|RT | Mar 19, 2019|
|© Reuters / Mike Blake|
In a landmark verdict that could affect numerous other cases, a federal jury in San Francisco found Roundup herbicide to be a significant contributing factor in causing the cancer of a man from Santa Rosa, California. During the trial, 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman alleged that his decades-long exposure to the Monsanto product had led him to develop a cancer that affects the immune system, called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).
The trial will now proceed to the next phase where the jury is set to determine the liability and damages in the case.
Tuesday's ruling follows another pivotal verdict against Monsanto in August, where the jury awarded terminal cancer patient Dewayne Johnson a staggering $289 million in damages after ruling that the biotechnology corporation failed to properly warn users of Roundup’s health hazards.
Across the US alone, the German pharmaceutical company Bayer, which purchased Monsanto last year, is potentially facing thousands of similar lawsuits involving Roundup weed killer.
“Monsanto has placed an unsafe product on the market, has manipulated the science and manipulated public opinion and has consistently misled people into believing Roundup is safe,” Jennifer Moore, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, said before the verdict, after the defense team claimed at the trial that the company had “bullied” researchers to suppress negative studies about the weed killer.
The Bayer legal team representing Monsanto for its part continues to argue that Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate does not cause cancer and that it is safe to use. It also notes that regulators around the world have approved the product.
The German firm found the unanimous ruling from the six-member jury disappointing. “We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer,” the company said.
Not everyone agrees with Monsanto/Bayer AG’s assessment. “Today’s verdict reinforces ...what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people,” said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook. “As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up.”