Roundup weed killer 'major factor in man's cancer'

Roman Schwartz
March 20, 2019

Bayer AG bought Monsanto a year ago for $63 billion and is now liable for claims against it.

"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".

Jurors had been asked to decide whether the ingredient glyphosate - the world's most widely-used herbicide that has always been linked to cancer by environmentalists - was a "substantial factor" in the man's condition.

A jury in federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday concluded that Roundup weed killer was a substantial factor in a California man's cancer.

Unlike the US Environmental Protection Agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer - which is part of the World Health Organization - has listed glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic".

"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms that glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer", Bayer said in a press release.

Meanwhile, Bayer CEO Baumann who came to Singapore in Jan this year to meet up with Temasek has assured that his company would put up a more "rigorous defence" of the chemical glyphosate used in Monsanto's weed killer in the impending lawsuits.

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Since Bayer's subsidiary, Monsanto, lost in last Aug's trial, investors have been viewing Bayer shares as high-risk stocks which they don't want to include in their portfolios.

That award was later reduced to $78m and is on appeal. Legal experts said a jury verdict in favour of Hardeman and the other test plaintiffs would give their attorneys a strong bargaining position in any settlement talks for the remaining cases before Chhabria.

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said Tuesday's decision showed that the August jury verdict was not an aberration and that the Hardeman case could be an indication of what may happen in future similar cases. It's set to appear in six more trials in federal and state courts this year.

Monsanto developed glyphosate in the 1970s, and the weed killer is now sold in more than 160 countries and widely used in the U.S.

"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup", they added.

It was reported in April past year that Bayer sold 3.6 per cent stake to Temasek for 3 billion euros at 96.77 euros per share.

Chhabria is overseeing more than 760 Roundup cases for which Hardeman's was a so-called bellwether trial meant to help determine the range of damages and define settlement options for the others. However, that was not the case for another California farmer, 46-year-old DeWayne Johnson, who testified last summer that his terminal cancer, also non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had been caused by decades of use of Roundup at his work as a groundskeeper, Sputnik reported.

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