First trial over Roundup weed killer cancer claim under way

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A federal USA judge on Tuesday allowed hundreds of lawsuits alleging that Monsanto Co's glyphosate-containing weed-killer Roundup causes cancer to proceed to trial, finding that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to hear the cases.

Beate Ritz, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, testified for the plaintiffs that her review of scientific literature led her to conclude that glyphosate and glyphosate-based compounds such as Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Brent Wisner, his attorney, told the court that Johnson sprayed large quantities of the herbicide from a tank that can hold as much as 50 gallons.

Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old father of two, says he is sick because of contact with Roundup, the top-selling weed killer made by the US company.

"Moving forward, we will continue to defend these lawsuits with robust evidence that proves there is absolutely no connection between glyphosate and cancer", Partridge said in a statement.

Many government regulators have rejected a link between cancer and the active ingredient in Roundup - glyphosate. After two years, Johnson developed lesions on his body - later diagnosed as Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

"The scientific evidence is overwhelming that glyphosate-based products do not cause cancer and did not cause Mr. Johnson's cancer", Lombardi said during his opening statement. Johnson is seeking unspecified damages against Monsanto.

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The company Monsanto faces 5,000 lawsuits across America as it's alleged that one of their products, Roundup - which is still sold in the United Kingdom - can cause cancer.

In 2015, the World Health Organization, however, classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans.

While Chhabria's ruling is not binding on them, state court judges have been closely following the federal litigation and expert hearings.

Roundup, made by United States giant Monsanto, is sprayed on gardens and parks and is used by farmers producing food crops.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded in September 2017 that the chemical is likely "not" carcinogenic to humans, provided it was used in accordance with label directions.

The judge wanted to determine whether the science behind the claim that Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma had been properly tested and met other requirements to be considered valid. He was never warned that the weed killer was harmful.

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