Jury awards $289M to man who blames Roundup weed killer for cancer

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

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

Former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson has been awarded almost $290 million after a jury at the Superior Court of California in San Francisco determined that "Roundup" played a "substantial factor" in his deteriorating health.

While observers predicted thousands of potential future claims against the company in the wake of Monsanto's defeat, Bayer - which recently acquired the USA giant - said the California ruling went against scientific evidence.

However, Monsanto has denied the link between Roundup's active ingredient, glyphosate, and cancer, and will appeal the decision.

The case of school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging glyphosate causes cancer.

On Friday, the jury in San Francisco found that Roundup was a "substantial factor" in Mr Johnson's illness and that the company should have provided a label warning of the potential health hazard.

Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after spraying Roundup weed killer for two and a half years and sued the company, saying Roundup caused his cancer.

"I'm glad to be here to be able to help in a cause that's way bigger than me", he said, according to the AP. "I hope it gets the attention that it needs".

Johnson's cancer has caused him to develop lesions over 80 percent of his body.

The World Health Organization's cancer research agency classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015, but said there was "limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma" based on studies from US, Canada and Sweden published since 2001.

In a statement after losing the eight-week trial, Monsanto said it was "sympathetic to Mr Johnson and his family" but it would "continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use".

Padre confronta a pareja en plena sesión de sexo en parque público
Más de 45 minutos después de haber sido reportado el hecho, fue cuando las autoridades llegaron; la pareja ya se había retirado. Se puede escuchar a la madre hablando con un operador que pregunta: "Policía de West Yorkshire, ¿cuál es su emergencia?".

The suit is one of hundreds in progress and will nearly certainly be appealed by Monsanto, which was recently purchased by chemical giant Bayer. He sprayed large quantities from a 189 litre tank attached to a truck, and during gusty winds the product would cover his face, one of his attorneys, Brent Wisner, said.

Wisner called the ruling the "tip of the spear" of litigation likely to come.

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto at the Superior Court Of California in San Francisco, on August 10, 2018. "The verdict today does not change the science".

Partridge, meanwhile, announced that Monsanto had no intention of settling the slew of similar cases in the legal queue.

"It is the most widely used weed killer in Australia".

The specific products named were "Round Up Pro" and "Ranger Pro".

Monsanto pushed back on the verdict, vowing to appeal the case. Monsanto would be appealing against the jury's verdict, he added.

"Despite the Environmental Protection Agency's failure to require labeling, we are proud that an independent jury followed the evidence and used its voice to send a message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup is over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits", Wisner said in a statement after the verdict.

In June, Monsanto became a unit of Bayer AG, which further consolidated its monopoly over the global seed and chemical market.

Monsanto launched Roundup in 1976 and soon thereafter began genetically modifying plants, making some resistant to Roundup.

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