Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Biotech giant Bayer pushing House Republicans to help it fight lawsuits linking Roundup to cancer

Bayer, a giant in the biotech industry, has been lobbying Congress to help shape a provision that could aid in the corporation's battle with lawsuits that tie its weed-killer Roundup to cancer.

The provision in the House's sweeping agricultural bill, according to a story by Tony Romm in last week's editions of The Washington Post, was drafted by Republicans with Bayer's help. Critics say it would undo nationwide pesticide protections.

Romm's piece says the farm bill "threatens to make it harder for farmers and groundskeepers to argue that they were not fully informed about some health and safety risks posed by the popular herbicide."

The focus is on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, which plaintiffs in thousands of cases have claimed regular exposure to which "could cause them to develop debilitating or deadly diseases, such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."

Although Bayer, a German firm that acquired Roundup in 2018 as part of its purchase of Monsanto, has agreed to pay $10 billon in a landmark settlement that ended thousands of claims in  2020 without any admission of wrongdoing, it still faces nearly 60,000 additional claims.

Daniel Savery
The Post story quotes Daniel Savery, a senior legislative representative for Earthjustice, a climate advocacy group, as saying Bayer has been losing so it's "coming to Congress with hat in hand trying to change the law."

Currently, the article continues, "the Environmental Protection Agency does not treat the underlying chemical in Roundup as a carcinogen. While the agency plans to reevaluate its stance on glyphosate in 2026, its views are at odds with some global health experts, including the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, which identified glyphosate as 'probably carcinogenic' in 2015."

Bayer apparently has spent about $9.6 million to lobby federal policymakers on the legislation and other issues since the start of 2023.

More information about Monsanto and Bayer's legal woes can be found in Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer, a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male  caregivers.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Celebrants need to pay attention to Nancy Fox's legacy and spirit, her creativity and kindness

The two big celebrations of Nancy Fox's life are done — the warm 'n' fuzzy in-person open house at her daughter's Novato home and the successful Zoom session that drew friends from all over the country (and Portugal), only a few of whom were digitally-challenged.

Now the task for celebrants is to pay attention every day to the fact that Nancy Fox's spirit and legacy will always be here.

She made it easy to remember her creativity, her humor, her intelligence, her musical genius, her lighthearted snarkiness, her kindness, her inner and outer beauty, and the countless anecdotes that illustrate each of those attributes. 

Her physical form will be missed every minute, but if we let it, her soul can envelop each of us and help mold us into a better, more giving person.

Sorry about that gushiness, sweetie, but you deserve it. You epitomize what everyone dreams they'd want in a partner, mom, grandmother, daughter, friend, and neighbor.    

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Upbeat Zoom tribute to Nancy Fox's life set for this Sunday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Pacific time.

The second celebration of Nancy Fox's life will take place this Sunday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Pacific time, 7 to 8:30 Eastern, via Zoom. 

Nancy and Woody in Montreal
The format will be loose, with whomever wants to talk or do music doing just that, but with no speaking over another participant.

I'd prefer, as I did with the first celebration, that Nancy's life be the focus, not her death.

The link to get on will be:
Meeting ID: 997 614 7615
Passcode: 694840

The successful in-person, open-house celebration at the Novato home of Laura Schifrin, Nancy's daughter, last Sunday drew 60-plus loving friends — and Kevin, the wild turkey who apparently insisted on personally greeting each guest. Hannah Schifrin, our granddaughter, continuously corralled the big pecker and directed traffic.

Laura and her partner, Adam Fox (no relation to Nance), spent four days preparing their home and the food to be served at the tribute to my partner of 36 years. 

Charlie Hickox schlepped his keyboard from Fairfax so he could play throughout the event (including a medley of Nancy's favorite tunes).

As for me, I reveled in receiving more hugs in one day than ever before — as well as the sensation that my recently departed spouse's spirit was present the entire time. She'll undoubtedly be there this Sunday as well.