First Monsanto Cancer Trial Begins

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Depending on how the Roundup trial plays out, it's expected that Johnson's suit, which he filed in 2016, could open the floodgates for many more similar suits against the biotech giant-up to at least 4,000 of them, according to the Chronicle. But he said a reasonable jury could conclude, based on the findings of four experts he allowed, that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans.

Lawsuits by more than 400 farmers, landscapers and consumers who claim Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a type of blood cell cancer, have been consolidated before Chhabria.

Many government regulators have rejected a link between cancer and glyphosate.

The judge wanted to determine whether the science behind the claim that glyphosate can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma had been properly tested and met other requirements to be considered valid.

Citing expert testimony from three doctors who spoke on plaintiffs' behalf, Chhabria wrote in his ruling, "the opinions of these experts, while shaky, are admissible".

The ingredient in question is glyphosate, which California added to a list of chemicals known to cause cancer just a year ago.

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The plaintiff's opening argument focusing on choice -- attorney Brent Wisner telling the jury Monsanto took away his client's ability to choose by not disclosing the potential dangers of Roundup weed killer. Farmers in California, the most agriculturally productive state in the US, use it on more than 200 types of crops.

However, Monsanto said there's no evidence of a connection between their product and cancer. Homeowners use it on their lawns and gardens.

But serious doubts remain as the World Health Organization in 2015 classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans".

A flurry of lawsuits against Monsanto in federal and state courts followed, and California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

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

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate is safe for humans when used in accordance with label directions.

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