AUG 14, 2018 7:10 AM PDT

Monsanto's Roundup under scrutiny for causing dying man's lymphoma

Last Friday an unprecedented event took place in a courtroom in California. Dewayne Johnson was awarded $289 million in damages from Monsanto after a jury ruled that Roundup had caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After applying Roundup weed killer 20 to 30 times per year while working as a pest manager for a county school system, Johnson, now 46 with two children, is near to death. Lesions from the cancer cover 80% of his body and his doctors say he does not have much time left. Despite the fact that Johnson is only one among 800 patients who have sued Monsanto under the claim that Roundup gave them cancer, his case was the first to actually go to trial – and therefore the first to actually find Monsanto guilty.

The jury found that not only had the company failed to warn Johnson of the health risk from exposure to glyphosate in the herbicide, but that Monsanto had “acted with malice or oppression” and ruled that it knew or should have known Roundup was dangerous, explains the Guardian.

Of course, Monsanto is not about to sit back and accept the ruling (just think of the precedent is would cause!). Monsanto’s vice-president, Scott Partridge, said that the company would appeal against the verdict.

“The jury made a decision, but the decision that a jury or a judge makes has to be based on the weight of the evidence, and the overwhelming weight of the evidence that went in the trial was that science demonstrates glyphosate is safe; there’s no credible evidence to the contrary.”

“It is completely and totally safe, and the public should not be concerned about this verdict. It is one that we will work through the legal process to see if we can get the right result. The science is crystal-clear,” he said.

But if that were true, why would British retailer Homebase be ordering a review of Roundup and other garden products with glyphosate? And what about the 2015 ruling from the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”? That definitely gives cause for concern.

Dewayne Johnson, pictured during the trial. Photo: www.usatoday.com

Sources: The Guardian

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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