Glyphosate Under Attack, Bayer Ready to Fight Back

August was not a good month for glyphosate and Bayer executives who recently finalized a $62.5 billion purchase of Monsanto and Roundup herbicide. Here’s why:

  • Monsanto lost a lawsuit in California in which a school groundskeeper was awarded $289 million with a claim that exposure to Roundup had contributed to his cancer.
  • A judge in Brazil moved to ban the use of glyphosate throughout the country until more toxicology studies are completed.
  • The California Supreme Court declined to hear Monsanto’s appeal to remove glyphosate from the state’s list of chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects.

Despite the month’s bad news, these cases are not closed, as legal maneuvers and appeals may mean one or more of these decisions gets overturned.

Verdict Stings Bayer

The $289 million that Monsanto was ordered to pay in California represents a huge legal headache for Bayer. In reaching its decision, the jury maintained Monsanto either knew or should have known about the potential risks of glyphosate.

Bayer says it will vigorously defend this verdict and other challenges to the use of Roundup. Unfortunately, this ruling is at odds with the EPA’s stance that glyphosate isn’t carcinogenic. Bayer officials also point out that more than 800 studies done over the past 40 years indicate glyphosate is a safe product.

In the first day of stock trading after the court ruling, Bayer shares dropped 10%, wiping $10.7 billion off Bayer’s market value. This was roughly 37 times the value of the California courtroom damages.

In Business

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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