Agriculture giant Monsanto has faced years of controversy and lawsuits because of the corporation’s research and development of chemicals, genetically modified seeds and crops, and other innovations aimed at farmers around the world.
Now, Federal Judge Vince Chhabria will be ruling over a case examining the herbicide Roundup, developed by Monsanto containing the chemical glyphosate, which faces claims that it causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Glyphosate was developed by Monsanto in the 1970s and Roundup has remained one of the most popular and widely available herbicides in the world. Both farmers and homeowners use Roundup to keep weeds away. Monsanto even sells genetically modified seeds that are glyphosate resistant.
Lawsuit after lawsuit quickly followed with many claiming that Monsanto willingly deceived consumers.
Even though the EPA determined that the chemical is safe, a slew of international agencies have reviewed and evaluated the herbicide based on its harmful side-effects.
Monsanto denies any wrongdoing, stating that hundreds of studies found the chemical safe and that there is no basis to claims that its a carcinogen.
“There are more than 800 published studies — scientific, medical and peer-reviewed — which demonstrate that glyphosate is safe and there is no association whatsoever with any form of cancer,” Scott Partridge, vice president of strategy at Monsanto told the Associated Press.
Chhabria isn’t determining whether or not glyphosate causes cancer. Instead, the judge is conducting his own review to determine if the studies that have been conducted on the chemical do in fact prove that it’s safe to consumers.
The federal judge has to determine if there is a significant body of evidence to back claims that the chemical causes cancer.
Part of this decision is dependant on whether or not Chhabria will allow testimony from the doctors and epidemiologists of those accusing Monsanto of hiding evidence that the chemical was a carcinogen.
Without testimony from personal doctors, it will be difficult to convince a jury.
Chhabria’s review is still underway, and the results could mean a huge payout by Monsanto and major steps to properly label glyphosate in herbicides as a known carcinogen, depending on the final ruling.