Man Wins £226 Million In Compensation After Weedkiller Caused Cancer

A California jury today ordered the maker of the popular weed killer Roundup to pay $289 million in damages to a schools groundskeeper who alleges Roundup caused his cancer.

Monsanto, a unit of Bayer AG following a $62.5 billion acquisition by the German conglomerate, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

In an emailed response, the firm said: "While Bayer and Monsanto continue to operate independently, Bayer believes that the jury's verdict is at odds with the weight of scientific evidence that the use of glyphosate is not associated with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma".

A California jury on Friday ordered the USA agrochemicals giant - which was taken over by Germany's Bayer in June - to pay almost $290 million in compensation to a groundskeeper diagnosed with cancer after he repeatedly used Monsanto's weed killer, Roundup.

The former school groundskeeper sued the company, arguing that an herbicide in the weed killer Roundup, likely caused the disease.

Mr Johnson, diagnosed in 2014 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - a cancer that affects white blood cells - says in the lawsuit that he repeatedly used a professional form of Roundup while working at a school in Benicia, California.

"We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family", Monsanto spokesman Scott Partridge said.

"It is the widely used herbicide in the world, it's the most widely studied herbicide in the world".

"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".

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Monsanto's lawyer, George Lombardi, said non-Hodgkin's lymphoma takes years to develop, so Johnson's cancer must have started before he worked for the district.

Dyer said she believes her cancer is the result of years of extensive Roundup use.

It awarded US$39 million in compensatory and US$250 million in punitive damages.

The company said it intends to appeal against the verdict. Glyphosate's licence was extended for five years in Europe by the European Union last November, despite a petition by 1.3 million European Union citizens calling for a ban.

In 2015, Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organisation's cancer agency, reached the conclusion that it was "probably carcinogenic to humans".

"Did Monsanto fail to adequately warn of the danger?"

The chemical has also been used as a pesticide for decades, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency website.

Over the course of the four-week trial, jurors heard testimony by statisticians, doctors, public health researchers and epidemiologists who disagreed on whether glyphosate can cause cancer.

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".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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