On Friday, Monsanto was found guilty in a lawsuit that alleged Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbacide, causes cancer. After three days of deliberation, the jury at San Francisco’s Superior Court in California ruled that Monsanto failed to warn users of it’s product about the cancer risks and ordered the company pay the plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, $289 million in restitution.
A first of it’s kind to go to trail, the case was brought against Monsanto by Johnson, 46, a former pest control manager for a California country school system, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system, and alleged it was caused by Roundup and Ranger Pro, both glyphosate herbicides. It was “fast-tracked for trial due to the severity” of his cancer, which Johnson’s doctors said he mostly likely won’t live past 2020, Reuters reported.
The four-week trial brought testimony from statisticians, doctors, public health researchers and epidemiologists each with different opinions on whether glyphosate causes cancer. But in the end, the jury found Monsanto failed to warn Johnson along with other consumers of the products’ cancer risks. Johnson was awarded “$39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages,” Reuters reported.
Johnson’s lawyer, Brent Wisner hailed the ruling and asked Monsanto to “put consumer safety first over profits.”
Monsanto, now part of Bayer AG after an acquisition, responded that the company’s herbicides don’t causes cancers and backed it up with scientific studies that show no correlation between glyphosate and cancer.
“Today’s decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews…support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,” Monsanto said.
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced in 2017 glyphosate was not likely a carcinogen to humans after decades-long studies, the World Health Organization concluded the chemical was “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015.