The nation’s second trial of a Monsanto Roundup lawsuit continued this week in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, where the plaintiff took the stand on Tuesday.
During his testimony, Edwin Hardeman, 77, told the jury that he used the glyphosate-containing herbicide for nearly three decades, first for three years at his residence in Gualala, California. Then for another 25, following the move to his 56-acre property in Santa Rosa.
“It was a regular part of my maintenance,” he said, according to The Guardian. “I enjoyed doing it … I wanted to make sure I was going to get everything up to my own personal standards.”
Sometimes the wind would blow Roundup onto his skin, Hardeman said. Occasionally, he felt as though he was breathing it in.
Hardeman stopped using Roundup in 2012, and noticed a swollen lymph node on his neck in December 2015. He received an official diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma the following year.
Bayer, which recently acquired Monsanto, insists that Roundup is safe and contends Hepatitis C could have caused Hardeman’s cancer. However, his Hepatitis C was cured by 2006.
The jury later heard from pathologist Dennis Weisenburger, an expert on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and cancer who testified for Hardeman.
“When you get Roundup on your skin … it will penetrate the cells of the skin, it will get into the tissues, it will then get into the lymph system and into the blood,” Weisenburger said.
“My opinion is that to the best of medical certainty, I believe that Roundup is a substantial cause of cancer in people who are exposed to it in the workplace or in the environment,” he continued.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto Roundup, is the most popular weed killer in the world.
But in March 2019, the World Health Organization’s International Research on Cancer (IARC) declared the chemical a probable human carcinogen. The designation followed and independent review that linked occupational exposure to cancer, especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and its subtypes.
Most recently, research published by “Mutation Research” tied glyphosate exposure to a 41% increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Monsanto was highly critical of the IARC review, and has since played a major role in much of the research that contradicted the group’s findings on glyphosate and cancer. So, it wasn’t at all surprising when Bayer called this latest study a “statistical manipulation” that suffered from “serious statistical flaws.”
Bayer currently faces over 11,000 Monsanto Roundup lawsuits in courts throughout the United States.
The Hardeman trial is the first in a federal multidistrict litigation that includes nearly 800 claims. As a bellwether case, the verdict could provide insight into how other juries might decide similar lawsuits.
The nation’s first Monsanto Roundup trial concluded last August, when a San Francisco Superior Court jury awarded $289 million to a former groundskeeper with terminal non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, the trial judge reduced the verdict to $78 million, after finding that the jury’s punitive damage award exceeded California’s constitutional limits.