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Does Roundup cause cancer? Patient’s case against Monsanto goes to trial in SF



The case of a Benicia groundskeeper who claims he developed terminal cancer as a result of using the herbicide Roundup went to trial Monday in San Francisco Superior Court, the first of what could be a flood of cases accusing the agricultural giant Monsanto of distributing deadly poison and trying to cover it up.

Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, 46, a former groundskeeper for the Benicia Unified School District, accused Monsanto of hiding evidence over the past two decades that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, can cause cancer.

Monsanto has steadfastly defended its product, pointing to a slew of studies that find no evidence of danger in glyphosate, and noting that the Environmental Protection Agency has never restricted Roundup.

Johnson, a husband and father of three, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma four years ago. In 2016, he filed a lawsuit claiming that the cause was his exposure to glyphosate.

About 4,000 people across the country claim Roundup made them sick and also expect to take their cases against Monsanto to trial.

Johnson, a husband and father of three, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma four years ago. In 2016, he filed a lawsuit claiming that the cause was his exposure to glyphosate.

About 4,000 people across the country claim Roundup made them sick and also expect to take their cases against Monsanto to trial.

Attorney Brent Wisner, who is representing Johnson, said in his opening statement Monday that “a mountain of data” compiled since 2000 show how glyphosate can cause genetic damage that could lead to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He said Monsanto ignored that information and published information “ghost written” by staffers denying the toxicity of the chemical.

Wisner said Monsanto’s internal communications show that company officials feared that activists would get hold of the negative information and expressed a desire “to combat” all the data, even the most credible science, that made their product look bad.

Glyphosate was classified as a probable human carcinogen in 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization.

In his opening statement on behalf of the corporation, attorney George Lombardi expressed sympathy for Johnson but said numerous studies have shown that Roundup’s ingredients do not cause cancer. Nor is there evidence, he said, that they specifically caused Johnson’s cancer.

Lombardi said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has never restricted the use of Roundup. Noting the criticism by environmental advocates who have accused the Trump administration’s EPA of colluding with Monsanto, Lombardi said no prior administration’s EPA has restricted the product either.

Johnson’s lawyers are expected to call 10 current and former Monsanto employees and an EPA official to the stand.

“I do think the evidence is compelling that it causes cancer, and I hope the jury agrees,” said Wisner during a break in the case Monday. “I think whenever you have someone who is dying of cancer it is very emotional. He is a good guy. He has an amazing family. Knowing that he is going to pass away because of this, kills you.”

Johnson said in his lawsuit that he treated Benicia school district grounds with Roundup numerous times from 2012 to 2015. His doctor said earlier this year that he has only months to live.

He claims in his lawsuit that Monsanto not only failed to warn people about the “dangerous characteristics” of its product, but actually “championed falsified data and attacked legitimate studies” in a “prolonged campaign of misinformation.”

“We’re going to see for the first time evidence that nobody has seen before, evidence that has been in Monsanto’s files that we’ve obtained from lawyers and the people in Monsanto,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., co-counsel for Johnson. “I don’t think it’s a surprise after 20 years Monsanto has known about the cancer-causing properties of this chemical and has tried to stop the public from knowing it, and tried to manipulate the regulatory process.”

Kennedy said he expects this case will help the 700 other clients he represents who claim to have been sickened by Roundup.

“So many people have been exposed to this chemical, this group of chemicals, and many of them have been injured,” he said. “The science is on our side. It is mountainous.”

At stake is the future of the herbicide, which brings in about $4.8 billion a year in revenue. Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company, recently purchased Monsanto for $60 billion.

“This is the trial of the century,” said Zen Honeycutt, the executive director of Moms Across America, a Mission Viejo (Orange County) group trying to get Roundup taken off store shelves. “The health, economy, and future of America depends on eliminating exposure to toxic chemical products such as Roundup.”
https://www.geezgo.com/sps/29968
Does Roundup cause cancer? Patient’s case against Monsanto goes to trial in SF Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 4:13 AM Rating: 5

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