A California jury returned an unprecedented $2-billion verdict against Monsanto in favor of a couple who said their cancer was caused by long-term exposure to Monsanto’s popular weed killer, Roundup. According to a CNN news report, the verdict in Oakland includes more than $55 million in compensatory damages to the couple and $2 billion in punitive damages. This verdict is in line with several recent jury verdicts against Monsanto involving Roundup. Thousands of similar cases are also pending at the federal or state level.
Bayer, which owns Monsanto, has insisted that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, is safe. Bayer has vowed to appeal this verdict. The plaintiffs, Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, both in their 70s, said they used the weed killer on their property for more than three decades, and were diagnosed with the same type of cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, four years apart.
Bayer argued that the jury was provided with “cherry-picked” findings inconsistent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which found that glyphosate is not a carcinogen and posed no public health risk when used as directed. But, it’s important to note that not all groups have agreed with that assessment. The World Health Organization report in 2015 suggested that glyphosate might cause cancer. The report specifically stated that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” During the Pilliods’ trial, jurors were shown a significant amount of evidence including emails and text messages between Monsanto and EPA officials.
Can Glyphosate Harm Humans?
The central issue in these trials is whether glyphosate can harm humans. Monsanto commercially introduced glyphosate in 1974. Glyphosate is now used in more than 160 countries around the world with more than 1.4 billion pounds applied each year. Roundup is the second most widely used lawn and garden weed killer. Roundup is marketed as easy to use and effective on poison ivy, dandelions and other weeds.
While the EPA has determined that there is not enough scientific evidence to show that glyphosate causes cancer, the United Nations’ International Agency for the Research on Cancer declared that glyphosate probably raises the risk of cancer in those who are exposed to it. One study even suggests that glyphosate may affect pathogens such as salmonella in ways that could contribute to antibiotic resistance. Other research shows it can interfere with hormones.
Toxic Exposure Lawsuits
The California personal injury attorneys are closely watching this lawsuit and other ongoing cases against Monsanto. If you or a loved one has suffered the effects of glyphosate or other toxins, it is important that you contact an experienced toxic exposure lawyer who can advise you regarding your legal rights and options.