News from the Courtroom: Glyphosate

A federal court hearing in San Francisco is turning the public spotlight onto the science surrounding the safety of one of the world’s most widely used pesticides, a weed killing chemical called glyphosate (branded Roundup) that has been linked to cancer and is commonly found in our food and water and even in our own bodily fluids.  More than 3000 plaintiffs suing Monsanto allege that exposure to Roundup caused them or their family members to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Plaintiffs claim that there’s a link between Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Two experts called to the stand contended that the study linking glyphosate and cancer has “serious issues and flaws” and should not be given much weight by the judge, who has to decide which scientific evidence a jury should consider if the case makes it to trial. The research at issue, the Agriculture Health Study, investigated risks associated with pesticides among users in North Carolina and Iowa over several decades. The study was backed by the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health.

The judge presiding over the case for the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, actively questioned witnesses about their research. A pathologist said research showed about 60 percent of farmers had glyphosate in their urine after a day of application.  A decision is expected in the next few months.