Britons safe to use weedkiller, Monsanto insists after £226m cancer lawsuit loss

California Roundup ingredient can cause cancer

'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. He argued in court that years of using Roundup led him to being diagnosed with cancer in 2014.

In a landmark case, a Californian jury found that Monsanto knew its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers were risky and failed to warn consumers.

Johnson's lawyer, Brent Wisner, said the jury's verdict showed there was "overwhelming" evidence against the product. "Hopefully this thing will get the attention it needs".

DeWayne Johnson, a groundskeeper at a San Francisco Bay Area school district, sprayed large quantities of the product, sold under the brand name Roundup, from a 50-gallon tank attached to a truck during gusty winds.

Speaking to reporters after the verdict, Monsanto VP Scott Partridge said that the company will appeal and continue to "vigorously defend" the herbicide.

The lawsuit is the first to accuse the product of causing cancer but is a harbinger of a looming wave of similar legal challenges: observers say a Monsanto defeat likely opens the door to hundreds of other claims against the company, which was recently acquired by Germany's Bayer.

In the meantime, Cummins said his group looks forward to the next steps in its own lawsuit against Monsanto, which charges the company has long misled consumers about the safety of Roundup for humans and pets.

In one instance a hose broke and the weed killer soaked his entire body.

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

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Monsanto always denied any link to the disease and said studies concluded the product was safe.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is responsible for pesticide regulation, said: "Decisions on the use of pesticides should be based on a careful scientific assessment of the risks". And California has added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer. That was enough for the World Health Organization to label the idea that glyphosate caused cancer as "probable".

Robert F. Kennedy Jnr - an environmental lawyer, son of the late USA senator and a member of Johnson's legal team - hugged Johnson after the verdict.

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

Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto at the Superior Court Of California in San Francisco, California, on August 10, 2018.

According to his attorneys, Johnson read the label and even contacted the company after developing a rash but was never warned it could cause cancer.

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.

"Workers could potentially sue their employers if they developed a significant injury as a result of their exposure to Roundup".

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