An epidemiologist from Los Angeles has given testimony in a hearing in San Francisco on lawsuits claiming Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer can cause cancer. The lawsuit is focused on the product’s active ingredient: glyphosate.
Epidemiologist Beate Ritz said she believes glyphosate can cause cancer. Ritz elaborated on how she evaluated studies to reach her conclusion.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria will hear from experts over the next week to help determine whether there is enough evidence to support the claim that exposure to Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Monsanto (NYSE:MON), maker of Roundup weed killer, has denied claims that their product can cause cancer. The company says there are hundreds of studies that have found glyphosate to be safe.
Judge Chhabria is presiding over more than 300 lawsuits against the agribusiness giant. Cancer victims and their families say the company has known about glyphosate’s cancer risk, but has failed to warn them of the danger.
The judge will not determine whether there is a link to cancer, but whether the claim of a cancer link is widely accepted in the scientific community.
Monsanto developed Roundup weed killer in the 1970s. The pesticide is now sold in more than 160 countries. In the state of California, the product is used on more than 200 types of crops. Many homeowners also use Roundup to keep their gardens and lawns free of weeds.
Roundup became the target of lawsuits after the International Agency for Research on Cancer, based in France, came to the conclusion that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015. California has added the ingredient to the list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer.
A report from US News tells the story of Christine Sheppard, who used Roundup for years to control weeds on her coffee farm in Hawaii. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2003 and was given six months to live. While she is now in remission, she still experiences pain in her hands and legs from her cancer treatment. She blames Roundup for her illness.