Second U.S. jury finds Bayer's Roundup caused cancer

Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters

"The day of reckoning for Bayer and its cancer-causing weedkiller is getting closer".

Only two cases out of more than 11,000 Roundup suits have gone to trial in the U.S., and as of Tuesday, they both had the same result: A jury found that the glyphosate-filled weed killer causes cancer.

The decision in Edwin Hardeman's case is a landmark verdict that could impact hundreds of other similar lawsuits, according to The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom.

"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer", Bayer said in a statement.

Edwin Hardeman, the plaintiff in the case, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in 2015 after using Roundup to kill poison oak and weeds on his property for over 20 years.

Evidence is nearly certain to resurface that Monsanto ghostwrote scientific literature and influenced regulators to claim that Roundup is safe. In that case, a California state court jury awarded a former school groundskeeper damages eventually reduced by a judge to $78.6 million.

"We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer", the company said.

Roundup became the company's leading headache after the June 7 completion of the Monsanto deal that Baumann entered to remain a global competitor in seeds and agricultural products.

Shares in Bayer fell more than down 12pc in Frankfurt on Wednesday following the ruling.

The unanimous decision handed down this week by a federal court said Roundup was a "substantial factor" in Hardeman's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, moving the case into liability phase, where Hardeman's legal team will argue that Monsanto misled the public on glyphosate's health risks and should be held responsible, per the New York Times.

Today's verdict in favor of a California man who said his cancer was caused by exposure to Bayer AG's Roundup weedkiller is further evidence that glyphosate, the herbicide's active ingredient, is carcinogenic to humans, said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook. Bayer does not provide sales figures for the product.

The second phase of the trial to weigh liability and damages will begin Wednesday.

The case was only the second of some 11,200 Roundup lawsuits to go to trial in the US.

Bayer, which closed on the purchase of Monsanto last summer, faces more than 11,000 US lawsuits alleging that glyphosate causes cancer.

Litzenburg said he and other attorneys have more than 4,000 similar cases awaiting trial in various state courts. Among other things, the second phase of the trial will look at whether Monsanto's strategy unduly sought to influence public opinion via scientific reports.

As at yesterday's closing, Bayer's share price was 69.70 euros.

However, the US Environmental Protection Agency insists it is safe when used carefully.

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