A lawsuit claiming Monsanto Co.’s popular weed killer Roundup causes cancer was dealt a blow by a judge’s conclusions that the opinions of the experts testifying against it are “shaky,” a potentially devastating development for the case getting to trial.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria is the first judge to weigh in on the toxicity of the world’s most popular herbicide, the subject of a heated debate among scientists and regulators worldwide for more than 30 years. Any key witnesses who are cut from the lineup may profoundly shape the outcome of more than 300 lawsuits collected before the judge — all the cases in federal courts that seek to hold Monsanto liable for its failure to warn about the risks of using Roundup
The San Francisco judge heard from about a dozen witnesses including toxicologists, statisticians and an oncologist. But he took an especially keen interest in a couple of epidemiologists who study how humans contract disease.
“I do have a difficult time understanding how an epidemiologist in the face of all the evidence that we saw and heard last week” can conclude that glyphosate “is in fact causing” non-Hodgkin lymphoma in human beings, he said [March 14]. “The evidence that glyphosate is currently causing NHL in human beings” at current exposure levels is “pretty sparse,” he said.
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