The world is a wash with news of a law suit filed by a 70 year old cancer patient accusing manufacturers of Roundup, a popular weed killer of causing him cancer.

In its ruling on Tuesday, 19th March, a, San Francisco federal jury unanimously agreed that Roundup caused a man’s cancer — a potentially massive blow to the company that produces the glyphosate-based herbicide currently facing hundreds of similar lawsuits.

After five days of deliberation the jury concluded the weed killer was a “substantial factor” in causing non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Edwin Hardeman, a 70-year-old Sonoma County man.

The verdict is the second in the U.S. to find a connection between the herbicide’s key ingredient, glyphosate, and the disease. In August, another San Francisco jury determined Roundup had caused cancer in a former groundskeeper. It also decided Monsanto, the company that developed the popular weed killer, deliberately failed to warn consumers or regulators about the product’s risks.

In that case, jurors awarded the plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson $289 million. However a judge later slashed the damages payout to $78 million.

The German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer bought Monsanto in June

In a recent meta-analysis by researchers at the University of Washington found that being “highly exposed” to glyphosate — found in common weed killers like Roundup — increases a person’s cancer risk by 41 percent.

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide around the world.

In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

This, IARC wrote, was based on “limited” evidence of cancer in humans (from real-world exposures that actually occurred) and “sufficient” evidence of cancer in experimental animals (from studies of “pure” glyphosate). 

IARC also concluded there was “strong” evidence for genotoxicity, both for “pure” glyphosate and for glyphosate formulations.

In March 2017, California added gyphosate to its list of chemicals to cause cancer.

In the recent study, the Washington researchers conducted a new meta-analysis that included the most recent update of the Agricultural Health Study cohort published in 2018, along with five case-control studies, using the highest exposure groups when available in each study.

The researchers also included a 2018 agricultural health study that found “glyphosate was not statistically significantly associated with cancer” even though there was an increased risk of acute myeloid leukemia among those who used it the most.

The most recent findings, published in the online journal Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research, says the link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma is stronger than previously thought.

“Our analysis focused on providing the best possible answer to the question of whether or not glyphosate is carcinogenic,” senior author Lianne Sheppard, a professor in the UW departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Biostatistics, said in a press release. “As a result of this research, I am even more convinced that it is.”

Bayer, which bought glyphosate-maker Monsanto, has adamantly rejected any cancer claims and said the new study is “flawed” and uses “cherry-picked data” in a statement to Carey Gillam, a journalist and researcher for U.S. Right to Know, who wrote about the new findings in the Guardian. By Markson Omagor