weeds

Boris Dzhingarov is a business news writer who covers a wide range of issues.

A jury in California just awarded a man eighty million dollars in a recent verdict against the makers of Roundup, Monsanto. The plaintiff’s attorneys argued that the popular weed killer caused his cancer and made a case solid enough to sway the jury’s decision. This is the second major victory against Monsanto and Bayer, and it isn’t the last such case. This has prompted more people in the country to file similar cases against the agrochemical and agricultural giant.

The Cases Against Roundup

Early scientific studies in the U.S., as well as the EPA, previously suggested that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, was not carcinogenic. However, a WHO study in 2015 classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic. The World Health Organization report came out after the researchers reviewed years of studies. Several subsequent studies also linked glyphosate to increased health risks.

The eighty-million-dollar verdict against the maker of Roundup is actually the second massive loss in eight months, and a third judgment against Bayer and Monsanto came shortly thereafter. Personal injury Law firms like BraunsLaw.com have also seen an influx of claims against the manufacturer, and have a solid track record for success, which has pushed more victims to seek their services.

How People Are Responding to the Case

Some retailers have removed Roundup from their store shelves, though others continue to carry it. However, the repeated news linking cancer and Roundup caused sales of the product to fall. One major agricultural supplier stated that they stopped carrying it because they couldn’t find an insurer able to cover the liabilities of claims related to Roundup’s key ingredient. Several cities and counties have banned Roundup’s use, as well.

The Long-Term Effects of the Ruling

Roundup has been used for around forty years. Georgia’s farmers continue to use Roundup widely according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, though there is widespread awareness of the court cases. This is partially because the herbicide doesn’t persist in the environment like DDT or build up in groundwater like atrazine.

In theory, Roundup is less toxic than herbicides like paraquat. That herbicide requires farmers to wear a respirator if standing near the sprayer. Some farmers are responding to the news by wearing protective equipment when using Roundup. Over the long term, many will likely stop using Roundup in favor of the alternatives.

Use of Roundup exploded in the late nineties after Monsanto started selling genetically modified crops that tolerated glyphosate. Now farmers could spray massive doses of Roundup on “Roundup Ready” crops, killing all the weeds while the cotton, soybeans, and corn would be fine. It is possible this practice will now decline. Anti-GMO groups feel vindicated by the court cases, and they may use these rulings to attack the planting of Roundup Ready strains that lead to increased use of Roundup in the first place.

Conclusion

Recent lawsuits linking cancer and Roundup are a surprise turnaround for the manufacturer. At the same time, many continue to do what they’ve been doing while waiting for further studies to determine the final verdict on Roundup.