Judge allows lawsuits claiming Monsanto weed killer Roundup causes cancer to go forward

The company that makes Roundup, Monsanto, has strongly denied that there is any connection between their product and cancer.
by Associated Press /  / Updated 
Image: US-ENVIRONMENT-HEALTH-AGRICULTURE-CHEMICALS

Hundreds of lawsuits have alleged that Roundup causes cancer.Josh Edelson / AFP – Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO — Hundreds of lawsuits alleging Roundup weed killer causes cancer cleared a big hurdle this week when a federal judge ruled that cancer victims and their families could present expert testimony linking the herbicide to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said evidence that the active ingredient in Roundup — glyphosate — can cause the disease seemed “rather weak.” Still, the opinions of three experts linking glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were not “junk science” that should be excluded from a trial, the judge ruled on Tuesday.

The lawsuits say agrochemical giant Monsanto, which makes Roundup, long knew about the cancer risk but failed to warn people. The ruling allows the claims to move forward, though the judge warned it could be a “daunting challenge” to convince him to allow a jury to hear testimony that glyphosate was responsible for individual cancer diagnoses.

Many government regulators have rejected a link between cancer and glyphosate. Monsanto has vehemently denied such a connection, saying hundreds of studies have established that the chemical is safe.

The company is facing hundreds of lawsuits in state and federal courts that claim otherwise. Chhabria is presiding over more than 400 of them.

A separate trial is under way in San Francisco in a lawsuit by a school groundskeeper dying of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma — the first case a jury has heard alleging Roundup caused cancer.

In response to Chhabria’s ruling, Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge noted the judge excluded some of the plaintiffs’ experts and called the opinions of those he is allowing to testify “shaky.”

“Moving forward, we will continue to defend these lawsuits with robust evidence that proves there is absolutely no connection between glyphosate and cancer,” Partridge said in a statement. “We have sympathy for anyone suffering from cancer, but the science clearly shows that glyphosate was not the cause.”

Michael Baum, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he was still reviewing the ruling but was pleased the judge rejected Monsanto’s effort to have the lawsuits thrown out.

“We look forward to taking the next step — getting our clients their day in court,” he said in a statement.

The judge wanted to determine whether the science behind the claim that glyphosate can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma had been properly tested and met other requirements to be considered valid.

Chhabria spent a week in March hearing dueling testimony from epidemiologists. He peppered them with questions about potential strengths and weaknesses of research on the cancer risk of glyphosate.

Beate Ritz, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, testified for the plaintiffs that her review of scientific literature led her to conclude that glyphosate and glyphosate-based compounds such as Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Ritz said a 2017 National Institutes of Health study that found no association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma had major flaws.

Monsanto brought in its own expert, Lorelei Mucci, a cancer epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who praised the 2017 study.

“When you look at the body of epidemiological literature on this topic, there’s no evidence of a positive association between glyphosate and NHL risk,” she said of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In his ruling Tuesday, the judge said Ritz and Mucci could both testify before a jury.

Monsanto developed glyphosate in the 1970s, and the weed killer is now sold in more than 160 countries. Farmers in California, the most agriculturally productive state in the U.S., use it on more than 200 types of crops. Homeowners use it on their lawns and gardens.

The herbicide came under increasing scrutiny after the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified it as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015.

A flurry of lawsuits against Monsanto followed, and California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer. Monsanto has attacked the international research agency’s opinion as an outlier.

The Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions.

A federal judge in Sacramento has blocked California from requiring that Roundup carry a label stating that it is known to cause cancer, saying the warning is misleading because almost all regulators have concluded that there is no evidence glyphosate is carcinogenic.

Mom claims she found bed bugs in daughter’s hospital room

An Arizona family is speaking out after claiming to find bed bugs in their daughter’s hospital room. Erin Ortega, whose daughter is being treated at Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa, said she and her wife allegedly spotted a bed bug on hospital-provided bedding on Monday night.

She claims she alerted hospital staff, who allegedly moved the family to another room for staffing purposes, Fox 10 reported.

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“Sure enough, there was another bed bug on the floor behind the recliner, as well as a dead one that was stuck to the chair,” Ortega told Fox 10.

In a statement to the news station on Tuesday, the hospital said it immediately responds to any concerns raised by patients.

“We are responsive to any concerns expressed by our patients,” the statement read. “We take immediate action to remedy isolated incidents as soon as we are notified.”

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But Ortega, who said her daughter has been receiving exceptional care at the facility, said she’s concerned other patients are unaware of the situation.

“We see family coming and going out of there still carrying bags, still carrying their sweaters, things like that, and it doesn’t seem that there’s much of a concern for their well-being,” she told the news outlet.

Bed bugs are not known to spread diseases, but they can cause itching and loss of sleep. A bed bug bite could also trigger an allergic reaction and require medical attention, according to the CDC.

Ortega, who has other children at home, said she and her wife have not been able to stay with their daughter over concerns about the bed bugs and the risk of bringing them home. She also said they are considering transferring their daughter to another facility.

According to Experts: Most Public Buildings In Montreal Have A Bed Bug Problem

ew ew EW!!!

According to Experts: Most Public Buildings In Montreal Have A Bed Bug Problem featured image

For some reason, bed bug infestations in Montreal are a common occurence. There’s even a public map that depicts all reported instances of bed bugs in the city.

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This week we learned that the widespread problem even extends to popular public institutions. The bed bug problem at Montreal’s largest public library, the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), has become so severe that library officials had to remove all cushioned furniture from the building. Some are even considering removing all upholstered pieces from the library.

Today, the Montreal Gazette first reported that, in fact, most public buildings in the city have had a beg bug problem.

Yes, tiny blood-sucking insects roam the halls of public Montreal institutions.

City officials have remained tight-lipped about just where and how often the city has to combat the creepy crawling creatures. Though, the Gazette also reports some city employees have received special training to prevent and deal with infestations. If the city is willing to invest that much time and money into such trainings, the problem must be huge.

Cases reported in libraries, hospitals, and universities received much public attention.

Montrealers who spot bed bugs in their homes or public buildings can file a report with the city. The Point-St-Charles Community Clinic warns that the most important thing Montreal residents can do is not try to deal with the situation themselves and instead call an exterminator.

In the meantime, avoid contact with anything plush the next time you visit a public building.

DMV To Temporarily Close After Alleged Bedbug Infestation

 

Brian Dorman, News on 6

In response to claims of a bedbug infestation, the DMV inside Eastgate Metroplex is now closed for 3 days.

The property manager says the DMV will be treated Thursday morning for bedbugs. But those affected by this problem there say that’s not enough.

“This whole place needs to be shut down. It’s not an isolated incident,” said Cynthia Odom. “We utilize these places on a regular basis and then for management to hide it. Even when I tried to contact them no one called me. It was just like, oh well, that’s your problem.”

Those pictures, as well as pictures from another woman claiming she was bitten, is putting the heat on the Eastgate Metroplex even shutting down DPS. Eastgate Property Manager Dave Ortenburger says the situation’s isolated.

“This talk of infestation is sensationalizing the whole situation there is not an infestation. Nobody and I mean, nobody is immune to bedbugs,” said Ortenburger.

Since the story aired on News On 6 others who are employed at other Eastgate businesses have come forward saying in the past they’ve been told to stay quiet. Ortenburger denied that anyone was told not to report the issue.

Cynthia Odom says she has contacted a lawyer and is hoping others will join her as she considers legal action.

Alorica’s Corporate office also released a statement earlier today.

At this time, we do not have any reported incidents of a bed bug infestation. The bed bug incident in question was located in a common area for the public at one of the other businesses in the complex, a complex with 40 businesses and 10,000 employees. With more than 1,000 employees serving our business not only do we perform monthly treatments to mitigate incidents, we also have standard protocols in place in the case of an infestation. Bed bug treatments including K-9 inspection, steam cleaning and chemical treatments with follow-ups to confirm eradication to the area in question. In addition, the company gives two paid days off to employees that report a bed bug concern immediately or even one day after they first discover an issue. During their two days off, the company pays for a free home inspection by a pest control company, as well as paying for any pest extermination costs.

Alorica deeply cares about maintaining healthy and safe working conditions for our team members and we will continue to work closely with employees to ensure any future events are handled appropriately and promptly.

While we do not provide specific details or comments regarding our former or current employees, I would suggest fact checking data regarding end of employment—reason, timing, etc.

Bed Bugs Found in Fox News Channel Newsroom

By Chris Ariens

TVNewser has learned that a small area of the Fox News Channel newsroom has evidence of insects believed to be bed bugs. What is not known is how the insects got into the basement-level newsroom of the News Corp. headquarters. Most likely, an employee or guest unknowingly transported the poppy seed-sized bugs on their clothing, which then made their way into the fabric or carpeting.

We’re told an exterminator was brought in late last week to treat the area and those who sit near there have been alerted to take precautionary measures including sending their clothes to the dry cleaner.

For the past several years New York City has seen a rise of bed bug outbreaks in city hotels and apartments.

Bedbugs infest Montreal’s biggest library

Grande Bibliotheque

Much of the Grande Bibliotheque remains open but some portions have been forced to close due to a bedbug infestation.

Anyone checking out a book from Montreal’s Grande Bibliotheque should be careful that they’re not also bringing home bedbugs.

Several sections of the city’s biggest library have been closed off as officials try to get a handle on the infestation. Upholstered chairs have been swapped out for plastic seats, and exterminators have been dispatched.

This is not the library’s first bedbug problem. In the past 13 years, there have been multiple episodes of bedbugs. In most cases, it’s been an isolated issue that’s been quick and easy to treat.

This time the tiny, brownish critters – which grow to be about the size of an apple seed — appear to have spread throughout the facility.

An estimated 7,000 people visit the Grande Bibliotheque every day. It’s unclear what may have prompted the problem, but library officials say it’s difficult to control what visitors may bring into the facility.

Other cities have experienced similar infestations. In 2016, 14 library branches in southwestern Ontario were temporarily closed after bedbugs were discovered at a library near Windsor. In that case, patrons were asked not to return borrowed items until the problem was under control.

One-third of Vancouver’s library branches were briefly closed in 2011 after bedbugs were found inside books in New Westminster Public Library’s fiction section.

Bedbugs have been known to spread in other public spaces, including buses, movie theatres and hospitals. As juveniles, bedbugs are translucent but eventually turn a brownish-red after they feed. Females can lay up to five eggs per day.

With files from CTV Montreal

Mosquito trial takes a bite out of dengue and zika-spreading populations

Updated

A CSIRO experiment has managed to wipe out more than 80 per cent of a dengue fever-spreading mosquito near a far north Queensland town.

The CSIRO released more than three million sterile male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in small towns near Innisfail last summer, and the females they mated with laid sterile eggs.

The researchers drove around the towns in van that used GPS sensors to release mosquitoes at certain intervals to get even coverage of the male mosquitoes across the area.

CSIRO research director Paul De Barro said the team partnered with James Cook University and tech company Verily for the “Debug Innisfail” project.

“We created a population of mosquitoes that had within them a naturally occurring bacterium called wolbachia,” he said.

“What we were doing is releasing only males that had this wolbachia, and they would cross with mosquitoes in the field, the wild mosquitoes that didn’t have that same strain of wolbachia, and as a result the wild females would only lay sterile eggs and so the population would crash.”

The Aedes aegypti mosquito also spreads diseases such as yellow fever, zika virus and chikungunya, making hundreds of millions of people sick in more than 120 countries each year.

Dr De Barro said the results of the experiment were promising for efforts to eradicate disease-carrying mosquitoes from urban areas.

“I certainly think with technology like this, and as it evolves over time, we will be in a situation where we could view a future Australia that didn’t have this mosquito,” he said.

“What we’ve demonstrated is the technology does work to at least suppressing.

“What Verily wants to do now is it wants to trial the technology in a location which has a large dengue problem.”

Dr De Barro said the trial sites near Innisfail were perfect for the experiment.

“You have a number of small towns surrounded by sugar cane, so they become little isolated, experimental patches,” he said.

“We were therefore able to have three towns that were treated and three towns that were not treated so we could get a very good picture of how the mosquitoes responded to the release of these sterile male mosquitoes.

The CSIRO said the project would end for now in far north Queensland and Verily was planning trials overseas.

A separate Monash University trial, the World Mosquito Program (formerly Eliminate Dengue), released wolbachia-infected mosquitoes in north Queensland aimed at replacing the local Aedes aegypti population with ones that cannot transmit dengue fever.

Queensland Health credited the project with reducing locally transmitted dengue cases in Cairns.

KDR office building treated for bed bugs

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Some employees with the Kansas Department of Revenue were placed on leave after bedbugs were discovered in one of their office buildings.

According to KDR spokesperson Rachel Whitten, the bedbug infestation was discovered on Friday in the Scott Building at SE 10th and Quincy.

The KDR leases the building for their taxation division.

Seven employees were placed on administrative leave, and were required to have their homes checked for bedbugs before they could return.

An extermination company worked over the weekend and Monday to eradicate the bugs in the office.

The office was deemed bedbug free on Tuesday.

Whitten says the home inspections for employees are free, but the employees are required to pay for any extermination.

Boone camp trip ruined by bed bugs

By: Rafael Lopez

 

BOONE – A group leader at a local girls scouts camp reached out to Local 5, saying two girls in her troop came home from camp covered in bites.

The Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa say they inspect every campsite both at check-in and check-out.

The group leader we spoke with appreciates their work to remove the bed bugs, but wants the girls affected to get a refund.

Kelley Gerling is just one of several parents ticked off with the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa.

“I thought they’d have little girl fights, but never getting bit by bed bugs,” Gerling says.

She says while her daughter and two other girl scouts were staying at this camp in Boone — they were bit by bed bugs.

“It is no an exaggeration to say thousands were on her sleeping bag,” she says.

The two girls snapped pictures of their bites to prove it.

Beth Shelton with Girl Scouts for Greater Iowa admits the pesky creatures were found in one of the homes. She ensures everyone that the organization religiously inspects for pests — and this wasn’t the exception.

“Upon check-out, we called pest control and they found two bed bugs they professionally got rid of it, and we have not had any more contact with any of the parents who girls were impacted,” Shelton says.

But, Gerling says otherwise.

She claims that she and other parents have contacted staff on numerous occasions about getting compensated for their daughter’s nightmares.

“If you are in a hotel and something like that happens you get a refund, I am not even asking for a full refund, just the cookie dough money they have, that’s money they raised from selling all of the cookies,” Gerling says.

“We will have a discussion with parents who felt affected by that, I don’t feel comfortable making a black and white statement to the public,” Shelton says.

Shelton said this is a rare case and she doesn’t want to ruin the reputation of the Girl Scouts organization.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp2mF0DZ2_o

Family recovering from bed bug bites after cruise from Boston to Bermuda

A Billerica family thought it was going to be the trip of a lifetime, but it turned into a trip they’ll be talking about for the rest of their lives.

“We were excited. Megan just graduated high school so it was our last family trip,” Laura Sargent said.

The Sargent family sailed from Boston to Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn last week, and every day, even after their rooms were cleaned and sheets changed, they say they noticed the same stains kept appearing.

“We noticed on our sheets there were like red bloody marks and these dark black stains,” Sargent said. “I just thought they had washed the sheets with pens or markers that hadn’t come out.”

Looking closely at a photo of Room 8106, they saw a black bug. Still, the family said they didn’t think anything of it and didn’t have any kind of reaction, until they went swimming in the ocean while still vacationing. They noticed their skin was having a reaction and thought it had something to do with tropical bugs.

When they returned home over the weekend, the Sargent family said the real trouble began, seeing quarter-sized welts on their bodies.

“It started out with like five (welts) and they just kept popping up,” Megan Sargent said.

A doctor informed them it wasn’t something tropical causing this reaction. It was bed bugs. The reaction can be delayed and varied.

The trip of a lifetime cost the Sargent family $5,000. Now on steroids, and unsatisfied with what they call Norwegian’s lack of action, they are warning others of Room 8106.

WCVB reached out to Norwegian for comment. They said they are investigating.

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