GERMAN chemical company, Bayer, will appeal the decision of a United States jury to grant a Pennsylvania man US$2.25 billion in damages for cancer he says was caused by glyphosate herbicide, Roundup.
John McKivison alleged his non-Hodgkins lymphoma was caused by prolonged use of Roundup at his residence.
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on Friday awarded Mr McKivison US$2B in punitive damages and $250 million in compensatory damages.
In a statement, Bayer called the damages awarded “unconstitutionally excessive”.
“We disagree with the jury’s adverse verdict that conflicts with the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence and worldwide regulatory and scientific assessments, and believe that we have strong arguments on appeal to get this verdict overturned,” the statement said.
“We have a winning record in the Roundup litigation – having won 10 of the last 16 cases at trial – and have resolved the majority of claims filed in this litigation.
“The company remains committed to taking cases to trial, as our track record demonstrates that we win when plaintiffs’ attorneys and their experts are not allowed to misrepresent the worldwide regulatory and scientific assessments that continue to support the products’ safety.”
This finding comes as Monsanto fights a class action in the Federal Court of Australia regarding the connection between NHL and Roundup usage.
Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018.
Monsanto claims Roundup and glyphosate-based herbicides have been rigorously tested in hundreds of studies and glyphosate is safe when used as directed and is not carcinogenic.
It argues that this is supported by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.
This action will be the first to test alleged connection between certain cancers and Roundup in an Australian court.
The evidence in the initial trial ran to October 2023 with closing arguments concluding this week.
The action was commenced by Kelvin McNickle who alleges that he developed NHL as a result of using Roundup at his property between 1976 and 2020.
On its website, the AVPMA says registered glyphosate products “are safe to use, provided they are used as per the label instructions”.
“Glyphosate is registered for use throughout the world and current regulatory assessment is that it does not pose a risk to humans when used according to the label instructions.”
GrainGrowers CEO Shona Gawel said glyphosate herbicides play an important role in safe food and fibre production.
“Glyphosate is widely used in the grains industry for weed control and has allowed growers to implement modern conservation agriculture methods,” Ms Gawel said.
“Low-till or no-till production has helped to reduce soil erosion by limiting cultivation, increasing soil carbon, and cutting emissions from fuel use.”
Ms Gawel said Australian growers are among the world’s lowest users of crop protection products and take the responsible use of chemicals very seriously.
“We understand consumer concerns and follow the science-based rules and guidelines established by the AVPMA for the safe use of chemicals in Australia.”
Late last year the EU Commission announced that it re-approved glyphosate for 10 years, following the favorable scientific assessments by its health and safety agencies, including the European Chemicals Agency and European Food Safety Authority.
National Farmers’ Federation chief executive Tony Mahar said the safety of glyphosate is backed up by a contemporary scientific evidence base.
“Australian agriculture relies on glyphosate as a safe and effective tool in the production of food and fibre, with its use in Australia underpinned by our world-leading regulator,” Mr Mahar said.