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Glyphosate and cancer: Bayer arraigned

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

Spraying pesticides © Pixabay/hpgruesen
The field poison glyphosate is suspected of causing lymph gland cancer. © Pixabay/hpgruesen

The class action lawsuit filed by 450 cancer patients blaming the manufacturer Monsanto and its glyphosate-containing pesticide Roundup for their disease has taken a decisive hurdle. A federal judge in San Francisco declared the evidence provided by the plaintiffs to be sufficiently substantial to continue the trial. The manufacturer Monsanto, acquired by Bayer, failed with its motion to close the case.

Judge declares lawsuits of cancer patients admissible

For two years Judge Vince Chhabria had heard the arguments of the plaintiffs and Monsanto as well as their respective experts. He forced the company to publish internal e-mails that became known as Monsanto Papers, proving how the company influenced authorities and scientists. In his concluding report, Judge Chhabria now inferred that the actions were admissible. The evidence that glyphosate triggers lymphoma (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) is weak but scientifically sound. On this basis, a jury could come to the conclusion that, in environmentally relevant concentrations, glyphosate could cause cancer. The next challenge for plaintiffs is to prove in some of the pending cases that glyphosate in the amounts to which users are normally exposed could cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Only then, a trial before a jury would be justified, the judge wrote.

Proceedings could last until mid-August

Dewayne Johnson has already overcome all these hurdles. The school gardener with cancer is the first plaintiff against Monsanto/Bayer whose case is being heard by a jury. Last Monday, the trial began with the plaintiff's and the company's statements. During the two and a half day questioning of the jury, the company's lawyer had tried to find jurors who were critical of chemicals and to prevent their appeal, reported the civil rights organization U.S. Right to Know. The twelve jurors who were finally appointed had been told that they should be prepared for the trial to last until mid-August.

With the acquisition of the defendant glyphosate producer Monsanto, the Bayer Group has also assumed its litigation risks. "Consequently, we now have to talk about the Bayer glyphosate trials," said Harald Ebner, spokesman for genetic engineering for the Green parliamentary group in the Bundestag. The negotiations will show "what truth there is in Bayer's promises to reform its new part of the company.”


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