USA judge allows lawsuits over Monsanto's Roundup to proceed to trial

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Writing that "a reasonable jury could conclude" that the herbicide in Monsanto's Roundup can cause a form of cancer, a federal judge says liability lawsuits against the company should proceed, siding with plaintiffs against an effort to quash the litigation.

The plaintiffs will next have to prove Roundup caused cancer in specific people whose cases will be selected for test trials, a phase Chhabria in his Tuesday opinion called a "daunting challenge".

Lawyers for a school groundskeeper dying of cancer asked a San Francisco jury on Monday to find that agribusiness giant Monsanto's widely used weed killer Roundup likely caused his disease.

Monsanto denies the allegations and in a statement said it would continue to defend the lawsuits with evidence proving there is "absolutely no connection between glyphosate and cancer".

But he said a sensible jury could conclude, based on the results of four experts he allowed, that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans.

Many government regulators have rejected a link between the active ingredient in Roundup and cancer.

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The ingredient in question is glyphosate, which California added to a list of chemicals known to cause cancer just previous year. The California state judge who handles the most Roundup cases posted to her docket that she was attending the hearings before Chhabria in March.

A federal judge in Sacramento in February blocked California from requiring that Roundup carry a label stating that it is known to cause cancer, saying the warning is misleading because nearly all regulators have concluded that there is no evidence glyphosate is carcinogenic.

"When you look at the body of epidemiological literature on this topic, there's no evidence of a positive association between glyphosate and National Hockey League risk", she said of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Farmers in California, the most agriculturally productive state in the US, use it on more than 200 types of crops. Homeowners use it on their lawns and gardens. But the World Health Organization in 2015 classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans".

Monsanto also pointed to sections of the opinion that questioned the plaintiffs' evidence.

The weed-killer contains glyphosate, a chemical that the US Environmental Protection Agency ruled was not carcinogenic in September.

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