U.S.: California jury to hear Roundup case on pesticide cancer link

July 09 , 2018

A California man dying of cancer makes his case to a jury on Monday in a trial against agrochemical giant Monsanto that could have sweeping ramifications, news agency AFP reported. 

Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old father of two, says he is sick because of contact with Roundup, the top-selling weed killer made by the U.S. company.

A California Superior Court jury in San Francisco on Monday was set to hear opening statements from opposing sides, with witnesses to follow in a trial over the potential link between the weed killer and Johnson’s illness, the story reported.

The stakes are high for Monsanto, which could reportedly face massive losses should a jury order it to pay out damages over the product.

Johnson used Roundup for two years from 2012 as a groundskeeper for the Benicia school district near San Francisco, his lawyer Timothy Litzenburg told AFP.

“A major part of that job was spraying Roundup or Ranger Pro (a similar Monsanto product)… He sprayed it 20 to 40 times per year, sometimes hundreds of gallons at a time on the school properties,” Litzenburg was quoted as saying.

In 2014, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects white blood cells. No longer able to work two years later, he filed suit against Monsanto, accusing the company of hiding the dangers of its product.

A key to Johnson’s case will be convincing jurors that Monsanto’s pesticide – whose main ingredient is glyphosate, a substance some say is dangerously carcinogenic – is responsible for the illness.

“His case has been expedited because he currently has only a few months to live,” his lawyer was quoted as saying.

Litzenburg says he represents hundreds of people who also say they are victims of glyphosate.

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