Jury awards $440m to US man who blames Monsanto's Roundup for cancer

'Guilty on All Counts!': In Historic Victory, Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million in Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

'Guilty on All Counts!': In Historic Victory, Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million in Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

The maker of Roundup weedkiller has insisted British consumers are safe to use the product after a United States jury backed a groundsman's claim the pesticide contributed to his terminal cancer.

Mr Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014.

In its decision on Friday, the state court jury found the agribusiness giant failed to adequately warn of the risks of using Roundup.

Johnson's attorney Brent Wisner said the verdict "shows the evidence is overwhelming" that the product poses danger. "Hopefully this thing will get the attention it needs".

A San Francisco court was told how Dewayne Johnson has a terminal form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma which he claims developed after he worked as a pest control manager at a school.

"This verdict proves that when ordinary citizens, in this case a jury of 12, hear the facts about Monsanto's products, and the lengths to which this company has gone to buy off scientists, deceive the public and influence government regulatory agencies, there is no confusion", said Ronnie Cummins, OCA's worldwide director.

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Monsanto, a subsidiary of German firm Bayer AG, has denied glyphosate is linked to cancer, saying hundreds of studies have found the product to be safe.

"We are sympathetic to Mr Johnson and his family", Monsanto said in a statement, but promised to appeal the ruling and "continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective and safe tool for farmers and others". "This should send a strong message to the boardroom of Monsanto".

An Australian cancer lobby group is urging global chemical giant Monsanto to come clean on any potential links to cancer with one of its popular weed killers following a major lawsuit in the US.

Following an eight-week trial, the jury ordered the company to pay $250m in punitive damages together with other costs that brought the total figure to nearly $290m.

Monsanto vice-president Scott Partridge told British consumers the firm's product was safe to use.

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. The World Health Organisation reported that it is "probably carcinogenic to humans", but despite that finding, the European Commission recently granted the substance another five-year licence.

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

Plaintiff DeWayne Johnson hugs one of his lawyers after hearing the verdict.

The ruling is likely to have far reaching ramifications in other parts of the world including India, where glyphosate-based weedkillers are widely used.

Mr Johnson used the two products while carrying out the duties of his job, his lawyers said.

"It is a landmark development in terms of the jury fixing responsibility on Monsanto and its negligence and given the discussion around glyphosate and its safety in India", said Kavitha Kuruganti, from the Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA).

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