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Chemical giant Monsanto ordered to pay cancer damages
12 August 2018, 07:45 | Austin Hogan
'Guilty on All Counts!': In Historic Victory, Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million in Roundup Cancer Lawsuit
A San Francisco jury on Friday ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto to pay $289 million to a former school groundskeeper dying of cancer, saying the company's popular Roundup weed killer contributed to his disease.
Jurors unanimously found Monsanto acted with "malice" and that its weed killers Roundup and the professional grade version RangerPro contributed "substantially" to Dewayne Johnson's terminal illness.
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 lawsuit brought by Dewayne Johnson was the first to go to trial among hundreds filed in state and federal courts saying Roundup causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Monsanto vice president Scott Partridgesaid hundreds of studies showed the herbicide does not cause cancer and said the company would appeal the verdict to "vigorously defend this product".
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".
The ruling is likely to have far reaching ramifications in other parts of the world including India, where glyphosate-based weedkillers are widely used. "Today's decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews...support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson's cancer", the company said.
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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".
Johnson thanked jurors "from the bottom of my heart" for their work, along with his lawyers and his family.
"The science finally caught up, where they couldn't bury it anymore", Wisner told the jury in closing arguments.
Monsanto in a statement said it would appeal the verdict.
The specific products named were "Round Up Pro" and "Ranger Pro".
However, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is an independent body from the government, continues to assert that the chemical is safe to use if the correct precautions are taken.
It came after the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, said in 2015 that glyphosate was a "probable human carcinogen". The suit neatly sidestepped the complicated epidemiology of the active ingredient in the herbicide-glyphosate-and instead made the claim that the cancer was the result of glyphosate's interactions with other chemicals in Roundup-a claim for which there is even less evidence.
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