For the third time in less than a year, a California jury issued a verdict against Bayer-Monsanto, finding that the company’s Roundup weed killer caused cancer in a California couple and awarding them $2.055 billion in damages.
The jury in Alameda County Superior Court found on Monday that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, was the cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in both Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, who have used the herbicide since the 1970s.
It’s the third trial since August 2018 in which a jury found that glyphosate caused cancer. More than 13,000 similar lawsuits have been filed against the company.
“The cloud hanging over Bayer will only grow bigger and darker, as more juries hear how Monsanto manipulated its own research, colluded with regulators, and intimidated scientists to keep secret the cancer risks from glyphosate,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said.
Bayer’s stock price has dropped 40 percent since it bought Monsanto last year for $63 billion. At its recent annual meeting, a shareholder revolt occurred with more than half of the shareholders voting against absolving management for its decision to acquire the Saint Louis-based seed and pesticide company.
Glyphosate is the most heavily used herbicide in the world. People who aren’t farming workers or groundskeepers are being exposed to the cancer-causing chemical, Cook said.
A 2015 EWG analysis mapped the year-to-year growth in glyphosate use on American farmland from 1992 to 2012. In 2014, about 240 million pounds of glyphosate were sprayed in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a result of widespread use, glyphosate has now been found to contaminate air, water, and soil across the U.S. It also shows up in the food Americans eat every day.
Two laboratory tests commissioned last year by the EWG found glyphosate in nearly every sample of oat-based cereals and other oat-based food marketed to children. Among the brands, glyphosate was detected in included several cereals and breakfast bars made by General Mills and Quaker.
Joined by nearly 20 food and nutrition companies, the EWG petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to limit glyphosate residues allowed on oats and prohibit the pesticide’s use as a pre-harvest drying agent, which is how the cancer-causing weedkiller gets into popular oat-based breakfast cereals.
Bayer said it will appeal the decision, arguing that the case was brought under state law and conflicts with EPA guidance, according to a Reuters article.
On April 30, the EPA reaffirmed prior guidance saying that glyphosate isn’t a carcinogen and isn’t a risk to public health when used as directed on its current label.