SAN FRANCISCO – For the third time in less than a year, a California jury has delivered a stinging blow to Bayer-Monsanto, finding that the company’s Roundup weedkiller caused cancer in a California couple and awarding them a staggering $2.055 billion in damages.
Today the jury in Alameda County Superior Court found that glyphosate, the signature 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 is 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,” said EWG President Ken Cook.
Bayer has seen its stock price plummet 40 percent since it purchased Monsanto last year for $63 billion. At its recent annual meeting, a shareholder revolt ensued, with more than half of the shareholders voting against absolving management for its decision to acquire the St. Louis-based seed and pesticide company.
“By now, most Bayer executives, its board and shareholders must all be questioning the decision to acquire Monsanto and its mounting liability over its cancer-causing weedkiller,” Cook said. “Bayer must also wonder if Monsanto deployed the same underhanded tactics during their courtship that courtroom disclosures have shown permeated its corporate culture: deep deception, prevarication and denial in a headlong pursuit of profit, human and environmental consequences be damned.”
Glyphosate is the most heavily used herbicide in the world. People who are not farm workers or groundskeepers are being exposed to the cancer-causing chemical.
A 2015 EWG analysis mapped the year-to-year growth in glyphosate use on American farmland from 1992 to 2012. According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2014, approximately 240 million pounds of glyphosate were sprayed in the U.S. As a result of widespread use, glyphosate has now been found to contaminate air, water and soil across vast expanses of the U.S. It also shows up in the food Americans eat every day.
Two separate rounds of laboratory tests commissioned last year by EWG found glyphosate in nearly every sample of popular oat-based cereals and other oat-based food marketed to children. The brands in which glyphosate was detected included several cereals and breakfast bars made by General Mills and Quaker. More than 236,000 consumers have signed EWG’s petition calling on General Mills and Quaker to stop using oats sprayed with glyphosate.
Joined by nearly 20 food and nutrition companies, EWG petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to sharply 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.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.