Second U.S. jury finds Bayer's Roundup caused cancer

Weedkiller glyphosate a 'substantial' cancer factor

Bayer shares plunged more than 12 percent after a second USA jury ruled that glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer", said Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018.

He alleged that exposure to the weed killer led to his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer that affects the immune system.

Evidence is nearly certain to resurface that Monsanto ghostwrote scientific literature and influenced regulators to claim that Roundup is safe.

The San Francisco court ruled in Johnson's favor last August, ultimately awarding him $78.5 million in damages and saying Monsanto "acted with malice, oppression or fraud" by not adequately warning customers about the carcinogenic dangers of its products, "and should be punished for its conduct".

In the next phase of the federal trial, Mr Hardeman's lawyers will present evidence, including internal Monsanto documents, that could show the company knew the dangers of Roundup and glyphosate and attempted to cover them up. Bayer now faces some 11,000 suits from cancer patients and their families, and its second loss paints a dire picture.

Glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto's weedkiller Roundup, is the subject of fierce controversy across the globe and is classified by the World Health Organization as "probably" being carcinogenic.

The stock drop during Wednesday morning trading on the Frankfurt exchange wiped out nearly $8 billion from Bayer's market value.

The unanimous decision in the US District Court in California found Roundup caused 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after he used it for almost 30 years to control weeds on his property. Together with its existing holding in Bayer, Temasek would then own about 4 percent in Bayer after the transaction.

Since Bayer's subsidiary, Monsanto, lost in last Aug's trial, investors have been viewing Bayer shares as high-risk stocks which they don't want to include in their portfolios.

The case was only the second of some 11,200 Roundup lawsuits to go to trial in the United States.

It's unclear how much the jury might award Hardeman in damages, if anything at all.

Under Chhabria's order, the second phase would only take place if the jury found Roundup to be a substantial factor in causing Hardeman's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Hardeman's trial is before a different judge and may be more significant.

A wave of lawsuits has put pressure on Bayer since its $63-billion takeover of Monsanto previous year, spooking investors who worry damages payouts could quickly mount into the billions if the firm fails to convince courts its product is safe.

As at yesterday's closing, Bayer's share price was 69.70 euros.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions.

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