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Roundup Health Risks May Go Far Beyond Cancer, Editorial Warns

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Amid increasing concerns worldwide about the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which has led several governments to ban the controversial weedkiller and resulted in thousands of lawsuits throughout the U.S., a new report indicates that cancer is just one of the many emerging health concerns linked to long-term exposure to the glyphosate-based weedkiller.

In an editorial published by Bloomberg News on June 5, a number of other potential Roundup health risks are highlighted, including liver damage, kidney damage, water pollution and birth defects.

The editorial was written by Mark Buchanan, a physicist and science writer, and comes just a couple weeks after a study published by University of California San Diego researchers warned that glyphosate could increase the risk of liver disease.

It also comes as Bayer and its recently-acquired Monsanto subsidiary face more than 15,000 Roundup lawsuits brought by individuals nationwide, each raising similar allegations that users of the weedkiller developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma following repeated exposure.

“Cancer may only be part of the story,” Buchanan wrote in Bloomberg. “Studies over the past decade suggest that glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – pollutes water sources, hangs around in soil far longer than previously suspected, and routinely taints human food supplies.”

While regulators in both the U.S. and the E.U. say the levels of glyphosate detected in human food supplies are safe, the editorial claims their methodologies and science are outdated, and notes that a number of studies have been published that suggest Roundup exposure can cause generational damage.

That comes from a study published in Scientific Reports in April, which cited animal testing which found a dramatic increase in pathologies among the grand children and great grandchildren of female rats exposed to the herbicide.

Roundup Cancer Litigation

In recent years, most of the concerns about health risks from Roundup have focused on non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other cancers diagnosed among farmers, landscapers and other consumers who regularly used the weedkiller.

State and federal courts in California have held three trials over the last year, to determine whether the companies were liable for plaintiffs’ non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Bayer and Monsanto have lost all three.

The first trial was held in California state court last summer, ending in a $289 million jury verdict, which was later reduced to a final judgment of about $78 million following post-trial motions.

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 last month 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.

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.

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