Monsanto found liable for French farmer’s illness

The potential damages will be considered by another court in Lyon.


A French appeals court ruled Thursday that Monsanto was liable for causing illness in a farmer who inadvertently inhaled one of its weed killers in 2004. The weed killer was banned in France and the European Union more than 10 years ago due to health issues.

While working on his farm in 2004, Paul Francois accidentally inhaled Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer which used a different active substance to glyphosate, the chemical contained in Monsanto’s best-selling weed killer Roundup. According to his lawsuit, Francois suffered neurological problems, including memory loss, fainting, speech impairment, and headaches after inhaling the weed killer.

Francois reportedly had to stop work due to his disorders, and medical tests eventually discovered the hazardous chemical chlorobenzene in his body.

“Mr. Francois justifiably concludes that the product, due to its inadequate labeling that did not respect applicable regulations, did not offer the level of safety he could legitimately expect,” the court said in its ruling.

Francois is seeking more than €1 million in damages from Monsanto, which was purchased by Bayer last year. The potential damages will be considered by another court in Lyon.

In August 2018, Dewayne Johnson, who has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was initially awarded $289 million dollars in damages after a U.S. jury found that Monsanto had failed to adequately warn consumers of cancer risks posed by the herbicide. The amount was later reduced to $78.5 million dollars.

On March 27, Monsanto was ordered to pay more than $80 million in damages to Edwin Hardeman, a California man who was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after repeated exposure to the glyphosate in Roundup. Shortly after the decision, Bayer announced that the company plans to appeal the verdict.


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