A jury in Oakland, California, awarded an unprecedented $2.055B sum to Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a California couple who say their cancer was caused by long-term exposure to Monsanto’s weed killer, Roundup.
A little Roundup roundup for ya
From home gardens to crop lines, Roundup has become the world’s most widely used weed slayer — profiting $892m in 2017 alone.
For years, we’ve watched our parents spray the front-yard uglies with that green Roundup spray bottle. But it’s not the branding that poisons the weeds, it’s the herbicide’s secret ingredient, glyphosate.
But over the years, Monsanto’s flagship weed supremacist has been suspected of fighting many organisms in its path — moonlighting as a multipurpose poison: herbicide by day, humanicide by night… and, well, also day.
‘There isn’t reliable scientific evidence’ — Bayer
Bayer, which acquired the pesticide giant last year, has repeatedly declared that the chemical is safe, and health regulators worldwide have (sort of) come to the same conclusion.
But the Pilliods, who doused their Northern California property with Roundup for decades before both being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma between 2011 and 2015, disagree.
So do the 2 San Francisco men who collectively received $158m after claiming Roundup contributed to their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. And what about the thousands of additional lawsuits currently backlogged in state and federal courts for similar reasons?
The root of this weed goes deeper: In 2017, court documents suggested Monsanto had ghostwritten research, later credited to academics/regulators, claiming glyphosate was indeed not carcinogenic — making it really hard to be unbiased here, Monsanto…
A giant in the weeds
The Pilliods’ verdict includes more than $55m in compensatory damages to the couple and $2B in punitive damages (a billion each). In other words, the courts were itchin’ to punish some pests themselves.
But this isn’t Monsanto’s first Roundup rodeo, and they’re already appealing the Pilliods’ payout — which could sharply reduce the payout or even overturn the ruling.
Weed killer? More like buzzkiller.