Friday, 21 September, 2018

Roundup cancer lawsuits can move forward, judge rules

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Gustavo Carr | 13 July, 2018, 05:31

A USA judge in San Francisco says evidence seems weak that Roundup weed killer causes cancer, but experts can still make that claim at trial. Monsanto is a unit of Bayer AG.

Chhabria called the plaintiffs' expert opinions "shaky" and entirely excluded the opinions of two scientists.

Up next, Chhabria said, individual plaintiffs will need to present "enough evidence to warrant a jury trial on whether glyphosate caused the National Hockey League [cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma] they developed".

The outcome of Johnson's case will not affect the hundreds of other lawsuits in state and federal courts, but it may serve as an indicator of how the others might go.

The weed-killer contains glyphosate, a chemical that the US Environmental Protection Agency ruled was not carcinogenic in September.

In a statement, Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said the company would "continue to defend these lawsuits with robust evidence that proves there is absolutely no connection between glyphosate and cancer". "We have sympathy for anyone suffering from cancer, but the science clearly shows that glyphosate was not the cause".

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But serious doubts remain as the World Health Organization in 2015 classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans".

"Throughout much of this case, the plaintiffs seem to have operated under the assumption that they can clear the general causation hurdle simply by showing that IARC's decision to designate glyphosate a probable human carcinogen is scientifically sound", he said.

The company had told Chhabria in March that none of the plaintiffs' specialists fulfilled scientific or legal requirements for admissibility and urged the judge to dismiss the cases.

She said: 'It's time to hold Monsanto accountable for putting this risky product on the market'.

Lawyers for a school groundskeeper dying of cancer asked a San Francisco jury on Monday to find that agribusiness giant Monsanto's widely used weed killer Roundup likely caused his disease.

While Chhabria's ruling is not binding on them, state court judges have been closely following the federal litigation and expert hearings.