Jury begins deliberations in Roundup trial phase 2

Edwin Hardeman was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after using weedkiller Roundup for 25 years
Edwin Hardeman was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after using weedkiller Roundup for 25 years

"Monsanto knew" its weedkiller Roundup was carcinogenic yet sold it anyway, the lawyer for an American retiree said on the last day of a trial to determine the agriculture giant's culpability for his cancer.

The company's attorney meanwhile denied the allegations and accused Monsanto's critics of concocting a conspiracy, as arguments drew to a close and the jury began its deliberations midday on Tuesday.

The same San Francisco jury previously found that a quarter century exposure to Roundup, whose principal ingredient is controversial chemical glyphosate, was a "substantial factor" in giving 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

In phase two of the trial, they must determine whether Monsanto is liable and if so, assess damages.

"This company for the last 40 years manipulated science, manipulated ," Hardeman's lawyer Jennifer Moore said.

Despite numerous studies, "they kept selling Roundup and making money off it because that's the bottom line for Monsanto," she added of the company, which was bought last year by Germany's Bayer.

"Nothing has stopped this company... your job is to say 'No more, it stops today,'" she urged the jurors.

The charges were denied by Monsanto's lawyer Brian Stekloff, who said of Hardeman's team: "They're asking to believe that those employees at Monsanto wake up in the morning eat breakfast with their family, drive to Monsanto in St Louis every day and say, 'Guess what, we're going to go into a conspiracy to cause cancer!'"

He insisted Monsanto had "acted reasonably, based on the science" and performed extensive testing over 40 years on Roundup.

Stekloff denied Monsanto had ignored, manipulated or hidden studies that countered its findings, as had been alleged over the course of the trial.

And he underscored that between 1970 and 2012, the years in which Hardeman used the weedkiller, "no , no health organizations" said Roundup caused cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified glyphosate as a "probable carcinogen" in 2015.

But other major agencies like the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) or the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have not followed suit.

The stakes are high for Bayer, which bought Monsanto for $63 billion but could face giant compensation bills toward the plaintiff and also .

Beyond this trial, Bayer faces some 11,200 similar cases in the US alone.

"This case will encourage... other potential plaintiffs and their counsel to sue," Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond told AFP, adding: "If Bayer loses this trial and a few more, it will need to seriously consider settlement."

In August, Monsanto lost a case to a school groundskeeper suffering from terminal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, who had sued the company over the glyphosate weedkillers Roundup and Ranger Pro.

Monsanto was initially ordered to pay $289 million to Johnson, before the damages were reduced to $78.5 million

Bayer has filed an appeal.


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Monsanto's responsibility at the center of Roundup trial phase 2

© 2019 AFP

Citation: Jury begins deliberations in Roundup trial phase 2 (2019, March 27) retrieved 21 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-jury-deliberations-roundup-trial-phase.html
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Mar 27, 2019
Do I trust Monsanto to do the right thing? No.
Do I think RoundUp is good for you? No, anything designed to kill stuff is not usually good for you. The question is one of degree.
Do I trust the courts to understand the issues and get the science and medicine right? No.

This is a classic example of legislating from the bench by people unqualified to make a decision. This is exactly why most of us are disgusted with the legal profession. I would rather see these ideas debated in public and in legislature --at least then we get to discuss these issues among a wider audience.

Mar 27, 2019
The antibiotic Metronidazole is mildly carcinogenic
x-rays are carcinogenic
some parts of petrol can be carcinogens.
Its a question of disclosure and exposure. Which comes down to courts forcing Monsanto to pay up.
Science must publish the truth via the press as Monsanto's lawyers certainly wont.

Mar 28, 2019
Monsanto knew" its weedkiller Roundup was carcinogenic yet sold it anyway

Demonstrably false. Glyphosate (Roundup) has been the most important herbicide in the world for decades and has been studied numerous times by scientists around the world. So far no study has shown it to be cancerous except one poorly-designed one that has been discredited. It used a specifically-bred strain of mice that is extremely susceptible to cancers which are triggered by all kinds of factors and weren't compared to a control group. Simply put, there is no credible scientific evidence that Roundup causes cancer.

Mar 28, 2019
It's over. He got court costs and medical costs and enough to live on.

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