Under the terms of an agreement announced Wednesday, seed and agribusiness giant Bayer will pay up to $10.9 billion to resolve lawsuits that accuse its Roundup herbicide of causing cancer, and an additional $400 million to settle litigation claiming crop damage caused by its dicamba weedkiller from 2015 to 2020.
Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, poses no threat to human health when used as directed and is unlikely to cause cancer, said the EPA in an interim decision on Thursday. Environmental groups denounced the decision as faulty.
Chiding California regulators for "misleading labeling requirements," the EPA told herbicide makers to remove cancer warnings from containers of glyphosate, the most widely used weedkiller in the world, in a step that would benefit seed and ag chemical giant Bayer. Meanwhile, a court-appointed mediator dismissed as "pure fiction" a report that the German company offered $8 billion to settle all U.S. lawsuits against Roundup, Bayer's glyphosate-based herbicide.
The GMO wheat discovered growing wild in a Washington State field this spring actually sprouted from two different strains developed by Monsanto, the USDA announced over the weekend. Genetically engineered wheat is not approved for cultivation anywhere in the world, yet "volunteer" herbicide-resistant plants have been confirmed four times in the U.S. Northwest more than a decade after field trials ended.
The USDA has never approved cultivation of genetically engineered wheat, yet for the fourth time since April 2013 a wheat strain resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate was found growing wild in the northwestern United States. The discovery could disrupt wheat exports and it raises questions about USDA's ability to police agricultural biotechnology.
Farmers have been using the weed killer glyphosate – a key ingredient of the product Roundup – at soaring levels even as glyphosate has become increasingly less effective and as health concerns and lawsuits mount. Nationwide, the use of glyphosate on crops increased from 13.9 million pounds in 1992 to 287 million pounds in 2016, according to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey. (No paywall)
In a bellwether trial, a federal jury found Monsanto liable for causing blood cancer in a man who used its Roundup weedkiller, and awarded the man, Edwin Hardeman, more than $80 million in damages, said The Recorder.
In a trial that could serve as a bellwether for other cases, a federal court jury decided unanimously that a Monsanto herbicide was a substantial factor in causing cancer in Edwin Hardeman, of Santa Rosa, Calif, reported the Guardian. In the next phase of the trial, the jury will weigh liability and whether to award damages against Monsanto.
Last week’s $289-million verdict against Monsanto was a stunner. How might it affect the more than 4,000 other plaintiffs facing off against the agrichemical giant on charges that the company’s popular herbicide Roundup causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a common cancer that will likely kill nearly 20,000 people in the U.S. this year? (No paywall)