Weedkiller glyphosate ‘doesn’t cause cancer’ – Bayer
Posted on August 15th, 2018

Courtesy BBC

Pharmaceutical group Bayer has dismissed claims that an ingredient used in weed killers is carcinogenic.

The German company, which owns agriculture giant Monsanto, says herbicides containing glyphosate are safe.

On Friday, Monsanto was ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a man who claimed the products caused his cancer.

A Californian jury said Monsanto should have warned users about the dangers of its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers.

Bayer completed its $66bn takeover of Monsanto in June.

A gardener sprays plants with pesticide in Florida
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMany gardeners use the common weed killers

A Bayer spokesperson told the BBC the two companies operate independently. In a statement the company said: “Bayer is confident, based on the strength of the science, the conclusions of regulators around the world and decades of experience, that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer when used according to the label.”

The landmark lawsuit was the first to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer.

The claimant, groundsman Dewayne Johnson, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. His lawyers said he regularly used a form of RangerPro while working at a school in Benicia, California.

He is among more than 5,000 similar plaintiffs across the US.

Glyphosate is the world’s most common weedkiller. The California ruling could lead to hundreds of other claims against Monsanto.

The company said it intends to appeal against the verdict.

Bottles of Monsanto's Roundup are seen for sale June 19, 2018 at a retail store in Glendale, CaliforniaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

What is glyphosate and is it dangerous?

Glyphosate was introduced by Monsanto in 1974, but its patent expired in 2000, and now the chemical is sold by various manufacturers. In the US, more than 750 products contain it.

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

However, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insists it is safe when used carefully.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also says glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans.

Last November 2017 EU countries voted to renew the licence of glyphosatedespite campaigns against it.

BBC North American correspondent James Cook reported that in California – where a judge recently ruled that coffee must carry a cancer warning – the agriculture industry sued to prevent such a label for glyphosate, even though the state lists it as a chemical known to cause cancer.

What happened in the groundsman case?

Jurors found on Friday that Monsanto had acted with “malice” and that its weed killers contributed “substantially” to Mr Johnson’s terminal illness.

Following an eight-week trial, the jury ordered the company to pay $250m in punitive damages together with other costs that brought the total figure to almost $290m.

Mr Johnson’s lawyer, Brent Wisner, said the jury’s verdict showed that the evidence against the product was “overwhelming”.

“When you are right, it is really easy to win,” he said.

3 Responses to “Weedkiller glyphosate ‘doesn’t cause cancer’ – Bayer”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    So says Bayer!

    It is like asking the mother of the thief about his whereabouts (“horage ammagen pena ahanawa wage”). Bayer and Monsanto merged in 2016. After the court decision, Bayer share price fell drastically losing a massive $14 billion.

  2. Randeniyage Says:

    Absolutely !
    It seems there are hundreds of University dons bribed by Mossanto/Bayer to write fake study reports proving Glyphoste it safe.

  3. Christie Says:

    Thanks Dilrook.

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