Last Month, a federal jury ordered Monsanto, subsidiary of Bayer, to pay US$80 million to a 70-year-old Californian man with cancer, who had used its weed killer product Roundup for three decades on his land. The jury found that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in causing the man’s cancer. This was the second case Monsanto lost.
The first court case against Monsanto was held in a California state court last Aug. The court ruled that Roundup had caused the terminal cancer of a former school groundskeeper. The jury found that Monsanto had “acted with malice or oppression” and awarded the plaintiff US$289 million in damages. The damages were later reduced to US$78 million.
It turns out that it was Singapore’s Temasek Holdings which helped Bayer to acquire Monsanto. It was reported in Apr last year that Bayer sold 3.6 per cent stake to Temasek for 3 billion euros at 96.77 euros per share. The money is used as part of Bayer’s plan to takeover Monsanto. Together with its existing holding in Bayer, Temasek would then own about 4 percent in Bayer after the transaction. By Jun, with Temasek’s help, Bayer successfully acquired Monsanto to become the biggest seed and agricultural chemical maker in the world.
The active ingredient glyphosate used in Monsanto’s weed killer was classified by the World Health Organization as a probable human carcinogen in 2015. But Bayer continues to deny that Roundup could cause cancer and said on its website that the weed killer has been thoroughly tested, and “an extensive body of research” shows that products containing it “can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.”
More than 20 countries ban or restrict use of glyphosate
Glyphosate is by far the most widely used herbicide in the US, and probably worldwide. It is used on nearly every acre of corn, cotton and soybeans grown in the US.
But more than two dozen countries have banned or restricted its use. Among the latest – Los Angeles County announced last month that it was suspending use of glyphosate on county property until more is known about its health effects.
The following countries have issued outright bans on glyphosate, imposed restrictions or have issued statements of intention to ban or restrict glyphosate-based herbicides, including Roundup, over health concerns and the ongoing Roundup cancer litigation:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
On Singapore’s NEA website, it didn’t say anything about the use of glyphosate here.