Monsanto Must Answer for Roundup Cancer Cases
“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.” – George Washington
For years, Monsanto has publicly denied that its popular weed killer Roundup causes cancer, going to great lengths to table any discussion that says otherwise. The St. Louis-based agrochemical company has petitioned the courts to block glyphosate, Roundup’s key ingredient, from being listed as a carcinogen. Unsealed documents revealed that Monsanto has ghostwritten research favorable to its stance that was later attributed to academics. Internal emails have shown that Monsanto even worked with federal regulators to suppress critical reviews. But like our nation’s first president once said, truth will ultimately prevail, and Monsanto must answer for the numerous reported Roundup cancer cases.
The first major blow to Monsanto’s claims occurred earlier this month in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco. Over the course of a four-week trial, jurors heard the story of plaintiff DeWayne Johnson. The 46-year-old former school district groundskeeper had a long history using the Roundup family of chemicals, applying 150 gallons of the weed killer per day 20 to 30 times a year. Mr. Johnson told jurors he had two accidents where he was soaked with the chemical.
In 2014, two years after the first accident occurred, Mr. Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Mr. Johnson’s attorneys asserted that glyphosate alone isn’t the big problem. Interactions between glyphosate and other ingredients unique to Roundup caused a “synergistic effect” that makes the product more carcinogenic.
After three days of deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the plaintiff, finding that Monsanto’s herbicides were unsafe, and a substantial factor in causing Mr. Johnson’s cancer. The jury also found that Monsanto had failed to adequately warn customers of the associated risks. The jury awarded Mr. Johnson $39.25 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. And in an incredibly powerful message to Monsanto, the jury award includes $37 million in noneconomic damages – a million dollars for every year of Mr. Johnson’s life that he will have lost to cancer.
And while Mr. Johnson’s was the first of the Roundup cancer cases to go to trial under a California law that allows for dying plaintiffs to receive expedited trials, he is far from the only victim seeking justice. There are currently over 450 Roundup cancer lawsuits, with an estimated 4,000 plaintiffs, pending against Monsanto across the country.
Like it or not, Monsanto will have to face their accusers in court and answer for their actions.
Photo Credit: Mike Mozart