Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Weed killer available in Britain blamed for causing cancer

Roundup Weed killer available in Britain blamed for causing cancer
Nellie Chapman | 11 August, 2018, 23:47

In an historic victory for those who have long sought to see agrochemical giant Monsanto held to account for the powerful company's toxic and deadly legacy, a court in California on Friday found the corporation liable for damages suffered by a cancer patient who alleged his sickness was directly caused by exposure to the glyphosate-based herbicides, including the widely used weedkiller Roundup. His lawyers said he regularly used a form of RangerPro while working at a school in Benicia, California.

Monsanto "acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct", Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos announced in court.

Monsanto spokesman Scott Partridge said the company will appeal.

Its active ingredient, glyphosate, kills all plant life and since Monsanto's patent expired in 2000 it can be found in most commercial and industrial weed killers worldwide. But he added that the court 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".

Monsanto, however, denied that glyphosate causes cancer and said it will appeal the ruling.

Since contracting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Johnson has developed lesions all over his body and sometimes struggles to speak.

Johnson's doctors testified he is unlikely to live past 2020. During that time, he mixed and sprayed hundreds of gallons of the chemical.

One of the UK's largest DIY retailers is reviewing the sale of Roundup weedkiller products amid mounting concerns about their use, after a USA jury found the herbicide had caused a terminally ill man's cancer. "The company chose corporate profit and greed above humanity", said Micah Dortch of the Potts Law Firm in Dallas.

Dortch was not directly involved in the case decided Friday, but his law firm represents more than a 100 client making related claims.

There is conflicted evidence linking glyphosate and cancer.

But the EPA continues to insist that glyphosate is safe when used carefully. Emails sent the duo seeking comment on the California court's verdict and government plan of action remained unanswered at the time of publishing this article.As per the Indian food regulator FSSAI, the maximum permissible residue levels of glyphosate as of December a year ago are: 1 mg/kg in tea, 0.01 mg/kg in rice and 0.05 mg/kg in meat.

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

The NFU's deputy president, Guy Smith, who is also an active livestock and arable farmer, said: "We're in the same place as when they ruled it was safe to use". The jury recommended Monsanto pay Johnson over 289 million dollars in total.

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

Dewayne Johnson's attorney, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., says the San Francisco verdict should bolster the chances of the other lawsuits.

Were you aware of the potential health hazards of Roundup weedkiller?

"Was Monsanto's failure to warn a substantial factor in causing harm to Johnson?"

"Did Monsanto know or should reasonably have known that users would not realize the danger?"