For the second time in eight months, a jury has found that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller contributed to cancer in a second man. Edwin Hardeman case was tried in federal court with thousands more lawsuits pending against Monsanto.
Bayer, the global food and nutrition company that bought Monsanto, continued to claim today that glyphosate, the ingredient in Roundup linked to cancer, was safe. Despite numerous studies linking it to cancer, many Governments around the world permit the use of the weedkiller which has been shown to permeate the entire food chain, right down to the food that eventually lands on our tables.
In Ireland, Roundup is regularly sprayed on crops and even the Irish Farmers Association lobbied heavily for the chemical to remain legal in the face of a groundswell of opinion among the public that it should be banned. It is also used on Irish roadways, parks, playgrounds and public lands along with millions of people having used it in their own gardens.
It’s not clear yet how much damages Mr. Hardeman is entitled to but in a previous case, a US court awarded Dewayne Johnson $289 million in damages. Monsanto is appealing both rulings.
Interestingly, in a subtle but clever move, Monsanto also has begun claiming that it’s conduct makes it not responsible for the effects of the weedkiller. This shift in defense is important because it moves the company away from bearing responsibility even if the appeals court finds glyphosate caused cancers. It would attempt to argue that it adhered to ‘best practise’ and therefore should not be liable for any cancer induced by use of the herbicide.
A 2015 report by the World Health Organisation said glyphosate is ‘probably’ carcinogenic to humans.
In Mr Hardeman’s case, he discovered he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015. He had used Roundup to control weeds and poison ivy on his property for 23 years and took a case against Monsanto, claiming the weedkiller had contributed to his cancer. The jury agreed, saying Roundup was a ‘substantial factor’ in his cancer.
In the second phase of Mr. Hardeman’s case which starts Wednesday, lawyers will attempt to prove that Monsanto should have known the risks associated with glyphosate and that it misled the public about those risks.
Bayer said there is over 11,000 cases pending against them, linked to Monsanto and Roundup, as of February, 2019