Christine Sheppard’s story starts simple enough: a 67-year-old living a humble life, enjoying many hobbies, including tending to her coffee farm.
But amid this passion was a sinister force manifesting without her knowledge—until many years later when she’d developed a very serious cancer.
The cause of her illness? According to a new lawsuit, it was the Roundup she used on the farm, including one of its key ingredients: glyphosate.
“I found out something was wrong because my right leg swelled up enormously,” said Christine, “They did an ultrasound and found I was completely full of these lymph nodes. It was stage IV large-cell lymphoma.”
Her prognosis is grim: thing will likely get “progressively worse. There’s no cure. Eventually, I will probably end up fairly immobilized.”
And Christine is not alone: more than 800 other cancer patients are suing Monsanto, the company behind Roundup, alleging that the product made them ill.
Monsanto, however, is sticking strong to their story: Roundup does not cause cancer, and they even reference an EPA report concluding the pesticide is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
According to Charla Lord, a spokesperson for the company:
Although citing an official government agency report might seem to spare Monsanto of further scrutiny, a series of damning emails—internal communications—reveal the company may have colluded to downplay the potential links to cancer.
It began with a pending report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that would study any potential links between Roundup and cancer.
However, court documents show that a month before the report’s release, one executive for Monsanto, William F. Heydens, emailed their in-house toxicologist Donna Farmer to suggest that maybe some portions of their “overall plausibility paper” be ghostwritten.
“If we went full-bore (with experts), we could be pushing $250k or maybe even more,” wrote Heydens in the email.
Instead, he suggested a “less expensive/more palatable approach” to only use experts for parts of the report that were less contentious.
“Recall that is how we handled Williams Kroes Munro, 2000,” he added.
However, Monsanto denies the allegations, claiming the email was not in proper context:
As for Christine Sheppard, she’s doing the best she can to move forward while the supposedly toxic affects of Roundup worsen with time.
“My immune system doesn’t allow me to travel much,” she said, “If I get sick, I get sick for a long, long time.”
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