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

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

USA chemical manufacturer Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289m (£226m) in damages to a terminally ill man who claimed herbicides in the weedkiller it makes caused his cancer.

Jurors also found that the potential risks of the product were known by the scientific community and Monsanto failed to "adequately warn" of the danger.

Bayer completed its $66bn takeover of Monsanto in June.

"The science finally caught up, where they couldn't bury it anymore", Wisner told the jury in closing arguments.

The lawsuit was the first to go to trial among hundreds filed in California and in federal courts claiming Roundup causes cancer - a claim that the maker, Monsanto, denies.

The lawsuit in California was the first to go to trial among hundreds filed in state and federal U.S. courts claiming Roundup causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He regularly used a form of RangerPro while working at a school in Benicia, California.

Roundup is widely available in British garden centres and is thought to be the most commonly used weedkiller in the world.

Ms Ioannou said if the effects of glyphosate ever matched something like asbestos, it could lead to thousands of compensation claims in future.

Monsanto, which is facing up to 5,000 similar lawsuits across the USA, said it would appeal against the verdict.

Image copyright Getty Images What is glyphosate and is it risky? 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.

But the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to insist that glyphosate is safe when used carefully.In Europe, too, the battle over glyphosate has been fierce. 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 previous year are: 1 mg/kg in tea, 0.01 mg/kg in rice and 0.05 mg/kg in meat.

What happened in the groundsman case?


"The jury found Monsanto acted with malice and oppression because they knew what they were doing was wrong and doing it with reckless disregard for human life", one of Johnson's attorneys, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., said. Johnson's attorneys sought and won $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million of the $373 million they wanted in punitive damages. He sprayed large quantities from a 50-gallon tank attached to a truck, and during gusty winds, the product would cover his face, said Brent Wisner, one of his attorneys.

"When you are right, it is really easy to win", he said, adding that the ruling was just "the tip of the spear" of future legal cases.

"A unanimous jury in San Francisco has told Monsanto: 'Enough".

The lawsuit built on the conclusions in 2015 of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the UN World Health Organization, which classified Roundup's main ingredient glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, causing the state of California to follow suit.