U.S. judge allows lawsuits over Monsanto's Roundup to proceed to trial

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A trial is underway this week in California as witnesses will begin to testify in the first case alleging that Monsanto's Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said evidence that the active ingredient in Roundup - glyphosate - can cause the disease seemed "rather weak".

The company had told Chhabria in March that none of the plaintiffs' specialists fulfilled scientific or legal requirements for admissibility and urged the judge to dismiss the cases.

This case is a separate one from a class-action suit that involves more than 300 plaintiffs who argue that their exposure to Monsanto's weed killer caused them to also develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Monsanto is now facing hundreds of lawsuits, many of which were filed after that 2015 announcement.

"[There is] absolutely no connection between glyphosate and cancer", Monsanto said in a statement.

"The scientific evidence is overwhelming that glyphosate-based products do not cause cancer", stated Monsanto attorney George Lombardi. Farmers in California, the most agriculturally productive state in the US, use it on more than 200 types of crops. Chhabria is presiding over more than 400 of them. As a result, the European Union relicensed its use for gardens and farms earlier this year. "The best study of human beings who, like Mr. Johnson, are licensed pesticide applicators, concludes that glyphosate has no association with non-Hodgkin lymphoma".

"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.

A California man dying of cancer makes his case to a jury on Monday in a trial against agrochemical giant Monsanto that could have sweeping ramifications, news agency AFP reported.

Monsanto developed glyphosate in the 1970s, and the weed killer is now sold in more than 160 countries. A draft report by the agency previous year concluded the herbicide is not likely to be carcinogenic to people.

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