The Monsanto Company is busy on all fronts lately as its merger with Bayer continues to move toward the action stage.
It’s something the company most likely expected, but here’s what they didn’t expect: a massive wave of Roundup lawsuits against them from everyone including farmers to groundskeepers and others who have been exposed to their notorious cancer-linked weedkiller.
The most high-profile case of the thousands suing involves Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper who used the chemical over two years and blames his cancer diagnosis on its active ingredient glyphosate, which was declared a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015 by the World Health Organization’s IARC.
Now, his testimony is set to become a key piece of evidence as the fate of the former ‘Most Evil Company in the World’ is decided in court.
Terminally Ill Man to Testify Against Monsanto
Thousands worldwide have accused the company’s weedkiller for leading to their cancer diagnoses, and now Johnson may be set to become the most high profile of them all.
At age 46, Johnson says he can show scientific evidence that Roundup caused his cancer and that Monsanto allegedly knew about the link, and will sue the company for punitive damages.
According to a CBS News legal analyst, Monsanto may have the upper hand in this case because of the large amount of studies they have at their disposal to counteract recent ones showing that the weedkiller is “safe.” But critics point out the 2015 IARC declaration which was a decision made by a team of international experts on cancer, as well as other studies such one that showed Monsanto knew glyphosate caused cancer to mammals as early as 1981.
Monsanto’s own studies are often slanted in favor of their best-selling weedkiller, critics say, because they are either undertaken by industry or conducted in Monsanto-affilated laboratories, among other concerns.
Trial Scheduled to Begin Today
According to this report from the Daily Mail, Johnson’s trial was set to begin today. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that starts in the white blood cells of the body, in August 2014, and it has spread giving him only months to live according to doctors.
The article noted that Johnson has the right to an expedited trial because of California state law which allows for it in the case of patients who are dying.
Things have taken a serious turn for the worse for the 46-year-old man: he is unable to speak or move on some days, and 80 percent of his body is covered in lesions because of his chronic exposure to the chemical, he says.
Johnson worked his job at a school district in Benicia, California, where the exposure occurred. His doctors say there is “substantial medical doubt” as to whether he will survive longer than six months.
Monsanto in response has remained firm in denying the charges that its weedkiller is carcinogenic, the article stated.
According to the company, which was recently bought for over $60 billion by Bayer of Germany, non-Hodgkin’s lympoma, which Johnson has, can “take many years to form, and the fact that his first exposure was in 2012 and his diagnosis was in 2014 “precludes any possible casual connection here,” the article says.
Still, there are thousands of lawsuits against Monsanto for all different forms of cancer that seem to disagree with this notion. And there is a precedent for serious harm from pesticides worldwide: over 200,000 people die each year from acute exposure according to the United Nations.
At any rate, this is one trial that is sure to have supporters of organic and non-GMO food on the edge of their seats; and Monsanto’s new parent company Bayer as well.
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