In edition 252 of BC Disease News (here), we reported that a jury had upheld a product liability verdict on Monsanto-produced Roundup herbicide. This case was the first of its kind to successfully link exposure to glyphosate (Roundup ingredient) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Despite the World Health Organisation’s classification of glyphosate as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’, in September 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency assessed that the chemical is unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans.
Towards the end of February 2019, more than 620 lawsuits, brought by the families of deceased farmers, landscapers and consumers, will be consolidated at a trial of liability. Permission was granted in June 2018, by San Francisco District Judge Vince Chhabria.[i] This Tuesday, District Judge Chhabria selected the 1st lawsuit to be heard before a jury. The claimant, Mr Hardeman, used ‘large volumes’ of Roundup to control poison oak and weeks on his property, from the 1980’s onwards. He was later diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, in 2015.[ii]
What is more, last Thursday, California Superior Court Judge Iona Petrou granted an order for trial on glyphosate cancer, which is scheduled to begin on 18 March 2019. The claimant couple was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2011 and 2015, respectively. They allege that regular use of Roundup, between 1975 and 2011, caused them to develop the disease. The trial has been expedited, given the claimants’ risk of relapse and short life expectancy.[iii]
As a result, the expedited trial will likely become the 3rd US glyphosate litigation verdict (2nd verdict in the State of California). As reported in last week’s edition (here), up to the end of October 2018, 9,300 glyphosate lawsuits had been filed.
It will leapfrog a Missouri trial, which was initially set to commence in early February 2019, but has since been vacated. Bayer anticipates that the pending Missouri action is likely to be postponed until a later date in 2019.
[i] Tina Bellon, ‘U.S. judge allows lawsuits over Monsanto's Roundup to proceed to trial’ (10 July 2018 Reuters) <https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-monsanto-glyphosate/u-s-judge-allows-lawsuits-over-monsantos-roundup-to-proceed-to-trial-idUKKBN1K02ME> accessed 19 November 2018.
[ii] Tina Bellon, ‘U.S. judge selects first case in federal Monsanto weed-killer litigation’ (20 November 2018 Reuters) <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuit/u-s-judge-selects-first-case-in-federal-monsanto-weed-killer-litigation-idUSKCN1NP2HZ> accessed 22 November 2018.
[iii] Tina Bellon, ‘California judge orders next Monsanto weed-killer cancer trial for March’ (15 November 2018 Reuters) <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuit/california-judge-orders-next-monsanto-weed-killer-cancer-trial-for-march-idUSKCN1NK34M> accessed 19 November 2018.