Weed killer available in Britain blamed for causing cancer

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto Credit JOSH EDELSON AFP

Speaking about the outcome in court, Mr Partridge said: "The jury made a decision, but the decision that a jury or a judge makes has to be based on the weight of the evidence and the overwhelming weight of the evidence that went in the trial was that science demonstrates glyphosate is safe, there's no credible evidence to the contrary".

On Friday, a jury awarded Johnson $289 million in damages after ruling that Monsanto intentionally concealed the health risks of its popular Roundup products.

"Science is not besotted by court cases and the actual scientific evidence we have shows that that link is not apparent at the concentrations humans use, under the conditions human use it", Dr Musgrave said.

Bayer completed its $66bn takeover of Monsanto in June. Between them the two companies have almost 600 stores. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014 at age 42.

But George Lombardi, an attorney for Monsanto, said non-Hodgkin's lymphoma takes years to develop, so Johnson's cancer must have started well before he began working at the school district.

"There's some suggestion in the United States court case that they have more information than what they're letting on".

"It is the most widely used and most widely studied herbicide in the world", Partridge said.

Glyphosate was introduced by Monsanto in 1974, but its patent expired in 2000, and now the chemical is sold by various manufacturers.

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".

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Cancer Council Australia chief executive officer Sanchia Aranda said the International Agency for Research on Cancers has classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says glyphosate is safe when users follow directions on the label.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also says glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans. 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.

What happened in the groundsman case?

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The jury in a San Francisco Superior Court on Friday unanimously ordered the company to award Johnson $250 million in punitive damages and $39 million in compensatory damages, according to the Associated Press.

"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.

"The jury got it wrong", vice-president Scott Partridge said outside the courthouse in San Francisco.

Brent Wisner, a lawyer for Johnson, in a statement said jurors for the first time had seen internal company documents "proving that Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate and specifically Roundup could cause cancer".

Mr Partridge said that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews and conclusions by regulators in the U.S. and around the world "support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer".

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