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Viewpoint: Monsanto is no victim, but Roundup-cancer verdict isn’t backed by science

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

At the outset, let’s stipulate — as the lawyers might say — that the chemical giant Monsanto is not well cast as a victim.

That’s become relevant to the question of whether glyphosate or its blockbuster formulation, Roundup …. caused the non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer, that is killing DeWayne Johnson. He’s the 46-year-old Vallejo groundskeeper who won a $289-million verdict against Monsanto ….

[T]he verdict is bad news: It’s a sign that juries are unable to weigh scientific evidence in cases where that evidence is key …. On the surface, the Johnson jury found that glyphosate more likely than not contributed to Johnson’s cancer. But that’s a questionable conclusion, for the simple reason that the scientific evidence that glyphosate can cause cancer, especially lymphatic cancer, is sketchy at best — and, according to one huge study of herbicide use in the U.S., nonexistent. Medical science doesn’t actually know what causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which means that tying it to glyphosate could hardly be a scientific judgment.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Mining phosphate to produce Bayer's Roundup weed killer could contaminate environment 'for years to come'

Read full, original articleMonsanto’s ethics are questionable, but the $289-million verdict against it is still unjustified

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