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Crisis of Confidence in Canada’s Pesticide Police

Wednesday, January 30th 2019 10:23:04am







Need for urgent action by Minster of Health is key message to Parliamentarians

(Ottawa) January 30, 2019 - Today, a team of environmental, health and legal experts are on Parliament Hill briefing Canadian Parliamentarians on why Canada needs an independent review of glyphosate.  Each year the equivalent of a dozen or so Olympic swimming pools of this weed killer is used in Canada - that’s about one kilogram of glyphosate for every man, woman and child.

In light of a myriad of unanswered questions about the health effects of glyphosate and how Monsanto (now Bayer) may have manipulated the Canadian pesticide registration process, the experts contend the January 2019 decision by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) “to take no action” cannot be allowed to stand.

Friends of the Earth called on the Minister of Health Ginette Petipas Taylor to immediately investigate and override the recent decision of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency concerning glyphosate and to establish an independent review panel. “It is unacceptable to allow any government agency to be the sole judge of its own actions - let alone one that governs the use of pesticides. It’s like Dracula in charge of the blood bank,” says Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth.

“Apparently, Monsanto has not only polluted Canada’s environment but also our regulatory process” says Olivastri.  “Today’s briefing for Canadian Parliamentarians will reveal the history of scientific interference and collusion by Monsanto personnel with the US regulator, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  On our side of the border, Canada’s PMRA has clearly stated they’ve worked hand-in-glove with US EPA on their re-registration decision of glyphosate, since 2010.”

In 2017, Friends of the Earth and seven other parties filed Notices of Objections Notices of Objections to challenge PMRA’s decision to re-register glyphosate for 15 years until reviewed again UNLESS new and compelling science is presented to prompt a special review, as is now underway with bee-killing neonicotinoids. PMRA say they have already dealt with the “reviews of studies” contained in the Monsanto papers by having their own staff examine work of their colleagues from the 2017 decision to re-register.

Attorneys, Michael Baum and Brent Wisner, who successfully sued Monsanto in the first case of its kind, will tell Canadian Parliamentarians about Monsanto collusion with the US EPA. The success of their case against Monsanto’s weed killer was significantly influenced by these findings. This, by extension, demonstrates the deficiencies of the PMRA review.

In the USA case, not only did the jury find, unanimously, that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused their client Mr. Johnson to develop NHL, they also found that Monsanto failed to warn of this severe health hazard.
Traveling from California, to speak in Ottawa, Michael Baum, an Attorney at Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman observed, “Based on our successful disclosure of Monsanto’s paper trail, the jury also found that Monsanto acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct. This determination should ring warning bells for Canadian Parliamentarians.”

Co-lead trial counsel Brent Wisner says their verdict was certainly aided by the revealed, confidential company documents. “We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents with correspondence to the US EPA proving that Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate and specifically Roundup could cause cancer. We expect Canadian Parliamentarians will want to put consumer safety first over profits and support the call for an independent review of glyphosate in Canada.”

“There is no time to lose,” says Dr. Meg Sears, Ottawa-based Chair of Prevent Cancer Now. “Parliamentarians need to understand that young Canadians are getting sicker, with chronic diseases earlier in life. Beside cancers, glyphosate effects on gut microbes can contribute to bowel, immune, metabolic and neurological conditions that cost society dearly, and the healthcare system billions of dollars.”


For further information, or to schedule interviews, contact:
Beatrice Olivastri, Friends of the Earth tel (613) 724-8690 johnbennett@foecanada.org
Dr. Meg Sears, Prevent Cancer Now tel (613) 297-6042 Meg@PreventCancerNow.ca
Robin McCall, Director of PR & Marketing, Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman tel (310) 207-3233 rmccall@baumhedlundlaw.com

Friends of the Earth Canada is the Canadian member of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network campaigning on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues. FOE has led work in Canada to ban bee-killing neonicotinoids and objects to the 15-year re-registration of the most-widely used pesticide in Canada, glyphosate. 

Prevent Cancer Now is a Canadian civil society organization working to stop cancer before it starts, with strong science, advocacy and education. PCN objected to the glyphosate registration and addresses other pesticides including systemic insecticides. PCN works for least-toxic approaches, from individual actions to national law and policy.

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman litigates cases involving harmful consumer products, commercial transportation accidents, mass torts, class actions, pharmaceutical and medical device products liability, and whistleblower claims. The firm has successfully resolved thousands of cases and recovered more than $1.9 billion on behalf of clients across all areas of practice. The firm has developed a reputation for breaking new ground, holding Fortune 500 companies accountable, influencing public policy, raising public awareness and improving product safety.

Baum Hedlund and other firms that worked on the Johnson case were recognized with the 2019 Trial Team of the Year Award by the National Trial Lawyers Top 100. Brent Wisner was also named one of America’s Most Influential Trial Lawyers by the National Law Journal and one of the Daily Journal’s Top 100 Lawyers in California for his work in Johnson v. Monsanto.