Advertising company faces lawsuits for promoting Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate) weed killer as safe
04/04/2017 // Vicki Batts // Views

Osborn & Barr, a St. Louis, Missouri-based advertising firm, is reportedly facing over 130 lawsuits thanks to their ties to Monsanto, and the numerous cases of cancer associated with the corporate giant's best-selling weedkiller, Roundup. Monsanto is a former client of Osborn & Barr, and the plaintiffs' filing alleges that their deceptive marketing practices promoted Roundup as a product that bore "no unreasonable risks to human health or the environment," and that the firm pushed this mantra for approximately 20 years.

The lawsuits were filed in mid-March at the 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis against Creve Coeur-based Monsanto, and Osborn & Barr was named as a co-defendant thanks to their role in the promotion of the glyphosate-based herbicide. As St. Louis Today explains, existing laws primarily focus on holding Monsanto, the toxic chemical's manufacturer, responsible for cancer and other adverse effects caused by their product. Including the advertising agency that helped make Roundup the prolific herbicide that it has become is a new approach in legal battles -- one that could leave a lasting impact.

Environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is working on the case along with Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, a Los Angeles-based law office. RFK Jr has made headlines recently for his role in promoting awareness of vaccine safety concerns. He told St. Louis Today that Osborn & Barr's marketing was essential to the marketing of glyphosate, and that, "There was no way for our clients to understand the risk they were taking because of the deception of Monsanto and Osborn & Barr."


Unsurprisingly, Monsanto has refuted the claim that glyphosate is carcinogenic. The lawsuit also alleges that the herbicidal chemical is linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a disease that many of the 136 plaintiffs have been diagnosed with. In 2014, the Environmental Working Group reported on a study that showed exposure to glyphosate doubled the risk of lymphoma. This finding no doubt supports the experiences of those pressing charges against Monsanto. (RELATED: Learn more about Roundup's harmful effects at

Monsanto has spent a lot of time (and probably money) to do their best to obfuscate the facts on glyphosate -- and it recently came to light that the biotech firm had been colluding with the EPA to protect their precious product from the burden of being a recognized carcinogen.

The filing by the plaintiffs also alleges that Osborn & Barr promoted Roundup as being "safer than table salt" and "practically nontoxic" in ads that were actually banned in the state of New York during the 1990s for their misleading claims. Monsanto has refuted these claims as well. Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy told St. Louis Today that the plaintiffs were only targeting Osborn & Barr because their lawyers were having trouble "confronting the 800 studies and the monumental evidence that demonstrates that glyphosate does not cause cancer." But how many of those studies were conducted or otherwise manipulated by Monsanto or other members of the industry?

As a letter from the now-deceased EPA scientist Marion Copley has revealed, Monsanto seems to have a pretty good grip on regulatory officials, and may have even "helped" write the science on glyphosate. Can these so-called studies that Partridge referenced even be trusted? It seems doubtful.

Over 700 claims of cancer in relation to Monsanto's herbicide have been filed in both state and federal courts. RFK Jr reportedly estimates that the number of claims could reach 3,000 over the next few months. The state of California also recently ruled against Monsanto and declared that the company would be required to label Roundup as a possible carcinogen, in accordance with the state's Proposition 65 legislation.

As the claims of cancer and other ill effects continue to pile up,  along with the evidence of their collusion with a federal agency, it looks like Monsanto will soon have nowhere to hide.


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