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."

Go deeper

The mystery of coronavirus superspreaders

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A small percentage of people — called superspreaders — may be responsible for a large number of COVID-19 infections, research is starting to indicate.

Why it matters: While there's no method to detect who these people are before they infect others, there are ways to control behaviors that cause superspreading events — a key issue as states start to reopen and debate what types of events are OK.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,931,112 — Total deaths: 357,929 — Total recoveries — 2,388,172Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,711,313 — Total deaths: 101,129 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.