Chemical giant Monsanto ordered to pay cancer damages

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"Today the jury confirmed what we have known since our investigation began - that Monsanto knew Roundup contained cancer-causing ingredients and failed to take this product off the shelf and protect consumers", said Micah Dortch of the Potts Law Firm, according to USA Today.

"It is a landmark development in terms of the jury fixing responsibility on Monsanto and its negligence and given the discussion around glyphosate and its safety in India", said Kavitha Kuruganti, from the Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA).

Monsanto now reportedly intends to appeal the ruling.

A spokesperson for the company said: "We have confirmed that we will be reviewing our range of weedkiller products".

On Friday, a California jury hit Monsanto with $289 million in damages in a lawsuit brought by a patient suffering from terminal cancer, accepting the plaintiff's claims that his disease was caused by the company's popular herbicide, Roundup.

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.

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He cited an American epidemiological study that found "no apparent" association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and its subtypes.

Monsanto's vice-president, Scott Partridge, said on Friday that hundreds of studies had shown that glyphosate, one of the world's most widely used herbicides and a key ingredient of Roundup, does not cause cancer.

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

"It is completely and totally safe and the public should not be concerned about this verdict, it is one that we will work through the legal process to see if we can get the right result".

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said on Twitter that the verdict has "huge implications for the food chain".

The lawsuit is the first to accuse the product of causing cancer but is a may foreshadow possible outcomes of a looming wave of similar legal challenges. "We are grateful to Mr. Johnson", he said, "for bravely facing down the "most evil corporation" in the world".

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In 2016 the EPA carried out a review of glysophate, noting several worldwide studies including one from the global Agency for Research on Cancer which concluded that glyphosate should be classified as a carcinogenic substance, meaning it was "probably" carcinogenic to humans based on "limited evidence" from human data but "sufficient evidence" in animal-experiments. The case had been expedited because of his poor health.

There are at least 4,000 cases against Monsanto by victims of glyphosate. There are also thousands of other cases focusing on Roundup pending.

In 2017 the European Union extended the licence for use of glyphosate for five years.

"I was thinking of them and I said to myself that this ruling will help them and give them lots of hope", said Paul Francois, author of "A farmer against Monsanto" ("Un paysan contre Monsanto"). We don't think the opinion of a Californian jury should change that.

"It is the widely used herbicide in the world, it's the most widely studied herbicide in the world".

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