May 14 (UPI) — A California jury awarded $2 billion in damages Monday to a couple who were both diagnosed with cancer after using Roundup weedkiller for decades.
The Alameda County Superior Court jury voted 11-1 to order Bayer AG to pay $1 billion to both Alva Pilliod, 76 and Alberta Pilliod, 74, as well as $18 million and $37 million respectively in additional damages for pain and suffering and economic loss.
The jury also unanimously found that Monsanto Co. — the company that makes Roundup and was purchased by Bayer AG last year — should be punished for failing to tell customers that the herbicide was dangerous.
Alberta Pilliod said she and her husband wouldn’t have used the weedkiller if they were aware of the health risks and that the companies ads led them to believe it was “incredibly safe to use.”
Her husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011 and she was also diagnosed with the cancer in 2015 after they had applied Roundup once a week, nine months out of the year for 30 years on properties they owned.
Bayer issued a statement Monday, saying it was disappointed with the ruling as it conflicts with an Environmental Protection Agency decision that glyphosate — the substance linked to the couple’s diagnosis — is not carcinogenic.
“We have great sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod, but the evidence in this case was clear that both have long histories of illness known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodkin’s lymphoma (NHL),” the company said. “Most NHL has no known cause, and there is not reliable scientific evidence to conclude that glyphosate-based herbicides were the ‘but for’ cause of their illnesses as the jury was required to find in the case.”
Bayer added that it would appeal the verdict, the third such ruling against the company.