Thursday, November 19, 2020

Bottom-Feeder Lawyer Frenzy Over Roundup Seems to be Ending

Every now and then, I surprise myself by searching for something I'm absolutely sure I've written about before and don't find it.  Sometimes it has shown up when searching for totally off-the-wall search terms (can't think of an example) but ordinarily I search for the topic and find something I'm sure I've written. 

Not this time. I can find no evidence of having written about the bottom-feeding lawyer race to the bottom that has been going on over the weed killer Roundup.

Yesterday at Townhall, occasional columnist Angela Logomasini passed on the news that the bottom feeders seem to be moving on to something else to sue over.  It's an interesting story, if you know the background that no carefully controlled study has ever concluded that Roundup (glyphosate) causes cancer, nor has any country declared it a carcinogen.  Even the EPA hasn't ruled Roundup to be dangerous and you've got to know the EPA would love to regulate as much as they possibly can.  Ms. Logomasini put it this way:
All these cases are built on a single, discredited hazard assessment produced by a United Nations outfit known as the International Agency for Research on Cancer or IARC. IARC classified Roundup’s active ingredient—glyphosate—as a known carcinogen despite contrary findings by most governmental and nongovernmental entities around the world.

Yet IARC does not even attempt to determine if real-world exposures pose risks, they just consider the theoretical possibility of risk at some unspecified level.
I'm sure you know what's referred to as the First Law of Toxicology, which is "the dose makes the poison," right?  IARC totally ignores that.  If you look into IARC rulings, it's even more bizarre.  IARC places plutonium in their Group 1, the same cancer category as Chinese-style salty fish, leather and wood dusts.  I think everyone considers plutonium a carcinogen; the salty fish and sawdust, not so much.  They're hard to take seriously. 

The reason there's a feeding frenzy over suing Bayer AgroSciences, parent company of Monsanto, is that in some jury case a suit was successful and thus became a legal precedent.  In an attempt at self-preservation, Bayer established a policy of just paying out on these claims, but that sent the message to the lawyers that the gravy train had arrived. All they had to do was file and Bayer would pay out.

As the money has been paying out and the number of new cases is going down, the sharks are looking for a new place to feed.  They've found one.  Again, to Ms. Logomasini:
As Roundup cases hopefully winds down, there are a growing number of lawsuits focused on ethylene oxide (EO) on the horizon. EO is a chemical used to sterilize more than 50 percent of the nation’s medical supplies—including masks, bandages, ventilators, and more. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency aided and abetted the trial lawyers on this one in 2016 by producing an absurd assessment on the chemical’s risk.
I've long considered the EPA to be the High Priests of Junk Science, and this time it's Junk Science in the extreme.  The EPA has a program called the Integrated Risk Information System or (IRIS) (pdf warning on the link), and IRIS assigned a safe exposure limit of 0.1 parts per trillion for EO.  For perspective, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) says this is the equivalent of taking one drop of water and spreading it into 200 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  Must be powerful stuff, right? 

Here's where the EPA really screwed the pooch on this subject.  See, your body produces EO at levels 19,000 times greater than the EPA's 0.1 ppt.  All day, everyday.  Further, since this is part of the intricately regulated biochemistry of our bodies, the body clears EO quickly, with a half life (that is, levels falling by 50%) of 42 minutes.  If the EPA was right, people would be dropping like flies from the EO in their own bodies, inhaling it in the air, and more. 

Since the EPA declared it such a ridiculously potent poison, the lawyers have followed. 
Despite these realities, EPA’s air quality office used the IRIS number in a 2018 report that suggested people in communities near medical sterilization plants might face elevated cancer risks. Sensationalist news headlines followed, whipping up panic in several communities leading local and state governments to shut down several plants during 2019 and into 2020.

These closures exacerbated medical supply shortages  (pdf warning) just when the novel corona virus crisis started. Fortunately, in March and April of 2020, the Food and Drug Administration was able to get states and localities to open all but one of the facilities to help address shortages, but this issue is far from over.
The problem, I'm sure you can see, is that if the EPA doesn't reclassify EO, the lawyers may get lucky and get into a court with a dumb enough jury to award money, which will trigger a Roundup-like feeding frenzy that could shut down all the medical production that relies on it.  Instead of hurting one corporation (and the millions that depend on Bayer), they'll hurt everyone dependent on the medical facilities that sterilize with EO.  Which hurts everyone, especially in the days of the Rona. 

Typical lawyer attempt at trolling. 


  1. The EPA set the limits of hazardous waste as something having a pH between 2 and 12.5 (for those things defined as hazardous based on pH - there are a lot of ways to get listed).

    Originally, they were going to set the pH limits to catch a lot more things - say 3 to 10. Thankfully, someone in the office was smart enough to know that would have made Coca-Cola (pH of 2.5)and wet concrete (pH of 12 or so) hazardous substances.

  2. Just more agenda driven pseudoscience. Facts are no longer relevant. Pseudoscience allows ignorant and greedy parasites to get fat from lies and distractions. And the abysmal quality of "education" means that most people are too ignorant and incapable of rational thought to realize the shysters are peddling bullshit.

    1. And the abysmal quality of "education" means that most people are too ignorant and incapable of rational thought to realize the shysters are peddling bullshit.

      And that's really the important part. The reason the whole bottom feeder tournament got started was some jury somewhere wasn't capable of critical thought. Enough to listen to the prosecutor using something stupid like the UN IARC data and choosing that over the evidence from the defense. Maybe the defense lawyers were idiots, I don't know, but if the jury took the suit as a serious matter and not "stick it to the rich man" it's hard to imagine any level of critical thinking there.

  3.'re suggesting that if I want Roundup, I should buy it now...

    1. A side effect I failed to mention is that a guy I know who does lawn service for a living says the formula has been diluted to half strength and to get it work as well as it used to we now have to double the concentration when we mix it up to spray. Which disagrees with the label use.

      I'm counting down until the first time someone in America decides to sue a neighbor for using Roundup and causing their cancer - or whatever. Right now, it's essentially only people who worked with it industrially.

      Around here, Roundup is an essential supply. The White Wolf mine area is probably very different. This is essentially a swamp, the weeds will try to steal food off the grill while I'm out grilling.

  4. Facts really don't matter anymore. Glyphosate works by blocking a metabolic channel that DOESN'T exist in mammals....only in plants. In mammals the chemical is Barium. But if there's a dollar to be stolen there will be a shyster looking for a way to steal it.

    One of the biggest factors
    was the modern advent in 1966 of "class action lawsuits". Such lawsuits mean that the number of "victims" possible was massively increased and thus the potential judgement was MASSIVELY increased. That ginormous pile of money made such suits appealing. And so we have seen the number of such lawsuits skyrocket.....merely because the potential payday for the shysters suddenly skyrocketed.

    1. You know, I was completely unaware of how recent "class action lawsuits" are. They've been there basically as long as I've been aware of lawsuits as a thing, but I never thought to look up their history.

    2. They have existed for quite a while in the legal world but legislation in 1966 is the genesis of the current version we see being shilled on late night TV nonstop.