Glyphosate Suffers a Second Loss in California

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A second U.S. jury has ruled that glyphosate caused cancer. A second phase of the trial will begin soon with the same jury to determine liability and damages. Bayer will likely appeal the ruling.

The jury in the first trial, also in California in August, 2018, awarded $78 million to a man who claimed glyphosate was responsible for his cancer. The ruling is under appeal, at the request of Bayer. Estimates are that an additional 11,000 lawsuits with similar claims are expected to go to trial in the U.S. in the coming months.

Glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide worldwide and has been a preferred herbicide in U.S. agriculture, due to its shorter half-life and less toxicity to humans when compared to other broad-spectrum herbicides. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that nearly 300 million pounds of it are applied annually in the U.S. over a wide variety of crops and environments.

These lawsuits follow a declaration made in 2015 by the World Health Organization that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, and subsequent passage of California’s Proposition 65 requiring cancer warning labels on products containing glyphosate (and many other chemicals).

On the other hand, many studies have concluded there is no link between human exposure to the herbicide and cancer, including studies conducted through the Agricultural Health Study (National Institutes of Health), and even the state of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. 

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