A California couple with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) who say their cancer was caused by long-term exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer received a $2.055 billion jury verdict. This is the third verdict that has ruled that Bayer / Monsanto must compensate plaintiffs. There are also 13,400 U.S. lawsuits still pending.
The plaintiffs in the most recent trial, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, used Roundup on their property for more than three decades and were diagnosed with NHL four years apart. The jury found that Roundup was defectively designed, the company failed to warn of the associated cancer risk, and the company acted negligently.
Gyphosate—the ingredient at the center of the lawsuits
Bayer, the parent company of Monsanto, argued that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, is safe. The ruling came despite a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency stating that glyphosate was not a carcinogen and posed no public health risk when used as directed. In a statement in early May, the agency said it “continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.”
However, the plaintiffs’ attorneys cited 2015 data from the World Health Organization suggesting that glyphosate might cause cancer. In a statement, Bayer argued that the plaintiffs “relied heavily” on this 2015 report but called it “an outlier among international health regulators and scientific bodies.”
Bayer/Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million in August 2018 related to a California groundskeeper who said use of the product led to his cancer. In March 2019, a federal jury in San Francisco awarded $80 million to another California man who said Roundup caused his cancer.
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in U.S. agriculture. It is often used by farmers, as well as sprayed on golf courses and residential lawns as a weed killer.