Jury finds Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer major factor in California man’s cancer

The controversial chemical in Roundup is glyphosate

"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found previous year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people", said Cook.

A USA jury has found Bayer AG's glyphosate-based weed killer caused a man's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in a bellwether trial that may help determine the course of hundreds of similar cases.

The decision in Edwin Hardeman's case is a landmark verdict that could impact hundreds of other similar lawsuits, according to The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom.

In a statement Tuesday, the company said it is disappointed with the jury's decision "but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer".

During the trial, the 70-year-old testified that he had use the weed killer for a long period of time and at one time got it on his skin before he was diagnosed with cancer.

Evidence is nearly certain to resurface that Monsanto ghostwrote scientific literature and influenced regulators to claim that Roundup is safe.

In August, another California jury awarded Dewayne Lee Johnson, a former groundskeeper who regularly handled Roundup, $289 million in his case against Monsanto. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and that the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer", the company said.

Bayer, which acquired Monsanto past year, said in a statement after the verdict that it continues to "believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer".

Bayer saw its share price drop by more than 10 percent when trading Frankfurt opened on Wednesday.

In the first phase of Edward Hardeman v. Monsanto Company, the jury sided with arguments and scientific evidence presented by the attorneys for Edward Hardeman that glyphosate was the cause of his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also says glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans.

In some areas of Argentina, which uses large quantities of glyphosate for its vast soybean crops, there are nearly daily clashes between concerned residents and farmers for whom the product is indispensible.

In the next phase of the case, the jury will consider liability and damages, The Guardianreported.

The ruling is a blow to Bayer, whose subsidiary Monsanto makes the herbicide.

Bayer, which closed on the purchase of Monsanto last summer, faces more than 11,000 USA lawsuits alleging that glyphosate causes cancer.

The verdict will "likely result in a flood of cases filed quickly" against Bayer, and "may expedite the ultimate settlement" of the Roundup claims, Anna Pavlik, senior counsel for special situations at United First Partners LLC in NY, said in an email. It's set to appear in six more trials in federal and state courts this year.

Under Chhabria's order, the second phase would only take place if the jury found Roundup to be a substantial factor in causing Hardeman's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Bayer probably assumed settlements of as much as 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion) when assessing the purchase, said Markus Manns, a fund manager at Union Investment, one of Bayer's top 15 shareholders, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency released an assessment in 2017 that concluded that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.

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