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

By Gretchen Goldman

The Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel has released their consensus recommendations to the EPA administrator on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter. The group of 20 independent experts, that were disbanded by Administrator Wheeler last October and reconvened last week, hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists, has now made clear that the current particulate pollution standards don't protect public health and welfare.

Read More Show Less
An African elephant is pictured on November 19, 2012, in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

The unprecedented drought that has caused a water crisis in Zimbabwe has now claimed the life of at least 55 elephants since September, according to a wildlife spokesman, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Maria Dornelas.

By John C. Cannon

Life is reshuffling itself at an unsettling clip across Earth's surface and in its oceans, a new study has found.

Read More Show Less
An Exxon station in Florida remains open despite losing its roof during Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005. Florida Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shaun Withers

The country's largest fossil fuel company goes on trial today to face charges that it lied to investors about the safety of its assets in the face of the climate crisis and potential legislation to fight it, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
El Niño's effect on Antarctica is seen in a tabular iceberg off of Thwaites ice shelf. Jeremy Harbeck / NASA

El Niños are getting stronger due to climate change, according to a new study in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

By Julia Ries

  • Antibiotic resistance has doubled in the last 20 years.
  • Additionally a new study found one patient developed resistance to a last resort antibiotic in a matter of weeks.
  • Health experts say antibiotic prescriptions should only be given when absolutely necessary in order to avoid growing resistance.

Over the past decade, antibiotic resistance has emerged as one of the greatest public health threats.

Read More Show Less
Pexels


There are hundreds of millions of acres of public land in the U.S., but not everyone has had the chance to hike in a national forest or picnic in a state park.

Read More Show Less
Workers attend to a rooftop solar panel project on May 14, 2017 in Wuhan, China. Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

By Simon Evans

Renewable sources of electricity are set for rapid growth over the next five years, which could see them match the output of the world's coal-fired power stations for the first time ever.

Read More Show Less