The multidistrict litigation (MDL) Court overseeing the national coordinated docket for Roundup personal injury claims recently compelled Monsanto to produce or permit the inspection of kidney tissue slides from mice. The Plaintiffs had said these tissue slides were important to the issue of general causation. The slides were part of study BDN-77-420, which played a critical role in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to re-categorize glyphosate to Category E – “evidence of non-carcinogenicity to humans.”
BDN-77-420 is one of three long-term animal toxicity and carcinogenicity studies owned by Monsanto and has been relied upon by Monsanto since the outset of the litigation. Plaintiffs’ motion to compel stated that “Monsanto’s repeated reliance upon the original and re-cut kidney tissue slides necessitates granting Plaintiffs access to the same slides.”
Originally, the study conducted by Monsanto in 1983 regarding the effect of glyphosate (a chemical used in Roundup) on mice, demonstrated a dose-related response to glyphosate, and the EPA classified glyphosate as a Category C oncogene “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Subsequent to this classification, and despite the fact that it was its own study, Monsanto attacked the results and sent it to the EPA along with justifications as to why the tumors in the mice were not significant to the association of glyphosate and cancer. Monsanto also claimed that there was a newly found tumor in the control group of mice that called into question the results.
In response to Monsanto’s questionable tactics and conclusions, the EPA reclassified glyphosate into Category D – “not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity” and requested that Monsanto repeat the study, which Monsanto failed to do. In 1989, the EPA dropped its request for a new study and in 1991 performed a complete inversion from its original findings, dubbing glyphosate Category E – “evidence of non-carcinogenicity to humans.” In their motion, Plaintiffs stated:
No scientist or laboratory free of financial ties to Monsanto has ever affirmed the presence of a tumor in the control group slide of BDN-77-420. Moreover, the only independent scientists to review the pathology disputed the presence of a tumor within the control group. These disparate findings, coupled with changes in tumor classification and technological advances, provide ample reason to believe another review may yield different results.
You can contact John Tomlinson, who is currently investigating other Roundup exposure cases. If you need more information on this subject, contact John at 800-898-2034 or by email at John.Tomlinson@beasleyallen.com.