A common weed-killer chemical is at the heart of a $289 million cancer lawsuit against Monsanto.
A jury recently ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a plaintiff who alleged that his cancer was the result of using Roundup, the company's popular herbicide.
However, the trial outcome does not mean that glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — causes cancer.
Instead, the jury's ruling is based on their assertion that Monsanto intentionally kept information about Roundup's potential risks hidden from the public.
The science linking glyphosate and cancer is limited at best.
Last week, a jury in San Francisco ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a school groundskeeper who developed cancer after years of using Roundup, the company's popular herbicide. A scary-sounding report published by an environmental group shortly after the trial found traces of the chemical in dozens of everyday foods, from cereal to granola bars.
But the trial's outcome doesn't mean that Roundup — or its chief chemical, called glyphosate — causes cancer.
Instead, it means that members of the jury believed that Monsanto (which recently merged with chemical giant Bayer and announced plans to dissolve its name) intentionally kept information about glyphosate's potential harms from the public.
The lawsuit is just the first part of what could be a decades-long legal fight over glyphosate. Meanwhile, the science linking Roundup to cancer is limited at best, and only further research can change that.