A federal jury in California concluded that Monsanto's Roundup weed killer had caused the cancer of a 70-year-old man, which represented the second big blow to the company in a year.
Jury members of the federal federal civil court in San Francisco unanimously concluded Tuesday that glyphosate – the key ingredient in Roundup – was an "important factor" in Sonoma resident Edwin Hardeman's non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The jury verdict is the second of a long list of upcoming lawsuits. About 11,200 plaintiffs, who claim to have been exposed to glyphosate, sue the company on Jan. 28, according to the company's annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Hardeman's lawyers said the elderly man developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after using Roundup to spray his properties for nearly three decades.
On Wednesday, Hardeman's lawsuit begins its second phase, during which the jury will decide whether the company is liable and possibly award damages to Hardeman. The next phase will focus on how Groundup has been marketed and whether the company is hiding the alleged risks of the product.
Hardeman's lawyer was not immediately available to comment.
In August 2018, another California jury awarded $ 289 million to a gardener in a state court after a jury found Roundup had caused his cancer. The award was subsequently reduced to $ 78 million and the company appealed the decision, according to the SEC's record.
The pharmaceutical giant Bayer made the acquisition of Monsanto last year for $ 63 billion.
In a statement, Bayer defended his product.
"We are disappointed with the initial jury decision, but we continue to strongly believe that science confirms that glyphosate herbicides do not cause cancer, and we are confident that the evidence presented in the second phase will show that Monsanto has been appropriate and that should not be held responsible for Mr. Hardeman's cancer, "says the company's release.
"By the 1980s, Monsanto was aware of the carcinogenic properties of glyphosate." Complaint of Hardeman's case. In 1985, the Toxicology Branch of the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") published a memo-glyphosate as "possible human carcinogen with limited evidence of carcinogenicity".
The lawsuit lists several studies linking glyphosate to cancerous behavior. The American Cancer Society has classified this substance among the "probable carcinogens," according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an organization owned by the World Health Organization.
According to Bayer, more than 800 studies presented to the EPA, European regulators and other regulators "confirm that these products are safe when they are used according to instructions", including a study long-term independent conducted in 2018 by the National Cancer Institute that "found no association between glyphosate herbicides and cancer," says the company's release.
Bayer shares fell sharply on Wednesday news, dropping nearly 10%, or $ 1.83 to close at $ 17.84 a share.