Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Monsanto is found guilty in Roundup trial

Monsanto is found guilty in Roundup trial

One of the UK's largest DIY retailers is reviewing the sale of Roundup weedkiller products amid mounting concerns about their use, after a U.S. jury found the herbicide had caused a terminally ill man's cancer.

The claimant, groundsman Dewayne Johnson, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014.

Mr Johnson's lawyer, Brent Wisner, said the jury's verdict showed that the evidence against the product was "overwhelming". Hopefully this thing will start to get the attention it needs.

A San Francisco court was told how Dewayne Johnson has a terminal form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma which he claims developed after he worked as a pest control manager at a school.

Speaking to reporters after the verdict, Monsanto VP Scott Partridge said that the company will appeal and continue to "vigorously defend" the herbicide.

Monsanto, a subsidiary of German firm Bayer AG, has denied glyphosate is linked to cancer, saying hundreds of studies have found the product to be safe.

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The verdict against the corporation sends a clear "message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup is over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits".

"'We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family", Partridge said.

In one instance a hose broke and the weed killer soaked his entire body.

Following eight weeks of trial proceedings, the San Francisco jury ordered Monsanto to pay $250 million in punitive damages along with compensatory damages and other costs, bringing the total figure to almost $290 million.

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".

As Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a lawyer representing Johnson in the case, declared on Twitter, the court "awarded 200 million in punitive damages against Monsanto for 'acting with malice and oppression'".

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Four years later Johnson - now near death, according to his doctors - has been awarded a staggering sum of $289 million dollars in damages in a case against agricultural giant Monsanto.

Johnson read the label and even contacted the company after developing a rash but was never warned it could cause cancer, Wisner said.

"Its most common use in United Kingdom farming is to kill weeds in the autumn before seeds are planted".

The World Health Organisation classified the herbicide as "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. But that issue was sidestepped during the trial, as Johnson's lawyers argued that his cancer was caused by the combination of glyphosate and other chemicals present in Roundup.

"You not only see many people injured, you see the corruption of public officials, the capture of agencies that are supposed to protect us from pollution and the falsification of science".

"Today's decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews - and conclusions by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US 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".

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