Judge delays glyphosate lawsuit after study of 45,000 people finds no link to cancer

| | January 12, 2018

In October 2016, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all federally-filed Roundup lawsuits into one court in the Northern District of California. These are all cases filed by plaintiffs who claim that after using the herbicide for an extended period of time, they developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) or a similar type of cancer.

To help the cases proceed as efficiently as possible, [District Judge Vince] Chhabria previously bifurcated the proceedings, ordering the court to focus first on establishing a link between Roundup and its main herbicide, glyphosate, and cancer. The parties were told to address this issue first before considering any other issues of concern.

To that end, the court was supposed to proceed with Daubert hearings in December 2017. A Daubert hearing is one in which the judge determines the admissibility of expert or scientific testimony and evidence. The outcome determines which evidence or testimony will be presented to a jury in the future.

Related article:  How should we evaluate impact of substituting glyphosate for more toxic herbicides?

A recent scientific study, however, has caused the court to delay the Daubert hearing in this consolidated litigation.

The study that precluded the delay was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on November 9, 2017.

They found that among over 54,000 applicators, nearly 45,000 used glyphosate, and 5,779 were diagnosed with cancer. Overall, however, glyphosate was not statistically associated with cancer.

Read full, original post: In Light of New Glyphosate Study, Judge Delays Daubert Hearings

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

5 thoughts on “Judge delays glyphosate lawsuit after study of 45,000 people finds no link to cancer

  1. This is a perfect illustration of why epidemiological data should not be used to CONCLUDE that there is a causal relationship between an environmental variable and a particular disease (as much as the ambulance-chasers would like to assert this). Epidemiology is merely a potential starting point for mechanistic research.

    The domains of science and law are inherently incompatible, and lawyers should not get involved unless there is overwhelming supporting mechanistic information.

    Cancers are the second cause of death in America, and despite our understandable instinctive urge to find a culprit to blame when someone dies, the cause of most human cancers is still largely unknown. Sadly, people will develop all kinds of cancers regardless of whether they happen to have a numerically higher level of exposure to a particular environmental factor, or not.

  2. I used to have frequent arguments with a lawyer friend about the theory of evolution. Despite my efforts to explain the concept of scientific consensus, he appeared to feel any single article or book he could find that claimed to refute evolution somehow automatically cancelled the overwhelming scientific consensus on evolutionary theory. I finally decided this was his lawyer mindset which told him he had found a piece of “evidence” which might impress an ignorant jury. I guess that’s the difference between scientists and lawyers: the scientific method is usually long and laborious with lots of peer review; the lawyer just needs enough evidence to convince a lay jury or, in the case of a defense attorney, sow a kernel of doubt.

    • Science is not a democracy. The number of votes a theory gets has nothing to do with its validity. Given that over half of peer-reviewed papers are found to be simply wrong, it’s actually a negative endorsement. I don’t believe in creationism or intelligent design, but I know that there are still some very big holes in the theory of evolution. It could easily be replaced by a substantially different theory that does a better job of explaining why some genes “survive” and others don’t.

      • If science were a democracy, all would be lost. The theory of evolution is supported by fewer than 20% of the American people according to a 2015 Gallup poll. Genetic engineering is considered safe for consumption by only 37% of the American public, whereas 88% of scientists belonging to the AAAS consider GMOs safe for consumption. A scientific consensus arises when there is overwhelming evidence for a theory, when the theory survives rigorous peer review, and, if possible, when it is reproducible by other scientists. Science is not a democracy, it is more of a technocracy where only the qualified, those with expertise, decide the consensus or non-consensus. Certainly even scientists make mistakes and are not immune to egotism. But the scientific process usually identifies bogus theories and bad science pretty quickly. Again, I and you as lay people are completely unqualified to doubt the scientific consensus and I certainly do not deserve a vote on the veracity of evolution or climate change. But I do get to vote for politicians who demonstrate openness to scientific knowledge and not blind adherence to religious dogma or views held by industry lobbyists.

    • Ha! Love it. One of my very best buds is an attorney, one of the best. However, I refuse to argue science with him. I argue points to find fact/truth. He argues to win.

Leave a Comment

 

News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.

Send this to a friend