Send by email

your name: email to: message:
Username: Email: Password: Confirm Password:
Login with
Confirming registration ...

Edit your profile:

Country: Town: State:
Gender: Birthday:
Email: Web:
How do you describe yourself:
Password: New password: Repite password:

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dewayne Johnson: the man who faced Monsanto, the giant of pesticides

Por Nina

The ill-reputed Monsanto received a blow this Friday after losing the first trial for glyphosate herbicide in the United States. A San Francisco jury ordered the agribusiness giant to pay nearly $ 290 million in damages to Dewayne Johnson for failing to warn that the glyphosate containing its herbicide was carcinogenic. Johnson developed an incurable non-Hodgkin lymphoma that, according to him, appeared after using the company's products on school grounds in the city of Benicia, California, which is why he sued the multinational. The judge found that the company acted with "malice" and that its herbicide Roundup, and its professional version RagenrPro, contributed "substantially" to Johnson's terminal illness.

The first signs of the disease came to Dewayne Johnson in the form of a rash, when he was 42 years old. Sometimes, it affected almost 80% of his body. Johnson applied the Roundup and Ranger Pro herbicides, from the company Monsanto, 30 times a year, that is, approximately every 12 days, in a job as a gardener that he had in 2012 in schools in Benicia, north of San Francisco. A doctor diagnosed in 2014 a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer that arises in lymphocytes.

Thus, in 2015, Johnson and his attorneys began working on the lawsuit against Monsanto. And this Friday a San Francisco judge ruled in his favor, the company must pay US $ 39 million in compensation and US $ 250 million in damages. Johnson's wife testified that she had to get two jobs, in which she works up to 14 hours a day, to be able to pay his medical bills. Johnson's claim was based on the results of a 2015 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization (WHO), which classified the herbicide Roundup, whose main ingredient is glyphosate, as probably carcinogenic. Johnson's doctor said it was unlikely that his patient would live beyond 2020 and for that reason the trial accelerated.

Over the course of the four-week trial, the jurors heard the testimony of doctors, public health researchers and epidemiologists who disagreed on whether glyphosate can cause cancer. The US Environmental Protection Agency concluded in September 2017 a study in which it discovered that the chemical was likely not to be carcinogenic to humans, contradicting the 2015 study in which Johnson based his claim. However, the jury of the San Francisco Superior Court deliberated for three days and the judge, Suzanne Ramos Bolanos, read the verdict, stating that Monsanto had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers about the cancer risks of its herbicides.

The judge said they found that glyphosate did pose a substantial danger and that there was clear and convincing evidence that the company had acted maliciously and in a repressive manner. Brent Wisner, one of Johnson's attorneys, said in a statement that jurors had for the first time seen internal company documents "that demonstrated that Monsanto had known for decades that glyphosate, and specifically Roundup, could cause cancer." In addition, the lawyer called attention to Monsanto put "first consumer safety, on profits," said that the case of his client is the first of more than 5,000 who could go to trial.

Monsanto said in a statement that it will appeal the verdict. "Today's decision does not change the fact that more than 800 studies and scientific reviews support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer and did not cause Mr. Johnson's cancer," the company said. Although this is not the first time that the company Monsanto faces accusations that relate the use of its products to carcinogenic effects, it is the first case developed in a trial in the United States against the Roundup herbicide. Pharmaceutical giant Bayer, which owns Monsanto in June, said glyphosate-containing herbicides are safe.

"Based on the scientific findings, the opinions of regulatory authorities around the world and the practical experience of decades using glyphosate, Bayer is convinced that glyphosate is safe and does not cause cancer," a spokesman for Bayer told the AFP news agency. It is the first time that Monsanto, acquired by the German Bayer in June for 66,000 million dollars is on the dock of the defendants for the potential carcinogenic effects of these products containing glyphosate, a controversial substance. Experts agree that the verdict can open the door to hundreds of new demands. The largest producer of transgenic seeds suffers from a bad reputation and is one of the most controversial companies in the global corporate universe. It does not seem to be close to getting away from that fame.