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Costco stops selling controversial Roundup weedkiller

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

Flickr via Mike Mozart
  • 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.

Remote learning vs. online instruction: How COVID-19 woke America up to the difference

Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.

Credit: Shutterstock
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
  • Education institutions must properly define and understand the difference between a course that is designed from inception to be taught in an online format and a course that has been rapidly converted to be offered to remote students.
  • In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
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Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

Jupiter's moon Europa has a huge ocean beneath its sheets of ice.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
Surprising Science
  • A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
  • Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
  • The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
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Jordan Klepper: Comedians vs. the apocalypse

Watch The Daily Show comedian Jordan Klepper and elite improviser Bob Kulhan live.

Big Think LIVE

These days, if you don't laugh, you might just scream. Enter comedian and The Daily Show regular Jordan Klepper!

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What is counterfactual thinking?

Can thinking about the past really help us create a better present and future?

Jacob Lund / Shutterstock
Personal Growth
  • There are two types of counterfactual thinking: upward and downward.
  • Both upward and downward counterfactual thinking can be positive impacts on your current outlook - however, upward counterfactual thinking has been linked with depression.
  • While counterfactual thinking is a very normal and natural process, experts suggest the best course is to focus on the present and future and allow counterfactual thinking to act as a motivator when possible.
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Anti-vax disinformation spreads unchecked on Facebook

Despite fact check campaigns, anti-vaccination influence is growing.

Police officers speak to an anti-lockdown and vaccine protester during a demonstration against the coronavirus lockdown at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park on May 30, 2020 in London, England.

Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite announcing plans to combat disinformation, anti-vax groups continue to gain influence on Facebook.
  • An analysis of over 1,300 Facebook pages with 100 million followers shows that anti-vaccination agendas are having a profound impact.
  • Only 50 percent of Americans are certain they'll receive an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
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