A San Francisco jury awarded DeWayne Lee Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. Johnson developed lymphoma after years of applying Monsato’s Roundup and Ranger Pro products to several school properties in the Bay Area.
Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, describes Roundup as the “Oxycontin of pesticides” and hopes that the ruling will send a strong message to Monsanto.
Monsanto, which recently merged with Bayer AG, continues to be run independently.
Monsanto’s Vice President of Global Strategy, stated that they are sympathetic with Mr. Johnson, but continues to deny the harmful side effects of Roundup’s main, carcinogenic ingredient-glyphosate.
Glyphosate in California
Since glyphosate’s introduction to the United States as an herbicide, it is estimated that growers have used 1.8 million tons. The bulk of the chemical was sprayed on corn and soy in the Midwest. However, California growers applied it to crops across 4 million acres.
California now considers glyphosate to be dangerous and lists it as a “probable” carcinogen even though the facts are undeniable. The U.S. District Court blocked moves to require the addition of a cancer warning label to products sold in California that contain the chemical even though it was approved by voters under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act in 1986.
Because of Mr. Johnson’s case, California cities Benicia and Novato, have banned the use of the Roundup.