A federal jury in San Francisco has unanimously decided that Bayer AG’s weed killer Roundup caused a California resident to develop cancer.
Edwin Hardeman alleged in his suit that using the herbicide over three decades on his properties caused him to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects the immune system. His lawsuit is the first federal court case against Bayer’s Roundup and could predict the outcome of hundreds of cases that the company faces for similar claims. Bayer bought St. Louis-based Monsanto, maker of Roundup, last year.
The second phase of the trial to weigh liability and damages will begin Wednesday.
“It is clear from Monsanto’s actions that it does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue,” said Hardeman’s lawyers, Aimee Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore, in an emailed statement.
Bayer has denied its products cause cancer.
“We continue to believe firmly that the science confirms that glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer,” said an online statement from Bayer. “We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and that the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.”
A state jury in California last fall also ruled that Roundup caused a former school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, to develop non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Johnson received $289 million from that verdict.
Hardeman’s lawyers plan to discuss research on the harmful effects of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, in the second phase of the trial. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, reported in 2015 that the chemical likely causes cancer.
However, the Environmental Protection Agency released an assessment in 2017 that concluded that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.
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