Friday, 17 August, 2018

First trial over Roundup weed killer cancer claim under way

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson listens as attorney Brent Wisner speaks about his condition during the Monsanto trial in San Francisco California on July 09 2018. — AFP pic US courts to hear cases that weed-killer sold in UK causes cancer
Anna Jefferson | 14 July, 2018, 00:35

Lawyers for a school groundskeeper dying of cancer asked a San Francisco jury on Monday to find that agribusiness giant Monsanto's widely used weed killer Roundup likely caused his disease.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said Tuesday that plaintiffs could present expert testimony linking the product to the cancer, the Associated Press reported.

A federal judge in Sacramento in February blocked California from requiring that Roundup carry a label stating that it is known to cause cancer, saying the warning is misleading because nearly all regulators have concluded that there is no evidence glyphosate is carcinogenic.

Before issuing his ruling, Chhabria spent a week in March hearing dueling testimony from epidemiologists.

Lawsuits by more than 400 farmers, landscapers and consumers who claim Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a type of blood cell cancer, have been combined before Chhabria.

The outcome of Johnson's case will not affect the hundreds of other lawsuits in state and federal courts, but it may serve as an indicator of how the others might go.

"The scientific evidence is overwhelming that Glyphosate-based products do not cause cancer and did not cause Mr. Johnson's cancer", said Monsanto's defense attorney, George Lombardi.

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Partridge added in his statement to NPR, "We have sympathy for anyone suffering from cancer, but the science clearly shows that glyphosate was not the cause".

California already considers the Roundup's active ingredient, glyphosate, to be a carcinogen, as does the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Former groundskeepers Dewayne Lee Johnson filed the lawsuit in 2016 after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In his ruling Tuesday, the judge said Ritz and Mucci could both testify before a jury.

The Monsanto brand may disappear soon, but claims that its most famous weed killer causes cancer will live on for years in court.

Roundup, made by USA giant Monsanto, is sprayed on gardens and parks and is used by farmers producing food crops.

Monsanto also pointed to sections of the opinion that questioned the plaintiffs' evidence. "Here, although there is no need to specify precisely the circumstances under which each plaintiff was exposed to glyphosate, only evidence supporting the conclusion that glyphosate causes National Hockey League in doses within the realistic realm of actual human exposure can get the plaintiffs past summary judgment".

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