Costco stops selling controversial Roundup weedkiller

Monsanto just lost a major court battle to a man who said he developed cancer after using Roundup.

  • Monsanto was just ordered to pay $80 million to a man who said he developed cancer as a result of using the company's weedkiller Roundup.
  • Roundup contains the chemical glyphosate, which the World Health Organization described in 2015 as a "probable carcinogen."
  • Costco will reportedly stop selling Roundup, and a petition is currently calling on other big retailers to do the same.

A federal jury awarded a California man $80 million on Wednesday after finding that Roundup, a Monsanto-made weedkiller, played a role in causing his cancer. It was a major blow for Monsanto, which faces thousands of lawsuits from non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients who used Roundup and later developed cancer. It's the second time a jury has issued a multimillion-dollar verdict against Monsanto in a Roundup-related case.

Now, Costco has reportedly decided to begin to stop selling the popular weedkiller, which contains glyphosate — an herbicide which the World Health Organization described in 2015 as a probable carcinogen. Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt, whose petition calling for Costco to stop selling Roundup has more than 150,000 signatures on Change.org, wrote on her website:

"I called the headquarters, and after two days of messages and calls, I did finally confirm with three people that Costco was not ordering Roundup or any glyphosate-based herbicides for the incoming spring shipments."

Costco has yet to issue an official statement on the petition. However, in conversations with the administrative staff at various stores, Big Think has learned that the product was pulled off the floor this week per corporate orders — meaning, Costco's removal of Roundup applies to "all locations."

Meanwhile, Moms Across America has another petition on Change.org calling on Home Depot and Lowe's to pull the product from their shelves:

"We call on Home Depot and Lowe's today to step up as Costco has to protect us, your customers, and stop selling Roundup (and all glyphosate herbicides) now, due to its carcinogenic effects and lack of labeling," the petition reads. "Everyone deserves to know! These products should not be sold to the public!"

But in the wake of Wednesday's verdict, Bayer, the pharmaceutical giant that owns Monsanto, maintains that glyphosate is safe and plans to "vigorously defend" its product and appeal Wednesday's verdict, according to Bloomberg. Both farmers and ordinary consumers use Roundup. If only residential consumers stop using the weedkiller, it likely won't have a big impact on the company's bottom line.

"That's a small fraction of the legacy Monsanto business, so that won't have a significant impact on the results," chemicals analyst Christopher Perrella told Bloomberg. "But it certainly is having a big impact on the market cap of Bayer."

However, it's not immediately clear how much Monsanto would lose if big retailers such as Costco continue to stop buying Roundup. Currently, the signature asking for Lowe's and Home Depot to drop the product has about 90,000 signatures.

Should you defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis?

Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
  • In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Porn arouses women and men in same neuronal way, review finds

The results contradict the popular assumption that men react far more strongly to pornography.

Pixabay
Sex & Relationships
  • The review examined the results of 61 brain-scanning studies that involved 1,850 people.
  • The results of the review found no significant differences in how male and female brains respond to viewing visual erotic stimuli.
  • Still, one of the researchers noted that there are sex-specific differences in sexual behavior.
Keep reading Show less

NASA releases stunning image of ISS crossing in front of the sun

Strangely, the sun showed no sunspots at the time the photo was taken.

Image source: Rainee Colacurcio
Surprising Science
  • The photo shows the International Space Station as it orbits the Earth, as it does every 90 minutes.
  • The photo is remarkable because it offers a glimpse of the star at a time when there were no sunspots.
  • In November, astronauts aboard the ISS plan to grow Española chili pepper plants.
Keep reading Show less

Belly fat: Gut bacteria checks could lead to personalized diets

The reason one diet does not suit all may be found in our guts.

Media for Medical / Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • New research shows that there's no one diet that works for everyone.
  • Instead, gut bacteria may hold the key to personalized diet plans.
  • A future doctor may check gut bacteria to offer diet advice.
Keep reading Show less