Glyphosate Safety Studies Released by Bayer Online Amid Roundup Cancer Concerns
As part of a continuing effort to deny the link between exposure to Roundup and cancer, Bayer has posted results of several hundred studies on the chemical glyphosate and other ingredients in the widely used weedkiller, which the company acquired when it purchased Monsanto earlier this year.
Bayer launched its Transparency Initiative website on December 7, which will allegedly focus on the publication of studies about the safety of its crop science division. The site launched with 300 study summaries, most of which Bayer claims were conducted independently.
Publication of the studies comes as Bayer faces substantial investor concerns about the growing number of Roundup cancer lawsuits filed by former users of the weedkiller diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other health concerns.
Shortly after Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto was finalized, a California jury determined that the company should be forced to pay $289 million to a former school groundskeeper dying from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, after finding that Monsanto has withheld information for years about the risks associated with exposure to glyphosate. While the verdict was subsequently reduced to $78 million by the judge, the case has been widely regarded as a “bellwether” for how juries may respond to similar evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout nearly 10,000 other claims.
Bayer has faced mounting pressure from Wall Street, with the company’s stock price falling by 40% since the initial verdict, raising concerns about how the company will fare in the trials scheduled for federal and state courts nationwide next year.
In February 2019, the first federal Roundup lawsuit will go to trial, followed by another California state court case the following month and a series of Missouri state court cases later in the year, including a consolidated trial involving more than 15 different individuals diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma who are expected to go before a jury together in October 2019.
The publication of the studies appears to be part of a public effort to argue that Roundup is safe, even though the World Health Organization’s International Agency on Research for Cancer (IARC) and other experts have concluded that glyphosate to be a probable human carcinogen.
During the Roundup litigation, internal documents, known as the “Monsanto Papers,” revealed that the company has engaged in a lengthy campaign to control the disclosure of information about the potential health risks associated with glyphosate, indicating that it ghost-wrote supposedly independent studies, exerted undue influence on regulators in the U.S. and Europe, and suppressed negative findings that may impact the blockbuster weedkiller.
Jurors in the trial this summer, when the verdict was being reconsidered by the judge, said they found the evidence against Monsanto to be damning and its scientists and experts to be unconvincing, often avoiding answering questions about the chemical’s safety directly.
While Bayer has maintained that it intends to defend claims in court, if the manufacturer fails to negotiate Roundup settlements or otherwise resolve the litigation, thousands of trial dates may be set in courts nationwide in the coming years.
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