The Bayer subsidiary Monsanto has denied any link between exposure to the herbicidal compound glyphosate and a type of cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), in opening statements in a trial that began Sept. 13 in a Missouri state court, Courtroom View Network reported. The agrochemical company brought the herbicide to market in 1974 under the brand Roundup.

In this latest Roundup cancer trial, plaintiff Mark McCostlin claims he developed NHL in 2017 at the age of 58 after years of spraying Roundup in his yard. McCostlin and tens of thousands of other plaintiffs have alleged that Monsanto knew that glyphosate poses a significant cancer risk but withheld that knowledge from the public to protect sales of what has become the world’s best-selling weed and grass killer. Monsanto was acquired by Bayer in 2018 for $63 billion, just one month before the first Roundup trial concluded, a jury trial that awarded Dewayne Lee Johnson, a former school groundskeeper, $80 million. The next two Roundup trials, held in 2018 and 2019, also returned large damage awards to three plaintiffs, for $289 million and $2 billion.  

Since those three well-publicized cases, all of which were tried in California, Bayer has paid $11 billion to resolve approximately 95,000 Roundup cancer claims, with 30,000 plaintiffs opting out of the settlement. Since the settlement, juries have returned defense verdicts in seven straight trials, held in California, Missouri and Oregon, finding Monsanto not liable for the plaintiffs’ cancer claims.

McCostlin’s case is the first Roundup trial since May 2022, which occurred in the same Missouri court and before the same judge as other cases. In opening statements, McCostlin’s attorney told jurors that McCostlin and his wife were initially puzzled as to why he had developed cancer. He realized the connection between glyphosate exposure and NHL after consulting with attorneys in 2019.

Monsanto’s attorney argued that attorney advertising has driven plaintiffs to file Roundup lawsuits based on faulty science and that there are no studies that demonstrably show a correlation between glyphosate exposure and lymphoma. 

Despite the attorney’s claims, there have been enough studies for the World Health Organization’s International Agency For Research on Cancer to conclude that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.”

Two more Roundup trials are set to begin in the next coming weeks, with one case due to begin at the end of September in San Diego. Days later, in early October, a Roundup trial will be held in the City of St. Louis, not far from Monsanto’s former corporate headquarters.

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