A study released in March of this year may add to Bayer’s troubles as it faces over 11,000 lawsuits alleging a link between the main compound in its Roundup weed killer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The corporation has already lost three jury trials over the issue and pressure is mounting to reach some sort of settlement.
The study comes from the International Journal of Epidemiology and is the largest of its kind to date. It compiled data from over 300,000 farmers and others employed in agricultural industries in France, Norway, and the United States. The result was quite clear: there is a specific type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that comes from glyphosate exposure, although there is also an increased risk across the majority of all types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In the words of an attorney involved in at least one of the Roundup cancer trials, Bayer needs to “settle with their victims before the company drowns in this litigation.”
To that end, the corporation has agreed to work through mediation in its next matter as U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria cancelled a trial that had been scheduled to start later this month. Chhabria is the same judge who heard the Edwin Hardeman Roundup cancer trial in which a jury awarded the victim over $80 million. More than 700 additional Roundup cancer trials are waiting to be heard in Chhabria’s courtroom alone.
In cancelling the trial, Chabbria ordered the two parties to come together in agreement on a mediator but stated that if they were unable to do so, one would be appointed by the Court. Bayer, at least on the surface, appears to have accepted the order but continued to cite the “extensive body of reliable science supporting the safety of Roundup.” While the focus may be on mediation for this case in particular, the corporation stated that it “will also remain focused on defending the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides in court.”
The “science-based” refrain is all too common when it comes to Bayer’s communications regarding Roundup and glyphosate, even in the face of Dewayne Johnson’s successful use of internal documents proving that Monsanto (whom Bayer purchased for $63 billion) influenced, manipulated, and in some cases, even wrote some of those scientific reports themselves. Johnson’s case was the first to attack the source of the information used in Roundup’s defense and made it clear that the source of the information being used to assert a product’s safety is just as important as the information itself.