Monsanto, the mega-corp that owns the popular RoundUp brand of weed killers, lost its case in federal court against a man who claims the herbicide contributed to his cancer diagnosis. The company has been ordered to pay just over $80 million in damages to the victim, Edwin Hardeman.
The case is now the second huge judgement against Monsanto within the last calendar year over RoundUp. A case that wrapped up in August of 2018 saw plaintiff Dewayne Johnson, who has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, originally awarded a hefty $289 million in damages from the company. That sum was later reduced to $78.5 million, and is still pending appeal.
Monsanto has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years over its insistence that its RoundUp herbicides are safe when used correctly. Studies have shown that ingredients in RoundUp may indeed be human carcinogens — cancer-causing agents — but Monsanto has always stood by its own hand-picked studies that suggest the active ingredient, glyphosate, is not in fact carcinogenic.
“We are disappointed with the jury’s decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic,l” the company said in a statement. “The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances.”
It should come as no surprise that Monsanto says it will challenge the ruling on appeal.
Some have called for Monsanto to include a warning on RoundUp packaging that makes it clear that the chemicals may cause cancer in humans. The company has pushed back against that idea with the studies that say otherwise.
However, there are several other independent scientific studies that point in the opposite direction, suggesting that glyphosate is indeed a cancer-causing substance. Monsanto, as you would expect, does not recognize these as factual.