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Monsanto ordered to pay $289 million in damages

According to The Guardian, the giant agrochemical corporation Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289 million in damages because of its weedkiller, Roundup. 

Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, won a huge decision in a landmark court case with the “jury determining that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer and that the corporation failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure. The jury further found that Monsanto ‘acted with malice or oppression.’”

The trial took place in San Francisco. Johnson’s lawyers argued that Monsanto had “fought science” for years and targeted academics who spoke out about the possible health risks of the herbicide product. The Guardian noted that Johnson was the first person to take the agrochemical corporation to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the brand Roundup causes cancer.

The Guardian notes, “In the extraordinary verdict, which Monsanto said it intends to appeal, the jury ruled that the company was responsible for ‘negligent failure’ and knew or should have known that its product was ‘dangerous.’”

During the lengthy trial, Johnson’s attorneys introduced internal emails from Monsanto executives that they said demonstrated how the corporation repeatedly ignored experts’ warnings, sought favorable scientific analyses and helped to “ghostwrite” research that encouraged continued usage.

Monsanto has long argued that Roundup is safe and not linked to cancer and presented studies during trial that countered the research and testimony. Roundup, a herbicide,  is registered in 130 countries and approved for use on more than 100 crops. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s international agency for research on cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” which brought on a slew of legal and legislative challenges.