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Jury Awards Terminally Ill Man $289 Million In Lawsuit Against Monsanto

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Jury backs man who claims Roundup weed killer caused cancer

Global chemical powerhouse Monsanto was slapped with a $289m (£226.3m) fine in a California court yesterday, closing the first of more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the US.

In a statement the company said: "Bayer is confident, based on the strength of the science, the conclusions of regulators around the world and decades of experience, that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer when used according to the label".

Chemical giant Monsanto, which makes Roundup, has been ordered to pay $US289 million damages to a Californian man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer.

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson, shown on July 9, listening to his attorney speak about his condition during the Monsanto trial in San Francisco. A San Francisco jury ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto to pay $289 million to the former school groundskeeper dying of cancer, saying the company's popular Roundup weed killer contributed to his disease.

In 2014, at the age of 42, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The jury in San Francisco found that the product was a "substantial factor" in Mr Johnson's illness and that the company should have provided a label warning of the potential health hazard.

"We will appeal this decision and continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use", Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said.

Dyer said she believes her cancer is the result of years of extensive Roundup use. Johnson's doctors said he is unlikely to live past 2020.

Monsanto was one of the companies that produced the defoliant "Agent Orange" - which has been linked to cancer and other diseases - for use by USA forces in Vietnam.

However the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization, said in a 2015 report that it was "probably carcinogenic to humans".

Monsanto has denied that glyphosate, the key ingredient in both Roundup and Ranger Pro, causes cancer.

Johnson's lawyers sought and won 39 million dollars (£30 million) in compensatory damages and 250 million dollars (£196 million) of the 373 million dollars (£292 million) they wanted in punitive damages.

A French court in 2012 found Monsanto to be liable in the case of a farmer who said he suffered neurological problems after inhaling the company's Lasso weed killer.

The US Environmental Protection Agency says Roundup's active ingredient is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions. 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. "This won't cure DeWayne Lee Johnson's cancer, but it will send a strong message to a renegade company". His lawyers also contended Monsanto failed to warn consumers about the alleged risk from their product.

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