Quantcast

Judge to Decide if Monsanto Roundup Cancer Lawsuits Move Forward at Crucial Hearing

Popular

A federal judge in San Francisco will hear from expert witnesses on the science and safety of glyphosate at critical hearing starting Monday that will determine if plaintiffs around the country can move forward with their legal action against Monsanto over cancer claims.

More than 365 pending lawsuits against the agribusiness giant have been centralized in multidistrict litigation under U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria. The plaintiffs claim they or their loved ones developed non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) due to exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller.


During the week-long hearing—dubbed "Science Week"—epidemiologists, oncologists, toxicologists and other scientists representing both sides will offer testimony about glyphosate.

The judge will not decide whether or not glyphosate causes cancer. Rather, Chhabria will determine if the experts providing scientific opinions regarding causation will be permitted to testify at trial, explained Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, one of the law firms leading the litigation.

The firm wrote:

"If Judge Chhabria determines that the experts used valid methodologies, then the cases would proceed to trial and the experts would provide evidence and testimony regarding whether Roundup generally causes NHL and additionally whether that propensity for inducing NHL caused a particular Roundup user's NHL. The jury would then decide whether the evidence more likely than not shows Roundup caused the individual's NHL."

Simply—"It's game over for the plaintiffs if they can't get over this hurdle," as David Levine, University of California, Hastings law professor told the Associated Press:

Glyphosate, the star ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, is the world's most popular herbicide and is applied on everything from home gardens to crops that are genetically engineered to resist it.

The herbicide was declared a "probable human carcinogen" in 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Monsanto has since faced a mountain of lawsuits in federal and states courts over cancer claims. The state of California has listed glyphosate as a chemical known to cause cancer. A California federal judge ruled on this month that Roundup does not need to carry a warning label.

A number of international scientific panels and agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are in stark contradiction with the IARC's conclusion. Monsanto has also adamantly defended its product and denies cancer claims.

"There are more than 800 published studies—scientific, medical and peer-reviewed—which demonstrate that glyphosate is safe and there is no association whatsoever with any form of cancer," Scott Partridge, vice president of strategy at Monsanto, told the AP.

However, court documents have raised questions about Monsanto's alleged role in ghostwriting research and later attributing it to academics to cover up Roundup cancer risks and working with a senior EPA official to quash a review of glyphosate.

Timothy Litzenburg, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the link between glyphosate and cancer is not "junk science."

"You can just do a literature search and find many, many peer-reviewed, published articles concluding that glyphosate exposure increases the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma," he told the AP.

Journalist and author Carey Gillam, the research director of consumer and public health watchdog group U.S. Right to Know, will be live-blogging the event from the courthouse. You can follow her posts here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Participants of the climate demonstration Fridays for Future walk through Hamburg, Germany on Feb. 21, 2020. Axel Heimken / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

U.S.-based youth climate activists on Friday drew attention to the climate protest in Hamburg, Germany, where organizers said roughly 60,000 people took part, and hoped that Americans took inspiration from their European counterparts.

Read More
Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) surfacing, showing the remains of a blow and its mottled appearance near South Georgia Island in the Polar Regions. Mick Baines & Maren / Getty Images

The largest animal on Earth is proving that wildlife protections work.

Read More
Sponsored
A pipeline that ruptured in Mississippi Saturday, forcing hundreds to evacuate. Yazoo County Emergency Management Agency

More than 300 people were forced to evacuate and 46 were sent to the hospital after a gas pipeline ruptured in Mississippi Saturday.

Read More
Pexels

By Tim Lydon

Climate-related disasters are on the rise, and carbon emissions are soaring. Parents today face the unprecedented challenge of raising children somehow prepared for a planetary emergency that may last their lifetimes. Few guidebooks are on the shelves for this one, yet, but experts do have advice. And in a bit of happy news, it includes strategies already widely recognized as good for kids.

Read More
Pexels

Be it Nina Simone and James Brown for civil rights, Joni Mitchell and Marvin Gaye for the environment, or Jackson Browne and Buffalo Springfield for nuclear disarmament, musicians have long helped push social movements into the limelight.

Read More