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Latest Roundup cancer trial against Monsanto begins in St. Louis County

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CLAYTON — Biotech giant Bayer and its subsidiary Monsanto have been trying for years to get out from under thousands of court cases alleging its weedkiller Roundup causes cancer.

This week, the fight came to St. Louis County.

Opening arguments started Wednesday for three people who say the herbicide's active ingredient caused them to develop non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma after using Roundup for years. Attorneys for Creve Coeur-based Monsanto, which was purchased by Bayer in 2018, maintained that the product did not cause cancer. 

It's the first case to go to trial since the U.S. Supreme Court last month rejected a bid by Bayer to end thousands of lawsuits, potentially paving the way for billions more in settlements.

The trial is expected to last several weeks and will contain reviews of studies and testimony from experts hired for each side.

Bayer has been dogged by similar lawsuits for years. The company has won at least four trials and has also lost multiple cases in which juries awarded millions of dollars in damages.

In a 2019 case that Bayer hoped to appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court, a California jury awarded roughly $80 million to a Sonoma County couple that regularly used Roundup for 26 years and contracted non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The award was later cut to $25 million.

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Katie Kull covers public safety for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She previously wrote about local government for the Springfield News-Leader. In her spare time, you can find her cooking, riding horses or spending time outdoors.

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