Terminally ill man awarded $289 million in lawsuit against Monsanto

Terminally ill man awarded $289 million in lawsuit against Monsanto

U.S. chemical manufacturer Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289m (£226m) in damages to a terminally ill man who claimed herbicides in the weedkiller it makes caused his cancer.

Bottles of Monsanto's Roundup are seen for sale.

DeWayne Johnson, a groundskeeper at a San Francisco Bay Area school district, sprayed large quantities of the product, sold under the brand name Roundup, from a 50-gallon tank attached to a truck during gusty winds.

They also found that Monsanto officials acted with "malice and oppression" in their selling of the product despite its risks being known.

Johnson is one of some 5,000 plaintiffs across the USA and his victory is likely to lead to many more claims against Monsanto, which was recently bought by Geman chemical giant Bayer AG.

The jury in San Francisco found that the product was a "substantial factor" in Mr Johnson's illness and that the company should have provided a label warning of the potential health hazard. The trial was expedited because his doctors said he was unlikely to survive past 2020.

Monsanto denies that glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide, causes cancer and says decades of scientific studies have shown the chemical to be safe for human use. "That's why I wore anything I could to protect myself".

So it would be hard to judge whether Mr. Johnson's two accidental exposures would cause any cancer risk whatsoever.

Dewayne Johnson hugs one of his attorneys after the verdict was read in the case against Monsanto at the Superior Court Of California in San Francisco. It's a phone call.

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Professor Aranda said The Cancer Council suggested "anyone using them [the product] regularly to take precautions, such as masks and protective clothing".

Johnson, diagnosed in 2014 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - a cancer that affects white blood cells - says he repeatedly used a professional form of Roundup while working at a school in Benicia, California. During the trial, the court heard that Johnson may have just months to live and his wife had been forced to work two jobs to help pay for his treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"The simple fact is he is going to die".

Jurors were shown some hard pictures.

Johnson wept openly, as did some jurors, when he met with the panel later. The news outlet also noted that his victory could set a precedent for thousands of other cases claiming the herbicide causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Johnson said the case has forced him to come to terms with his mortality. That was enough for the World Health Organization to label the idea that glyphosate caused cancer as "probable".

Campaigners are now calling for a review of pesticide regulations in the United Kingdom after the case, saying that glyphosate poses a risk to public health, soils and the environment. The suit neatly sidestepped the complicated epidemiology of the active ingredient in the herbicide-glyphosate-and instead made the claim that the cancer was the result of glyphosate's interactions with other chemicals in Roundup-a claim for which there is even less evidence.

In December, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded in a draft risk assessment that the pesticide glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, was "not likely to be carcinogenic to humans".

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