Mar. 12, 2018
Charles Jameson, a former member of the World Health Organization research body known as IARC, testified in federal court last Wednesday that he believes there's "credible evidence" glyphosate
causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in humans. Jameson was called to the stand in the third day of proceedings in a weeklong evidentiary hearing in a lawsuit claiming Monsanto's weed killer Roundup, whose active ingredient is glyphosate, causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In 2015, IARC, or the International Agency for Research on Cancer, listed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, prompting E.U. officials to consider banning the herbicide and litigation to be brought by cancer patients in the U.S.
Jameson, a world-renowned scientist who specialized in animal studies at IARC, reviewed additional research and concluded that glyphosate likely causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, based on experiments exposing mice to the chemical. Monsanto has questioned the reliability of IARC's study.
Potential weak spot: Judge Vince Chhabria, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, questioned how Jameson could make the leap from IARC's decision to concluding that glyphosate specifically causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"There's not an absolute statement to that effect," Jameson conceded, referring to the decision made by a collection of 18 scientists. At this stage in the case, Chhabria has to decide which scientific evidence a jury should consider if the case makes it to trial by vetting the qualifications and conclusions of experts on both sides.
Monsanto jabs back: During cross-examination, an attorney for Monsanto suggested it was not reliable to assume that something that's carcinogenic for animals translates to humans developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma if exposed to the same chemical. The attorney said the animals experimented with were exposed to higher levels of glyphosate than humans encounter. Jameson responded that it's widely accepted in the scientific community that if a chemical causes cancer in animals then it will very likely cause cancer in humans as well.
Timetable: The judge is expected to issue a decision in coming months.