Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Roundup cancer lawsuits can move forward, judge rules

Roundup cancer lawsuits can move forward, judge rules

Hundreds of lawsuits against Monsanto Co by cancer survivors or families of those who died can proceed to trial, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday, finding there was sufficient evidence for a jury to hear the cases that blame the company's glyphosate-containing weed-killer for the disease.

A San Francisco court now says cases can be brought against the firm on the basis of testimony that Roundup is potentially a cause of the blood cancer non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The lawsuits allege that glyphosate, the herbicide in the widely used Roundup, can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - and that Monsanto didn't warn consumers or regulators about that alleged risk.

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.

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".

"The scientific evidence is overwhelming that glyphosate-based products do not cause cancer", stated Monsanto attorney George Lombardi.

Many government regulators say there is no link between cancer and glyphosate, the AP reported.

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Chhabria's decision came in the first phase of litigation consolidated in his courtroom involving more than 360 plaintiffs.

The judge wanted to determine whether the science behind the claim that Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma had been properly tested and met other requirements to be considered valid.

The ingredient in question is glyphosate, which California added to a list of chemicals known to cause cancer just a year ago.

Citing expert testimony from three doctors who spoke on plaintiffs' behalf, Chhabria wrote in his ruling, "the opinions of these experts, while shaky, are admissible".

A federal judge in Sacramento in February blocked California from requiring that Roundup carry a label stating that it is known to cause cancer, saying the warning is misleading because nearly all regulators have concluded that there is no evidence glyphosate is carcinogenic.

Monsanto developed glyphosate in the 1970s, and the weed killer is now sold in more than 160 countries. But the World Health Organization in 2015 classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans".

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