Oct 14, 2019
You’ve seen the ads flooding television and social media: “Have you been exposed to weed killer Roundup? If you have cancer, you may be eligible for compensation. Call our law offices … ”
In 2018 and 2019, California juries ordered Roundup’s producer, Monsanto, to pay multimillion-dollar compensations to four non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients who claimed to have been sickened by Roundup (one of dozens of formulations with herbicide glyphosate as the active ingredient). As a result, there are now close to 20,000 lawsuits against the company from people who also allege that exposure to Roundup gave them cancer.
The California verdicts will almost certainly be overturned on appeal because they were based on the alleged failings of Monsanto, not on any scientific evidence that Roundup causes cancer. Follow-up suits that aren’t settled are likely to fail, too.
All scientific bodies that have seriously studied glyphosate report no link to cancer. These include the World Health Organization. But WHO’s loosely connected appendage—the International Agency for Research on Cancer—postulates a “probable” link. Instead of studying glyphosate, it reviewed existing studies of the herbicide. Based on this 2015 review, IARC placed glyphosate on its “2A List” of substances with “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals” or, in IARC’s abbreviated translation, “probably carcinogenic.” That list also includes “very hot beverages” and “red meat.”
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