Roundup weed killer: Jury agrees Monsanto chemical contributed to California man's cancer

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A jury in the first federal court trial of thousands of lawsuits by cancer victims against the maker of the world's most widely used herbicide found Tuesday that Monsanto's Roundup was a likely cause of a California man's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Yesterday's ruling at a federal court followed a historic verdict last August in which a California state court ruled that Roundup caused the terminal cancer of Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper.

Johnson was originally awarded $289 million in damages - mostly to punish Monsanto - but a California judge reduced the jury's award to $78 million.

Bayer expressed disappointment with the decision, but maintained that the science confirmed that glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer.

The case was only the second of some 11,200 Roundup lawsuits to go to trial in the United States.

Multiple national and global agencies have identified Roundup's active ingredient, glyphosate, as a probable cause of cancer in humans, including the worldwide Agency for Research on Cancer, which is an arm of the World Health Organization, and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) - The threat to German chemical giant Bayer and subsidiary Monsanto from USA litigation swelled Wednesday, when its share price plunged after a jury ruled weedkiller Roundup was a "substantial factor" in an amateur gardener's cancer.

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The latest verdict was not a finding of Bayer's liability for the cancer of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman. Hardeman's attorneys first had to convince jurors that his use of Roundup was a significant factor in his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"We feel confident. a jury. will see that Monsanto has committed 40 years of corporate malfeasance", a Hardeman attorney says.

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. All three bellwether cases will be split into causation and liability phases.

In the trial's second phase, Hardeman's lawyers will be allowed to present evidence allegedly showing the company's efforts to improperly influence scientists, regulators and the public about the safety of Roundup. "We look forward to presenting this evidence to the jury and holding Monsanto accountable for its bad conduct".

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organisation's cancer agency, concluded that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans".

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

The verdict is the second in the U.S.to find a connection between the herbicide's key ingredient, glyphosate, and the disease.

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