For this week’s book review: Toxic Exposure: The True Story Behind the Monsanto Trials and the Search for Justice
by Chadi Nabhan
If you see a theme emerging from the types of books I read, it is true, there is one. I spend a lot of time reading about environmental chemicals, health, and disease. Glyphosate is one of the chemicals I have spent years investigating. Unlike last week’s book that detailed the biological mechanisms altered by this agro-chemical, this week’s book presents an entirely different perspective. It is a first hand account of the legal proceedings against Monsanto, the makers of the glyphosate herbicide, Roundup*, written by the oncologist called upon to testify for the plaintiffs.
Prior to being asked to testify, the author was a professor in the division of hematology and oncology, the director of cancer clinics and a medical director for the international program at the University of Chicago. When asked to review the initial case that led to the landmark jury award against Monsanto, Dr. Chadi Nabhan was hesitant. While an expert in blood cancers, he was not familiar with research linking the consumer herbicide to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or really, that there was even a connection between glyphosate and cancer. This speaks to how detached medicine and academia have become from the environmental contributors to diseases like cancer. To his credit though, he dug into the research and quickly realized how deep the connection was. Even so, this was a huge case with lots of risk to him and his career. It was a big decision. Ultimately, albeit somewhat reluctantly at first, he agreed to review the patient files and eventually testify. To say his foray into this type of case was bumpy would be an understatement though. The opposing lawyers were brutal and remained so at each juncture and with each case. He quickly gained his footing, however, and in the end, was instrumental in the plaintiff’s success in the first three cases against Monsanto.
The book reads in part like a diary, a first person recollection of events, and in part like a John Grisham novel with all of the intrigue and excitement one would expect. He takes us through the evidence linking glyphosate to cancer and eloquently portrays the human cost of those products. He also takes us through each phase of each case, from deposition to trial. He recounts the questions, the examinations and cross-examinations and the discussions pre and post trial amongst himself and the other players. We are with him as he navigates his position in these historical cases.
Toxic Exposure is a compelling read and an excellent resource for those of us interested in the broader context of corporate influence. I think it would make a great movie. In the meantime, it is a fantastic read. I thoroughly recommend it. If you purchase it through the link below, I get a few dollars that help support this website. Enjoy.
A behind-the-scenes look inside three key trials involving Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, cancer, and the search for justice―written by an expert witness medical oncologist who lived it all.
Last updated on October 21, 2023 at 9:38 pm – Image source: Amazon Affiliate Program. All statements without guarantee.
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*Monsanto was purchased by Bayer in 2018 and the lawsuits continue.