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Jury: Roundup weed killer is major factor in man’s cancer

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Roundup weed killer was a substantial factor in a California mans cancer, a jury determined Tuesday in the first phase of a trial that attorneys said could help determine the fate of hundreds of similar lawsuits.

The unanimous verdict by the sixperson jury in federal court in San Francisco came in a lawsuit filed against Roundups manufacturer, agribusiness giant Monsanto. Edwin Hardeman, 70, was the second plaintiff to go to trial out of thousands around the country who claim the weed killer causes cancer.

Monsanto says studies have established that Roundups active ingredient, glyphosate, is safe.

A San Francisco jury in August awarded another man $289 million after determining Roundup caused his nonHodgkins lymphoma. A judge later slashed the award to $78 million, and Monsanto has appealed.

Hardemans trial is before a different judge and may be more significant. U.S. Judge Vince Chhabria is overseeing hundreds of Roundup lawsuits and has deemed Hardemans case and two others bellwether trials.

The outcome of such cases can help attorneys decide whether to keep fighting similar lawsuits or settle them. Legal experts said a jury verdict in favor of Hardeman and the other test plaintiffs would give their attorneys a strong bargaining position in any settlement talks for the remaining cases before Chhabria.

The judge had split Hardemans trial into two phases. Hardemans attorneys first had to convince jurors that using Roundup was a significant factor in his cancer before they could make arguments for damages.

The trial will now proceed to the second phase to determine whether the company is liable and if so, for how much.

Hardeman declined to comment outside court.

This has been a long time coming for Mr. Hardeman,said one of his attorneys, Jennifer Moore. Hes very pleased he had his day in court, and were looking forward to phase two.

Many government regulators have rejected a link between cancer and glyphosate. Monsanto has vehemently denied such a connection, saying hundreds of studies have established that the chemical is safe.

Bayer, which acquired Monsanto last year, said in a statement after the verdict that it continues to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosatebased herbicides do not cause cancer.

We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsantos conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardemans cancer, it said.

Monsanto developed glyphosate in the 1970s, and the weed killer is now sold in more than 160 countries and widely used in the U.S.

The herbicide came under increasing scrutiny after the Francebased International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified it as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

Lawsuits against Monsanto followed. The company has attacked the international research agencys opinion as an outlier.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions.

Hardeman started using Roundup products to treat poison oak, overgrowth and weeds on his Sonoma County property in the 1980s and continued using them through 2012, according to his attorneys. He was diagnosed with nonHodgkins lymphoma in 2015.



Tyler Barker

Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.com


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