Monsanto fined $289m in first Roundup cancer trial outcome

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto

The maker of Roundup weedkiller has insisted British consumers are safe to use the product after a U.S. jury backed a groundsman's claim the pesticide contributed to his terminal cancer.

A Californian jury ruled that Monsanto knew its Roundup and Rangerpro weedkillers contained harmful glyphosates that are unsafe to the public - and had failed to warn consumers of the health risks it presented. "Hopefully, this thing will get the attention it needs so folks can make a good choice".

"This verdict proves that when ordinary citizens, in this case a jury of 12, hear the facts about Monsanto's products, and the lengths to which this company has gone to buy off scientists, deceive the public and influence government regulatory agencies, there is no confusion", said Ronnie Cummins, OCA's worldwide director.

On Friday (Aug, 10), agricultural company Monsanto was deemed liable in a lawsuit filed by Johnson, who alleged that Roundup caused his cancer.

The German company, which owns agriculture giant Monsanto, says herbicides containing glyphosate are safe.

But George Lombardi, an attorney for Monsanto, said non-Hodgkin's lymphoma takes years to develop, so Johnson's cancer must have started well before he began working at the school district.

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".

When using the product in windy conditions it would come into contact with his face, while on one occasion he was left soaked in the weedkiller when a hose broke. It awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.

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Furthermore, the jury found Monsanto officials acted with "malice and oppression" in their selling of the product despite its risks being known.

The case of school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging glyphosate causes cancer. But he added that the court decision "does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews. support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr Johnson's cancer".

However, the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organisation, classified it as a "probable human carcinogen" in 2015.

Dressed casually, Johnson had a brief exchange with his lawyer when that figure was revealed, then bowed his head as another one of his lawyers patted him on the back and whispered to him.

Mr Johnson used the two products while carrying out the duties of his job, his lawyers said.

Jurors in California's Superior Court determined that Roundup contributed to Mr Johnson's cancer and said the company should have provided a label warning of the potential health hazard.

But the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to insist that glyphosate is safe when used carefully.In Europe, too, the battle over glyphosate has been fierce.

"The majority of our illnesses and losses to soil quality, water, wildlife and marine life are due to toxic chemicals, particularly Monsanto's most widely used glyphosate herbicides like Roundup and Ranger Pro".

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