Big US retailers stick by Roundup after cancer verdict

Top U.S. retailers such as Home Depot, Target, Walmart and Amazon are sticking by Monsanto’s controversial weedkiller Roundup one week after a California jury awarded a school groundskeeper $289 million for proving the spray caused him to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Since the verdict last Friday, only one UK-based retailer – HomeBase -- announced that it will be reviewing the sale of product.

Most big U.S. retailers who sell the product are either staying mum on the issue or following regulations regarding its sale.

In a statement to FOX Business, a Home Depot spokesperson said the company follows all regulatory guidelines regarding the sale of Roundup, and that they plan to continue to sell these products going forward. However, the company will “offer alternative options” for those who have doubts.

Others retailers including Target, Walmart and Amazon declined to comment on the news, but all of them continue to sell the product on their websites.

Bayer, the new owner of Monsanto, released a full statement on Thursday defending the spray, saying it “believes that the jury’s decision is at odds with the weight of scientific evidence, decades of real world experience and the conclusions of regulators around the world that all confirm glyphosate is safe and does not cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been under scrutiny for years. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, identified the ingredient as a “probable carcinogen.” Monsanto has adamantly denied those claims.

The company’s Vice President Scott Partridge released a statement following the verdict last week saying that despite the jury’s decision, it “does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews – and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world – support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer.”

Still, after weeks of testimony from several experts on both sides, a jury concluded that Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro products presented a “substantial danger” to terminally ill 46-year-old Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, who became sick after using the spray for more than two years.

Jurors also believed the company knew or should have known about the potential risks the products posed.

Johnson’s case is the first of a long list of about 4,000 people looking to sue the weedkiller maker for similar allegations.

Bayer added that the jury’s verdict is “just the first step in this case,” and it remains subject to post-trial motions in the trial court, as well as an appeal already announced by Monsanto.

“As this case proceeds, Bayer believes courts ultimately will find that Monsanto and glyphosate were not responsible for Mr. Johnson’s illness,” the company said.

A Monsanto spokesperson declined to comment to FOX Business on whether the verdict has impacted sales or relationships with retailers.