May 14, 2019

Roundup weedkiller cancer claim: Bayer to appeal latest verdict

Roundup weed killer.

Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Bayer said Monday it would appeal an Oakland, California, jury's decision to award more than $2 billion in damages to a couple it agreed had contracted cancer after being exposed to Roundup weedkiller for over 30 years.

Why it matters: Alva and Alberta Pilliod's case marks the 3rd verdict against Roundup weedkiller to have been brought by people who contracted cancer. Bayer, which inherited Roundup through its acquisition of Monsanto last year, faces more than 13,400 U.S. lawsuits over allegations that the herbicide is a cancer risk, per Reuters. It denies the product is a health hazard.

Context: In March, a federal jury in San Francisco said Bayer must pay roughly $80 million in damages to a California man after exposure to Roundup. The company was also ordered to pay $78.6 million in damages over a 2018 case.

The big picture: The Environmental Protection Authority says that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, does not cause cancer or other health risks if it is used according to instructions, something Bayer noted in its statement responding to the latest finding.

"We have great sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod, but the evidence in this case was clear that both have long histories of illnesses known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), most NHL has no known cause, and there is not reliable scientific evidence to conclude that glyphosate-based herbicides were the 'but for' cause of their illnesses as the jury was required to find in this case.
The contrast between today's verdict and EPA's conclusion that there are 'no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate' could not be more stark."
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