

Researchers Nancy Moran, Erick Motta and Kasie Raymann suggest their findings are evidence that glyphosate might be contributing to colony collapse disorder. Colony Collapse Disorder is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen. This phenomenon has been wreaking havoc on both native and farmed honey bees for over a decade.

Cereal Offenders: Monsanto’s Controversial History

While the case against RoundUp is a concerning one, it is certainly not the first, or last, public grievance brought to Monsanto’s rap sheet. From its mistreatment of farmers, to morally questionable government lobbying, manufacturing of Agent Orange, and environmental and workplace safety issues–Monsanto’s disreputable past exudes suspicion and outright mistrust by the public. And rightfully so. 

Beginnings

Founded in 1901 in St. Louis, Missouri by pharmaceutical industry veteran John Francis Queeny, Monsanto began as a chemical company whose first products were commodity food additives, such as the artificial sweetener saccharin, caffeine and vanillin. 

Over a Century of White Collar Crime

Monsanto expanded rapidly throughout the 20th century, making a name for itself as, according to many advocacy groups, “the most evil corporation in the world”.

  • 1940. Monsanto produces polystyrene, the main component in Styrofoam, which creates large amounts of hazardous waste during manufacture.
  • 1945. Monsanto begins manufacturing toxic agricultural chemicals like 2,4-D, later used in Agent Orange. It also produces DDT.
  • 1956. The U.S. Navy refuses to purchase Monsanto’s hydraulic fluid after safety tests associate it with “definite liver damage.”
  • 1976. Monsanto introduces RoundUp, a synthetic chemical herbicide whose overuse soon creates glyphosate-resistant superweeds.
  • 1984. Monsanto pays millions to Vietnam War veterans suffering from exposure to Agent Orange.
  • 1990s. Monsanto takes 5th among U.S. corporations in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory.
  • 1994. Monsanto introduces recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to increase milk production, despite numerous adverse health concerns.
  • 1996. Monsanto introduces Roundup Ready soybeans, the company’s first genetically modified, pesticide-promoting seed, and the first GE insect-resistant cotton, which produces its own insecticide. Scientists find that aspartame, an artificial sweetener developed by a Monsanto subsidiary, could pose health risks to consumers.
  • 1998. Canadian government scientists accuse Monsanto of bribe attempts in obtaining approval of the drug hormone rBGH in Canada.
  • 2002. Monsanto is fined $1.5 million for bribing Indonesian officials to skip an environmental assessment of its GE cotton.
  • 2006. A judge rules that the USDA violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to conduct even minimal investigation into whether GE “pharma crops” could harm endangered species.

 

This is just a brief summary of Monsanto’s list of unjust acts against public health.

David vs. Monsanto: Legal Battles against Farmers

Perhaps one of Monsanto’s most widely publicized controversies was its mistreatment of both domestic and international farmers.

When Monsanto introduced its first genetically modified seeds in the 1990s, it forced farmers to sign contracts prohibiting them from continuing the traditional practice of saving some of the seeds from a harvest for planting the following season. To make sure farmers were compelled to purchase a new supply of the GMO seeds for every season, the company made sure it had the right to inspect and monitor the fields of its customers. It also brought lawsuits against farmers it claimed violated the company’s policies.

This controversy was highlighted in a 2011 documentary, David vs. Monsanto.

Bayer Purchase

Monsanto was purchased in 2018 by Bayer, one of the largest multinational pharmaceutical companies in the world. 

Since then, Bayer‘s stock prices have been hit hard by the recent legal rulings regarding the RoundUp cancer lawsuits. Bayer’s total market value has plummeted to less than the price it paid for Monsanto when they purchased the company last year. People took to the streets to demonstrate against acquiring Monsanto to begin with. “Bayer has choked on Monsanto,” said Ingo Speich of German lender Deka bank. “The company risks being taken over and dismantled.” Mark Tuemmler of investors’ federation DSW said 2018 was “a nightmare for shareholders.”

As of August 9th, 2019, there have been rumors that Bayer is reportedly offering a settlement of $8 billion  for the 18,000 claims filed against the RoundUp manufacturer. That’s in the ballpark of half of $1 million for each claim filed.


Hyland’s stops selling teething products following FDA warning

Posted on Monday, December 5th, 2016 at 10:31 am by Williams Hart   

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about the potential risk of teething tablets and gels to infants and children.

Specifically, the agency urged consumers to temporarily stop using homeopathic tablets and gels after numerous deaths related to the tablets occurred. The products included in the recall were tested by the FDA and found to contain belladonna.

Recently, Hyland’s, a manufacturer of homeopathic teething products, announced it will stop distributing teething tablets and gels in the U.S. following the precautionary warning by the FDA. In a statement released by the company, the manufacturer insisted the products were safe for use because they contained only a tiny amount of belladona, a toxin derived from a poisonous plant. The FDA is urging its consumers to consult with a physician before using any medicine. For a full description of the products included in the recall, you can visit the FDA website.

If your child was affected by Hyland’s homeopathic teething products, we at Williams Hart can help you draft a legal case against them. Get in touch with us at (713) 352-7071 to discuss your situation.


The dangerous complications of endometriosis

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2015 at 10:27 am by Williams Hart   

Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissues grow outside the uterus. Because endometrial tissues typically shed from the womb to the cervix and outside the body in the form of menstrual blood, women with endometrial tissues attached to the linings of pelvic organs other than the uterus may experience severe abdominal pain, dysmenorrhea, and infertility.

Because blood from the dislocated endometrial tissues cannot pass through the cervix and out of the body, it may become trapped and irritate the surrounding tissues. This could lead to adhesion, or the abnormal binding of tissue linings. Endometriosis has also been associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Another type of cancer, endometriosis-associated adenocarcinoma, has also been identified as one of endometriosis’ life-threatening complications.

Power morcellators are sometimes used during uterine procedures to treat endometriosis. Unfortunately, however, these devices are associated with the spread of cancerous cells and other dangers. If you believe your health has been greatly compromised because of this device, a lawyer at Williams Hart might be able to help you seek the compensation you believe you deserve. Call us at (713) 352-7071 today.


Different approaches to diagnosing uterine cancer

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2015 at 2:01 pm by Williams Hart   

Uterine cancer, or the formation and development of cancer tumors along the uterus, has recently been associated with the use of power morcellators. Power morcellators are devices used to manually break up pieces of uterine growths before vacuuming them out of the body. In some instances, previously undetected cancerous tissues are also morcellated and left in the uterus, increasing their growth and spread.

To diagnose uterine cancer, doctors may recommend one or more of these tests:

  • Pelvic exam – Doctors may manually check the vagina and cervix for any abnormalities by inserting a speculum into the vagina
  • Imaging tests – Transvaginal ultrasounds and hysteroscopy, or the examination of the inside of the uterus and the endometrium using a thin, flexible tube called the hysteroscope, may all help detect uterine cancer
  • Endometrial biopsy – A sample of the endometrial tissue is obtained for analysis
  • Dilation and curettage – Used to obtain greater volume of uterine tissue for evaluation. Used when the tissue obtained from the endometrial biopsy is not enough for analysis

If you believe a diagnosis of uterine cancer has been the result of using a power morcellator, seek the legal assistance and guidance of our team of personal injury attorneys at Williams Hart to learn more about your eligibility in filing a legal claim. Call us at (713) 352-7071 for a free assessment of your case.


The risk of uterine cancer

Posted on Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 at 12:02 pm by Williams Hart   

A power morcellator is a device used to remove fibroids from the uterus by breaking them up into smaller pieces and vacuuming them out of the body through a small abdominal incision. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a warning about the possible spreading of unsuspected malignant tissues in the uterus during the procedure, which may result in uterine cancer.

Aside from power morcellator use, other risk factors associated with uterine cancer are:

  • Early start of menstruation, or late menopause
  • Hormone therapy
  • Heredity
  • No history of pregnancy
  • Older age
  • Obesity

The unjust, unwarranted, and avoidable spread of uterine cancer caused by power morcellators can affect any woman anywhere. If you are one of those who have been affected by this device, it is important to advocate for your rights. Consult with an attorney at Williams Hart by calling (713) 352-7071 today and learn more about how to fight for justice and compensation when hurt by this device.


The life-threatening complications of neuroleptic malignant syndrome

Posted on Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 at 11:17 am by Williams Hart   

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a potentially fatal side-effect of certain atypical antipsychotic medications, such as Risperdal. Studies suggest that this reaction could be triggered by the impairment of dopamine receptors.  Because antipsychotic medications work by altering the levels of brain chemicals like dopamine, drugs such as Risperdal may increase the risk of NMS.

NMS is accompanied by symptoms affecting the autonomic nervous system, which means that severe and life-threatening complications might occur. These complications include heart attack, infection, seizure, renal failure, and dramatic changes in blood pressure. If any of these complications were left untreated, the patient may suffer from debilitating physical injuries and sometimes even death.

If your loved one has suffered from any of Risperdal’s side-effects, a lawyer at Williams Hart may assess your situation to determine whether you have a case for legal action against the drug maker involved. To learn more about gaining recourse during this difficult time, call our offices at (713) 352-7071 today.


Understanding the treatment options for pituitary tumors

Posted on Wednesday, December 24th, 2014 at 11:04 am by Williams Hart   

Pituitary tumors, sometimes called pituitary adenomas, are benign growths that form in the pituitary gland. Because the pituitary gland controls other hormone-producing glands in the body, abnormal growths in the organ may negatively affect several body functions and metabolism. Sadly, some studies have shown an increasing number of pituitary tumor cases are associated with Risperdal, an atypical antipsychotic drug designed for individuals with behavioral disorders.

Because pituitary tumors oftentimes put pressure in the brain, treatment is usually necessary. Among the treatment options available for pituitary tumors are:

  • Surgery – Tumors can be extracted through a cross-sectional incision on the upper area of the skull, or through the sinuses and the nose
  • Radiation – Involves the use of powerful radiation beam to directly or incrementally destroy pituitary tumors

If taking Risperdal has caused you to develop any physically and financially damaging disease, such as a pituitary tumor, a lawyer at Williams Hart might be able to help you seek the compensation you believe you deserve. Call us at (713) 352-7071 today.


How doctors detect pituitary tumors

Posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 at 10:25 am by Williams Hart   

Found below the base of the brain, the pituitary gland is considered the “master gland,” as it can control the hormonal production of other glands throughout the body. As such, any disorder involving the pituitary gland may result in metabolic and developmental defects, and may decrease a person’s overall quality of life.

Among the most common pituitary gland disorder is pituitary tumors, or benign growths that develop in the organ. Individuals experiencing signs and symptoms of pituitary tumors should get tested for diagnosis:

  • Brain imaging – Computerized tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to obtain an image of the brain
  • Urine and blood tests – These tests are conducted to check for abnormal hormone levels, which may indicate the presence of a pituitary tumor
  • Vision testing – Pituitary tumors may press against the nerves that affect eyesight

Unfortunately, a diagnosis of a pituitary tumor can sometimes result from using Risperdal, an anti-psychotic medication that has also been associated with other serious side-effects, such as heart attacks and pancreatitis. If you believe your health condition has stemmed from using this dangerous drug, a lawyer at Williams Hart might be able to determine the possibility of financial restitution. Call us at (713) 352-7071 for help.


Can power morcellators cause uterine cancer?

Posted on Thursday, December 4th, 2014 at 2:36 pm by Williams Hart   

Power morcellators are used in procedures for women suffering from uterine fibroids, or the benign growths along the lining of the uterus. It works by breaking the growths into pieces before vacuuming them out of the body through a small incision. Manufacturers of power morcellators claim that uterine procedures involving these devices are safe, effective, and pain-free.

But despite these promises, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned about the risk of uterine cancer after power morcellation procedures. The agency said undetected cancer tissues along the lining of the uterus might be ruptured by the device. This might trigger the destructive multiplication of cancer cells in the uterus, which could lead to uterine cancer.

If you have developed uterine cancer after a procedure involving a power morcellator, our team of morcellator lawsuit attorneys at Williams Hart may look into your situation to see if you are qualified to seek financial compensation from the makers of the dangerous medical device. Call us at (713) 352-7071 for a free assessment of your case today.


How Risperdal can cause cardiac arrest

Posted on Thursday, October 9th, 2014 at 1:13 pm by Williams Hart   

On October 29, 2009, The U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health stated that patients using atypical antipsychotic drugs, such as Risperdal, have a dose-related increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Atypical antipsychotics are a second-generation class of drugs designed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This type of drug was promoted as a safer substitute for the first-generation antipsychotics, which were known to cause a myriad of motor control disabilities. However, both types of antipsychotics are associated with heart disorders, including cardiac arrest. This is because antipsychotics were found to affect the electrical activities of the heart, which may result in heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias) that may ultimately lead to SCA.

If you or your loved one has been harmed after using this drug, a qualified and assertive product liability attorney at Williams Hart might be able to help you file a private action against the drug company involved. To see if your situation qualifies for such action, call our office at (713) 352-7071 today.

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