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In response to global concerns about the health risks from Roundup, officials in Montreal, which is the seventh most populous city in North America, indicate that they intend to ban the glyphosate-based weedkiller by the end of the year.
According to a report by CBC News in Canada, Laurence Lavigne-Lalonde, the executive committee member in charge of urban agriculture for Motreal, said the ban is due to the weed killer’s classification as a probable carcinogen.
Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, were linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015. Since then it has been banned in a number of countries and major cities. However, most cities which have banned its use have only done so for city contractors, meaning residents could still use it.
Montreal officials say their ban would be total, barring its use anywhere in the city for any reason, and they hope other municipalities in Quebec, Canada, will follow suit.
The city already has stiff restrictions on its use, and requires anyone using glyphosate-based products to have a permit.
The announcement comes after Austria voted to ban glyphosate-based weed killers like Roundup earlier this summer, and just days after the German government issued a press release announcing it would end glyphosate use nationwide by the end of 2023.
In the United States, Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary face about 20,000 Roundup lawsuits brought by individuals nationwide, each raising similar allegations that users developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma or other forms of cancer after repeated exposure to the weedkiller.
To help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation, three “bellwether” cases have gone to trial in state and federal courts over the last year, each ended with massive verdicts against Bayer and Monsanto as a result of the failure to warn about the health risks associated with Roundup.
A second trial was held in federal court earlier this year, resulting in a verdict of $80 million, despite a format that was widely thought to heavily favor the manufacturer.
Finally, a third trial concluded in May with a landmark $2 billion verdict in California state court, after considering evidence in a lawsuit brought by a husband and wife who were each diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma following use of Roundup. A Judge later upheld the verdict, but reduced the award to $86.7 million.
In the federal court system, all claims are currently centralized for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). However, most of the cases are filed in state courts nationwide.
Judge Chhabria has ordered the parties into mediation to see if a Roundup settlement agreement can be reached. However, the manufacturer still does not provide consumers with warnings about the health risks from Roundup exposure, leading some analysts to question the extent of liability Bayer may face in future claims.