In 2013, a mothers’ advocacy group reached out to Hugh Grant, then-CEO of Monsanto, urging the company to stop using its weed killer Roundup because studies had linked the active ingredient glyphosate to cancer. The letter also referenced the company’s seeds, which it had genetically modified to resist the effects of glyphosate when crops were doused with the herbicide.

“We Moms know your Mom would be proud of you if you put the health of the nation first and stopped selling GMO seeds and spraying Glyphosate (Roundup) and other harsher pesticides,” the letter from Moms Across America stated.

Monsanto executive Dr. Daniel Goldstein then emailed two outside consultants to express his anger, saying the group was making “a pretty nasty looking set of allegations” for which he had been “arguing for a week to beat the s*** out of them.”

Former University of Illinois professor Bruce Chassy, one of the consultants on the receiving end of that email, supported Goldstein’s desire to attack the group. But the other consultant, Wayne Parrot, a University of Georgia crop scientist, had a different response. “You can’t beat up mothers, even if they are dumb mothers but you can beat up the organic industry,” he responded, erroneously suggesting the industry may have authored the letter.

Two years after that email exchange, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, citing studies involving farmers exposed to glyphosate who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The internal emails surfaced as part of the discovery process for litigation against Bayer, which obtained Monsanto last year. The company faces more than 18,000 lawsuits from people who claim they developed cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, from exposure to glyphosate in Roundup. To date, three trials have taken place, and all three have resulted in multi-million-dollar verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs.

Beasley Allen is taking cases involving non-Hodgkin lymphoma related to the commercial application of Roundup/glyphosate. For more information or to discuss a possible claim, contact John Tomlinson or Rhon Jones.

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