Jury: Roundup Caused California Man's Cancer; Awards $250 Million

California Roundup ingredient can cause cancer

Monsanto has been ordered by a San Francisco jury to pay Dewayne Johnson a total of almost $329 million in damages after he claimed in court that the company's product, Roundup, gave him cancer, NBC News reported.

The jury ordered the agricultural multi-national to pay $250 million in punitive damages together with other costs that brought the total figure to nearly $290 million.

The case of Dewayne Johnson, 46, a groundsman who works at a school in Benicia, California, and is suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging that glyphosate - a key ingredient of weedkillers - causes cancer.

Monsanto denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says it intends to appeal against the ruling. 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.

Roundup is Monsanto's leading product and glyphosate is reportedly the world's most commonly used weed killer. They said Monsanto, an agribusiness giant known for its chemical products like Roundup and genetically modified organism (GMO) food products, such as seeds and crops, did not provide adequate warnings of Roundup's risks.

Glyphosate is the most common weedkiller in the world, and the safety of its use has been a topic of hot debate for some years.

"Science is not besotted by court cases and the actual scientific evidence we have shows that that link is not apparent at the concentrations humans use, under the conditions human use it", Dr Musgrave said.

"I understand that we all have sympathy for Mr Johnson, certainly the jury had sympathy for Mr Johnson, but that should not change the manner in which legal decisions are made".

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Johnson said after the verdict: "It's taken a lot of prayer".

A spokesperson for B&Q said: "We continually aim to manage our garden products responsibly and have a record of acting ahead of legislation where appropriate; we led the way in removing three pesticides in 2013 and neonicotinoids from our flowering plants in 2018".

"We will appeal this decision and continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use", Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said. "I hope it gets the attention that it needs".

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. "The majority of our illnesses and losses to soil quality, water, wildlife and marine life are due to toxic chemicals, particularly Monsanto's most widely used glyphosate herbicides like Roundup and Ranger Pro".

Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, faces thousands of similar lawsuits across the United States.

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

It said other court proceedings with other juries might "arrive at different conclusions" than the jury which ruled in the California lawsuit, the first to accuse glyphosate of causing cancer.

Founded in 1901 in St Louis, Missouri, Monsanto began producing agrochemicals in the 1940s.

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