There’s news in the flood of lawsuits accusing Monsanto’s extremely popular weed killer, Roundup, of causing cancer.
So far, three lawsuits have been brought against Monsanto (and its newish parent company, Bayer) alleging that Roundup, the company’s brand name for the glyphosate herbicide, causes cancer. The first ended with an $80 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff; the second with $289 million, though that was later reduced to $78 million.
The newest one, brought by a California couple who both developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is in a different league. A jury in Oakland, California ruled that Monsanto owes the couple $2 billion.
Whether Roundup, or many other items, causes cancer is a difficult thing to test; the company has long engaged in efforts to discredit research linking Roundup to cancer, and has recruited scientists to promote the safety of the product, as seen in emails which came to light in a previous trial as well as other reports. The EPA recently affirmed its prior statement that Roundup is not a public health risk.
Monsanto and Bayer have appealed each of the previous two verdicts, and, in a statement, say they will appeal this one as well, writing that they are “disappointed” with the verdict. The statement also says that the plaintiffs had “long histories of illnesses known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma” and maintains the company’s stance that scientific research has not conclusively shown Roundup to be a cancer-causing agent.
The lawsuit, though, also argued that Monsanto has not adequately tried to discover whether Roundup is indeed carcinogenic, and that the company has not properly warned of the potential risk.
In response, Bayer’s shares dropped to their lowest point in nearly seven years. Most legal sources believe that $2 billion mark will be reduced.