An expert witness called by attorneys representing a woman who claimed she developed a rare type of cancer because she used Monsanto Corporation’s Roundup weed killer for many years called into question the veracity of the evidence presented by a defense attorney.
Dr. Beate Ritz, a UCLA School of Public Health epidemiologist, told a jury in a St. Louis County, MO courtroom on April 27 that a chart displayed by the defense that attempted to prove that Roundup doesn’t cause cancer is inaccurate, the St. Louis Record reported.
Plaintiff Sharlean Gordon alleges that as a child, she was frequently exposed to Roundup, which features glyphosate as the active ingredient, the most widely sprayed herbicide worldwide. She claims that exposure caused her to develop large B-cell lymphoma, otherwise known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Diagnosed with NHL in 2006 when she was 39, Gordon has undergone several treatments and was told by doctors in 2009 that her cancer was in remission.
Gordon is seeking damages for medical bills, anxiety and suffering caused by the disease, including the continuing worry that it could recur. Her case is unusual in that she was exposed to Roundup at a young age, whereas tens of thousands of people who filed Roundup cancer claims were exposed to it during adulthood.
According to the evidence presented by the defense attorneys, the chart indicated that commercial use of Roundup had sharply risen during the 1990s. Still, that increase was not accompanied by a similar rise in NHL cases. Instead, the chart showed a virtually horizontal line, indicating no increase in NHL cases.
However, when asked if the chart was accurate, Dr. Ritz stated that the chart was visually misleading and claimed that the number of NHL cases on the defense team’s chart could be manipulated. Furthermore, Ritz had created her own chart, which showed a corollary rise in NHL cases when Roundup use soared in popularity.
“There is an increased risk from the use of glyphosate,” Dr. Beate Ritz said, per St. Louis Record and Courtroom View Network, which streamed the trial live.
“I came to the conclusion that glyphosate caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), Ritz added.”
A specialist in environmentally-caused diseases, Ritz stated that she reached those conclusions based on her research on several glyphosate studies and that her position that glyphosate is a carcinogen has strengthened over the past eight years.
In 2020, Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto and its legal obligations in 2018, settled approximately 100,000 Roundup cancer lawsuits for over $10 billion. The settlement came after three high-profile consumer Roundup cancer jury trials in 2018 and 2019 all ended in plaintiff verdicts, with each plaintiff awarded tens of millions in damages.
After the Gordon case, three more Roundup cases are scheduled to begin trial in June.