Economy

Jury: Monsanto Roundup weed killer a substantial factor in man's cancer

Jury: Monsanto Roundup weed killer a substantial factor in man's cancer

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.

In the first federal case of what could become thousands of lawsuits, a jury found the world's most widely used herbicide was likely responsible for a California man's cancer, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In August, another California jury awarded Dewayne Lee Johnson, a former groundskeeper who regularly handled Roundup, $289 million in his case against Monsanto.

Another jury reached that conclusion past year and awarded the plaintiff, DeWayne Johnson, $289 million.

However, the German company has denied claims that glyphosate or Roundup causes cancer and said it was disappointed with the jury's decision.

Pharmaceutical group Bayer had strongly rejected claims that its glyphosate-based Roundup product was carcinogenic.

The steep falls came after a second U.S. jury ruled that blockbuster pesticide Roundup - made by recently-acquired Monsanto - causes cancer.

Hardeman's case will now go to the damages phase. Hardeman's attorneys first had to convince jurors that using Roundup was a significant factor in his cancer before they could make arguments for damages.

Monsanto, which has sold Roundup worldwide for more than 40 years, contends that scores of studies show the products are not unsafe if properly used.

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Some legal experts had said Chhabria's decision was beneficial to Bayer, which says decades of studies and regulatory evaluations have shown the weed killer to be safe for human use.

The jury will return on Wednesday to decide if Monsanto shall award Hardeman damage payments, and if so, how much.

Chhabria has scheduled another bellwether trial for May and a third trial is likely to take place this year.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions.

During that phase, Hardeman's lawyers can present evidence allegedly showing the company's efforts to influence scientists, regulators and the public about the safety of its products, which they were not allowed to in the initial phase.

The herbicide came under increasing scrutiny after the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified it as a "probable human carcinogen" in 2015. "We look forward to presenting this evidence to the jury and holding Monsanto accountable for its bad conduct".

Germany's Bayer, which bought Monsanto a year ago, filed an appeal.

Michael Baum, an attorney who represented Johnson, told Buzzfeed that the jury's verdict in the Hardeman case is "a huge win for all Roundup-induced National Hockey League claimants and a devastating loss for Bayer/Monsanto".

Hardeman's case was a so-called bellwether trial meant to help determine the range of damages and define settlement options for the more than 760 Roundup cases consolidated in the federal court in San Francisco.