Landmark verdict against glyphosate

Landmark verdict against glyphosate

In a case that could turn the tide against the world’s most common weedkiller, a jury in San Francisco has found that agrochemical company Monsanto knew that its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers were dangerous, and acted with ‘malice’ by failing to warn consumers.

The lawsuit was brought by school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, who regularly used RangerPro and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. Jurors found that Monsanto’s weedkillers had contributed ‘substantially’ to his illness, which is now terminal, and ordered the company to pay him $289m (£226m) in damages.

This was the first case alleging a link between glyphosate and cancer to go to trial, and it is expected to lead to hundreds more – there are currently over 5,000 similar plaintiffs across the US. Monsanto, unsurprisingly, intends to appeal, with vice-president Scott Partridge saying outside the courthouse that the jury had ‘got it wrong’.

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In 2015, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’, although this has been disputed by other international agencies. After a protracted battle, the European Commission recently extended glyphosate’s licence in the EU for just five years, rather than the 15 years originally sought.

Read more at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45152546

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Steve Ott

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