Agricultural Application Trends of Glyphosate in the United States According to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Data Credit from new ATSDR Report on Glyphosate
A French court has ruled that Monsanto was liable for the sickness of a farmer who inhaled one of its weed killers, in another legal setback for the Bayer-owned business over health claims, reports Reuters.
In the latest stage of a decade-long legal tussle, the appeals court in Lyon on Thursday found in favor of farmer Paul Francois’ claim that Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer had made him sick and that the product’s labeling had been inadequate. Francois, 55, says he suffered neurological problems, including memory loss, fainting and headaches, after accidentally inhaling Lasso in 2004 while working on his farm.
“Mr. Francois justifiably concludes that the product, due to its inadequate labeling that did not respect applicable regulations, did not offer the level of safety he could legitimately expect,” the court said in its ruling.
Another Reuters story reported that Bayer said it would comply with a U.S. federal judge’s order to enter mediation with a plaintiff who claims the company failed to warn against an alleged cancer risk from its Roundup weed killer. Bayer has seen $34 billion wiped off its market value since August, when a first U.S. jury found Bayer liable because Monsanto, the Creve Coeur-based company acquired by Bayer for $63 billion last year, had not warned of the alleged risk from Roundup, which is based on active ingredient glyphosate. It suffered a similar courtroom defeat last month and more than 10,000 cases are pending.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, who presided over the first two cases in federal court, said in a filing dated Thursday that Bayer and another plaintiff, Elaine Stevick, were ordered to start confidential mediation.
A third Reuters post reported that one of Bayer’s largest shareholders tore into the company’s management on Wednesday for underestimating the legal risks of its takeover of Monsanto, setting the stage for a fiery annual general meeting after a 30 percent plunge in the shares. “It’s quite drastic when a takeover triggers such value destruction and reputational damage so quickly. There can be no talk of a successful takeover anymore,” Ingo Speich, the head of sustainability and corporate governance at Deka Investment, told Reuters.
“What’s startling is that things have effectively moved beyond management’s control because we’re now at a point where the decisions over future development are made in court rooms,” he said, adding Bayer had clearly underestimated the risks.
Finally, a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), released the long-awaited Draft Toxicological Profile for Glyphosate. The report supports and strengthens the 2015 cancer assessment of another health agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
As the environmental group NRD Cnotes, a pattern is emerging: non-industry experts (Zhang et al 2019) and health agencies IARC and ATSDR are finding a link with glyphosate and cancer; whereas, regulatory agencies are lining up with Monsanto and Bayer that it does not cause cancer, even when reviewing the same scientific evidence.