May 14, 2019

Roundup weedkiller cancer claim: Bayer to appeal latest verdict

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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Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.

O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

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Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

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