Monsanto ordered to pay $289m to US glyphosate cancer victim

Monsanto ordered to pay $289m to US glyphosate cancer victim

A California jury ordered chemical giant Monsanto to pay almost $290 million Friday for failing to warn a dying groundskeeper that its weed killer Roundup might cause cancer.

In the past, Monsanto sued California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment for adding glyphosate to a list of cancer causing chemicals, and lost.

The company denies responsibility for how the military used the product. He worked at the time as a groundskeeper for the school district in Benicia, a suburb north of San Francisco.

Now, in this one case, through the suffering of one man, Monsanto's secretive strategies have been laid bare for the world to see. The California ruling could lead to hundreds of other claims against Monsanto.

"Today the jury confirmed what we have known since our investigation began - that Monsanto knew Roundup contained cancer-causing ingredients and failed to take this product off the shelf and protect consumers", said Micah Dortch of the Potts Law Firm, according to USA Today. There is no credible scientific evidence that demonstrates otherwise.

Monsanto says hundreds of studies have established that glyphosate is safe. The company often pushed its version of science into the public realm through ghostwritten work that was created to appear independent and thus more credible. "This won't cure DeWayne Lee Johnson's cancer, but it will send a strong message to a renegade company".

Jurors in San Francisco found on Friday that the company had acted with "malice" and that its weedkillers contributed "substantially" to Mr Johnson's terminal illness.

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In 2016, a joint report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations said that, while there was "some evidence of a positive association between glyphosate exposure and risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma" in some studies, the only large study of high quality found "no evidence of an association at any exposure level". Doctors have said he probably does not have long to live. His victory may set the precedent for many others.

The lawsuit is the first to accuse the product of causing cancer, but observers say a Monsanto defeat likely opens the door to thousands of other claims against the company, which was recently acquired by Germany's Bayer.

Monsanto maintains it has done nothing wrong, and that the evidence has been misrepresented.

Plaintiff DeWayne Johnson hugs one of his lawyers after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto at the Superior Court Of California in San Francisco, California. In the meantime, his wife, Araceli, works two jobs to support the couple and their two young sons as Johnson prepares for another round of chemotherapy.

Roundup is one of the country's most popular weedkiller brands, while glyphosate herbicides are the most widely used herbicide in United Kingdom agriculture.

Acknowledgement of risk is essential to public protection. - The jury ordered agrochemical giant Monsanto to pay almost $290 million for failing to warn a dying groundskeeper that its weed killer Roundup might cause cancer. "It's just a matter of time", Mr Wisner told the jury in his opening statement last month. This trial, he said, was the company's "day of reckoning".

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