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11 August 2018, 11:46 | Joann Bryant
US jury orders Monsanto to pay $289m in Roundup trial
The maker of Roundup weedkiller has insisted British consumers are safe to use the product after a USA jury backed a groundsman's claim the pesticide contributed to his terminal cancer. Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after spraying Roundup weed killer for two and a half years and sued the company, saying Roundup caused his cancer.
Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto at the Superior Court Of California in San Francisco, on August 10, 2018. He sprayed large quantities from a 50-gallon (about 3.8 litres) tank attached to a truck, and during gusty winds, the product would cover his face, saidBrent Wisner, one of his attorneys. "I hope it gets the attention that it needs".
Johnson, 42, worked as a groundskeeper and used Roundup, an herbicide, along with Ranger Pro, another Monsanto product, according to the report.
In an emailed response, the firm said: "While Bayer and Monsanto continue to operate independently, Bayer believes that the jury's verdict is at odds with the weight of scientific evidence that the use of glyphosate is not associated with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma".
However, Monsanto has denied the link between Roundup's active ingredient, glyphosate, and cancer, and will appeal the decision.
"Monsanto made Roundup the oxycontin of pesticides and now the addiction and damage they caused have come home to roost", said Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group, a USA environmental organization that researches toxic chemicals and advocates for corporate accountability. "There's 4,000 other cases filed around the United States and there are countless thousand other people out there who are suffering from cancer because Monsanto didn't give them a choice ..."
Once, when a hose broke, the weed killer soaked his entire body. The jury recommended Monsanto pay Johnson over 289 million dollars in total.
On its website, Monsanto describes its offerings as "crop production products such as Roundup®herbicides, that enjoy a risk-free history in more than 100 countries".
"We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family", Partridge said.
Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson, shown on July 9, listening to his attorney speak about his condition during the Monsanto trial in San Francisco.
According to his attorneys, Johnson read the label and even contacted the company after developing a rash but was never warned it could cause cancer. And California has added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.
Cancer Council Australia chief executive officer Sanchia Aranda said the International Agency for Research on Cancers has classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
Environmentalists in India have forcefully argued that the indiscriminate use of glyphosate poses a grave challenge in India, where the regulatory framework on herbicide and pesticide overuse/misuse is weak.
Glyphosate is the most common weedkiller in the world, and the safety of its use has been a topic of hot debate for some years.
A California jury found Monsanto acted with "malice" and that its weed killers Roundup and the professional grade version RangerPro contributed "substantially" to Dewayne Johnson's terminal illness.
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