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Mother of cancer victim loses lawsuit against Bayer

October 6, 2021

The German chemical giant was sued by a US mother over claims that its Roundup weedkiller caused her child to die from a rare form of cancer.

Package of Roundup on shelf
US jury finds no evidence linking weedkiller with young boy's fatal illnessImage: Getty Images/AFP/J. Edelson

A US mother has lost a court battle against German chemical giant Bayer, lawyers said Tuesday. 

Destiny Clark had sued over claims that her young son developed cancer and died as a result of exposure to the company's weedkiller called Roundup. Bayer is the parent company of Monsanto which produces the herbicide.

Bayer plans to find glyphosate alternative

No causal link found

A Los Angeles jury found that there was no evidence linking the product with the young boy's fatal illness.

The primary ingredient in Roundup weedkiller is glyphosate, which has been classified by the World Health Organization as a "probable carcinogen."

Bayer expressed its sympathy for the young boy, Ezra Clark, and his family, but said in a statement: "The jury has carefully weighed the scientific evidence on this case and concluded that glyphosate is not the cause of his illness."

Lawyers for the Clark family are understood to be considering their legal options in terms of a possible appeal.

Bayer's legal woes

The German company has been plagued with legal issues since buying US agrochemical company Monsanto in 2018.

Alarm bells sounded when, in August of the same year, a California court awarded a dying groundskeeper $290 million in damages because there had been no warning that the product could cause cancer. Shares in Bayer plunged as a result.

Dewayne Johnson reacts after he was awarded $290-million in damages in 2018
Terminally ill Dewayne Johnson was awarded $290-million in damages in 2018 signaling the beginning of Bayer's legal nightmare after purchasing MonsantoImage: Getty Images/AFP/J. Edelson

The court decision came just weeks after the ink had dried on the Bayer-Monsanto deal and swamped the company with more legal claims.

In May, a US judge rejected Bayer's plans to set aside $2 billion (€1.64 billion) to settle future lawsuits relating to Roundup weedkillers.

There are around 30,000 users of the product who claim the product has made them sick.

kb/jsi (AFP, dpa, Reuters)