Cancer sufferers’ lawsuits against Monsanto proceed to trial

Hundreds of lawsuits against agricultural company Monsanto will proceed to trial, a US judge has ruled.

More than 365 lawsuits from farmers, landscapers and consumers were pending against Monsanto over its Roundup herbicide, which includes the active ingredient glyphosate.

Judge Vince Chhabria found there was sufficient evidence for a jury to hear from cancer survivors or families of those who have died from cancer, who blame Roundup for developing Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of blood cell cancer.

See also: On-farm trials focus on growing without glyphosate

The decision follows years of litigation and weeks of hearings about the safety of glyphosate.

The plaintiffs will next have to prove Roundup caused cancer in specific people whose cases will be selected for test trials.

Monsanto, now owned by German chemical giant Bayer after a US$63bn (£48bn) takeover deal in June, denies the allegations and in a statement said it would continue to defend the lawsuits with evidence proving there is “absolutely no connection between glyphosate and cancer”.

Across the US, Monsanto faces 5,000 lawsuits alleging Roundup caused cancer.

Though Judge Chhabria’s ruling is not binding on them, state court judges have been closely following the federal litigation and expert hearings.

Last November the EU Commission Appeals Committee voted to renew the glyphosate licence for member states, meaning farmers in the UK will have access to the weedkiller for at least another five years.

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