Jury finds Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer major factor in California man’s cancer


A USA jury has found that one of the world's most widely-used weedkillers was a "substantial factor" in causing a man's cancer.

Another California man was awarded $US289 million ($A407 million) in August after a state court jury found Roundup caused his cancer, sending Bayer shares plunging at the time.

Monsanto was initially ordered to pay $289 million to Johnson, who has two young sons and is in the end stages of his cancer, before the damages were reduced to $78.5 million.

Bayer in a statement said it was disappointed with the jury's initial decision.

The Chronicle notes that Hardeman's case is one of three "bellwether" trials that will establish guidelines for the settlement of 760 other cases against Monsanto around the country that have been transferred to US District Judge Vince Chhabria's court in San Francisco, as well as another 10,000 pending cases elsewhere.

Bayer denies allegations that Roundup, or glyphosate, cause cancer.

The German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer bought Monsanto in June.

The finding comes after another jury found Bayer's Monsanto unit failed to warn customers of the potential cancer risks of its weed-killers. Hardeman's attorneys first had to convince jurors that using Roundup was a significant factor in his cancer before they could make arguments for damages.

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Chief executive Werner Baumann said last month the company faced a total of 11,200 United States cases over Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate, a herbicide key to Monsanto's business model that has come in for intense scrutiny around the world.

Another Roundup trial is scheduled to begin in California state court in Oakland on March 28, involving a couple who claim Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The plaintiff's attorneys said he developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after 26 years of regularly using Roundup to tackle weeds and poison oak, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup", Hardeman's lawyers Aimee Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore said in a joint statement.

"Instead, it is clear from Monsanto's actions that it does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue".

It was reported in April past year that Bayer sold 3.6 per cent stake to Temasek for 3 billion euros at 96.77 euros per share. Even as more cases are waiting to be heard in USA courts, more cancer sufferers are also queuing to file suits against Monsanto.

Monsanto says studies have established that Roundup's active ingredient, glyphosate, is safe.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organisation's cancer agency, concluded that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans".