A message from ScottsMiracle-Gro on glyphosate

Originally posted August 11, 2018

To gardeners everywhere,

Our company celebrated its 150th anniversary in the same town where we were founded. We have succeeded for these multiple generations for a very simple reason: consumers trust us to provide them high quality products that help them create an outdoor space that is reflective of their lifestyle and personality. Most importantly, they trust that these products are safe to use as directed around people, pets and the environment.

Many of you may know that a California jury awarded a multi-million dollar verdict to a cancer patient in 2018 who alleged that his illness resulted from his use of a glyphosate-containing weed killer, which he used to control weeds during his years working as a school groundskeeper. Today, litigation is pending in several jurisdictions. The glyphosate conversation is certainly active and evolving. Because our company owns and also distributes products that contain glyphosate (we have served as the marketing agent for Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® product since 1998), we have been monitoring these issues closely and feel it is important to share our perspective with you.

For the record, it’s important to say that the jury’s verdict is inconsistent with our company’s understanding of the scientific record and governmental determinations regarding glyphosate-containing products. Based on these facts, we believe glyphosate is safe when used as directed. I also know that many would expect us to say that. That’s why it’s so important that we say more and that we help you understand how we arrive at this conclusion.

We take pride in the stewardship programs we’ve established to regularly—and rigorously—evaluate the safety of our products. So, when claims that glyphosate products could cause cancer began to surface recently, we took them seriously. At our request, we met with leaders from Monsanto, the owner of the Roundup brand, and they re-affirmed their evaluation of the product’s safety. But we didn’t stop there. Our own R&D and Regulatory teams, as well as outside experts, were tasked to review the body of literature on glyphosate, which includes regulatory determinations around the world and hundreds of studies regarding glyphosate’s safety. It was the combination of these efforts that reinforced our company’s confidence in the weight of the science that glyphosate does not cause cancer. We are committed to continuing to evaluate our products and act as good stewards all of our products so we can make sound decisions.

It’s natural that the jury verdict caused concern for some of our consumers. It’s also natural that some would want more information about this issue. For our part, we are reviewing the evidence from the California trial for any new information that could be relevant to our view on the safety of glyphosate products. And I encourage you to read the materials that are accessible. (Read Glyphosate Answers) Here you will find answers to commonly asked questions as well as links to the findings and commentary from third parties and regulatory bodies around the world about the safety profile of glyphosate. You will also find the copy of the report from an organization known as IARC that finds glyphosate is a “probable” human carcinogen. While we disagree with this finding based on the weight of the scientific record to the contrary, we believe that a responsible company would provide you access to that information so that you can make your own determination.

Our success as a company depends on providing consumers products that are effective and can be used around our homes our families and our pets. And our reputation depends on doing the right thing on their behalf – always.  I am confident that we are living up to that commitment. I also know that we can improve. We are always exploring ways to better inform consumers on the ingredients that go into our products, the safety profile of our products, and to our overall commitment to product and environmental stewardship.

Thanks for your continued support of ScottsMiracle-Gro.

Jim Hagedorn

On March 19, 2019 a U.S. District Court jury in San Francisco determined that Roundup was a "substantial factor" in causing the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of Mr. Edwin Hardeman. Below is the response of Scotts Miracle-Gro:

"We are saddened by Mr. Hardeman’s illness and the challenges that he and his family are facing. While our understanding of the weight of the science and regulatory findings regarding Roundup and glyphosate supports its safety when used as directed, we cannot ignore the fact that a second jury has now agreed with a person’s claim that his cancer was caused by Roundup or glyphosate. As we did with the first trial, we will carefully review the trial evidence in the weeks ahead and will keep our stakeholders apprised when our review is complete or as events unfold."