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GLYPHOSATE LITIGATION NET WIDENS

In May 2019 in Oakland California a jury awarded a couple $2 billion in damages after finding that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup caused the couple’s cancer, and that the company had failed to issue adequate warnings. Both had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after extensive use of the weedkiller at their California property. The finding will be appealed to bring the award back within judicial guidelines, but it is one of a growing series of similar cases.

In March 2019 a jury in San Francisco CA awarded $80 million to another man who claimed that his non-Hodgkins Lymphoma was caused by Roundup.

In August 2018 a state court in San Fransisco awarded $289 million to a school groundsman in damages for cancer allegedly caused by the weedkiller. This was reduced to $78 million on appeal, a judgement that is itself subject to appeal.

Monsanto continues to defend the safety of its product, the cases brought against it, and appeals against all the verdicts going against the company. But the company must be  gearing up for lengthy battles as the suits pile up – there were estimated to be about 13,400 further lawsuits in the pipeline at the last count, with the next ones due to start hearings in St Louis, MO in August and September 2019.  Meanwhile newspaper and TV advertisements in the USA in June and July 2019 urged people diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which they thought could be linked to weedkiller use to come forward and bring lawsuits against the manufacturers.

The US Environmental Protection Agency issued an interim review in April 2019 stating that glyphosate, properly used, posed no risks to human health and was not a carcinogen. Many ranchers and farmers in the US, as large scale users of the chemical over time, would express a similar view, often more pithily. Similar findings to the US EPA’s have been made by the European Chemicals Agency and other regulators, but many of the current cases will be based on a 2015 finding by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer which held “glyphosate probably carcinogenic to humans”.

The question is therefore whether resolution of this issue has moved out of control by national regulators, and into the arena of what the public, or in this case juries in the US, will believe and accept.

For further information please contact William Wilson, Barrister-Director, Wyeside Consulting on info@wyesideconsulting.com, tel +44(0)1225-740-407