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11 August 2018, 11:44 | Kelvin Horton
US jury orders Monsanto to pay $289m in Roundup trial
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.
At 42, Dewayne Johnson developed a bad rash that was eventually diagnosed as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Dewayne Johnson was awarded 289 million dollars (£226 million) by a state jury in the U.S., who found manufacturer Monsanto had failed to adequately warn of the risks of using Roundup, which contains the world's most widely-used herbicide glyphosate.
But Johnson's lawyer Brent Wisnersaid the verdict "shows the evidence is overwhelming" that the product poses danger.
Dewayne Johnson's lawyers said he sprayed Roundup and a similar product, Ranger Pro, in large quantities as a pest control manager at a San Francisco Bay Area school district.
Hundreds of lawsuits claiming Roundup causes cancer have been given the green light to proceed to trial, despite Monsanto claims that there is no connection between glyphosate and cancer.
The NFU's deputy president, Guy Smith, who is also an active livestock and arable farmer, said: "We're in the same place as when they ruled it was safe to use".
Several North Texans have also sued Monsanto claiming Roundup caused them to get sick.
Jurors found on Friday that Monsanto had acted with "malice" and that its weed killers contributed "substantially" to Mr Johnson's terminal illness.
At one point, when a hose broke, the weedkiller covered 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.
Mr Johnson used the two products while carrying out the duties of his job, his lawyers said.
After the verdict, the company- which vowed to appeal - issued a statement saying it stands by the studies that suggest Roundup does not cause cancer.
Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict in his case against Monsanto at the Superior Court of California in San Francisco on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018.
The case was the first of its kind to go to trial, marking a significant development in the argument that glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide, causes cancer.
Cancer Council Australia chief executive officer Sanchia Aranda said the International Agency for Research on Cancers has classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
"You not only see many people injured, you see the corruption of public officials, the capture of agencies that are supposed to protect us from pollution and the falsification of science".
Roundup is Monsanto's leading product and glyphosate is reportedly the world's most commonly used weed killer.
"Today's decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews - and conclusions by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world - support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr Johnson's cancer", it added.
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