When new products get developed by big companies and researchers, the government must carefully balance the potential benefits of those products with the risks that they pose for consumers. Unfortunately, in some situations, companies have more control over the approval process for new products than they potentially should.
After all, a company that has invested tens of thousands or even millions of dollars in the process of developing a new product likely doesn’t relish the idea of losing all that money because the product cannot go to market. Those same companies may finance research into the safety of the products they hope to release.
The end result may be unsafe products coming to market that put consumers at risk for all sorts of issues, from injuries due to mechanical defects to illnesses caused by chemicals. Companies will then use their self-funded research to push back against any claims for compensation that result from their products. Currently, Monsanto, an international chemical company, is a prime example of this issue.
Monsanto continues to claim that Roundup is safe
One of the products that helped set Monsanto apart as a leader in the chemical industry was Roundup, commonly known by the chemical name glyphosate. This compound is a particularly strong herbicide, which can kill all kinds of unwanted plants and weeds.
Monsanto has since developed Roundup-resistant strains of major crops, allowing farmers to spray indiscriminately without fear of destroying their harvest. Unfortunately, glyphosate is not as safe as Monsanto would like people to believe. The state of California has decided to list it as a potentially dangerous chemical. There are many cases of people becoming ill after prolonged exposure to Roundup.
Despite evidence to the contrary, Monsanto officials continue to insist that the spray is, in fact, safe for humans. It has refused to label the product as potentially dangerous, which is one of the reasons a man in California was able to bring a successful lawsuit against the company.
Monsanto will appeal their court loss
A jury in California found that glyphosate was directly linked to a groundskeeper’s development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They awarded him $289 million in damages. Monsanto, for their part, has continued to insist that Roundup is safe for human use. Instead of choosing to label their products and pay the plaintiff, they want to appeal.
The courts in California have already denied Monsanto’s request for an appeal, so the company is taking the issue to the federal appeals court. The company wants the overall verdict tossed out, as well as the award of damages. This lawsuit was groundbreaking, in no small part because it is the first case to link Roundup with human cancer. It is likely that it will pave the way for more lawsuits of a similar nature in the future.