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

Argentina's soybean industry uses huge quantitities of glyphosate

Tuesday's "decision. has no impact on future cases and trials because each one has its own factual and legal circumstances", Bayer said in a statement, adding that it stood behind science it says demonstrates glyphosate is safe.

A United States jury has found Bayer AG's glyphosate-based weed killer caused a man's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in a bellwether trial that may help determine the course of hundreds of similar cases. In Mr Johnson's case, the jury found Monsanto had "acted with malice or oppression" and awarded him US$289 million in damages.

Evidence is nearly certain to resurface that Monsanto ghostwrote scientific literature and influenced regulators to claim that Roundup is safe.

He was awarded $US289 million, but that was later reduced to $US78 million. We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and that the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer.

Bayer AG bought Monsanto past year for $63 billion and is now liable for claims against it.

In some areas of Argentina, which uses large quantities of glyphosate for its vast soybean crops, there are nearly daily clashes between concerned residents and farmers for whom the product is indispensible.

On Tuesday, a federal court jury in San Francisco ruled unanimously in a lawsuit against Monsanto.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the product and was classified in 2015 as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization.

Bayer shares were 12.5 percent lower at 1110 GMT, the biggest intraday loss in 16 years, wiping some 8 billion euros ($9.1 billion) off its valuation.

Activist investor Elliott already holds a stake of less than 3 percent in Bayer, Reuters disclosed previous year.

Bayer released the following statement on the Hardeman verdict.

Since Bayer's subsidiary, Monsanto, lost in last Aug's trial, investors have been viewing Bayer shares as high-risk stocks which they don't want to include in their portfolios.

"It seemed like this trial would go a little bit differently, it would be a little bit more fact-based, little bit more science-based", Berzhanin said. "Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup", they told the Wall Street Journal. Bayer bought St. Louis-based Monsanto, maker of Roundup, last year.

Federal judge Vince Chhabria is overseeing hundreds of Roundup lawsuits, according to the AP, and Hardeman's case is the first of three "bellwether trials" regarding glyphosate.

Brokerage Warburg lowered its recommendation to "Hold" from "Buy", arguing that the with the renewed setback upcoming glyphosate court cases would remain a drag on the share price.

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

In August 2018 a court suspended licenses for products containing glyphosate, which is widely used in Latin America's agricultural powerhouse, but a higher court lifted the ban the following month.

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