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California Community Ends Use of Monsanto’s Roundup in Wake of Landmark Cancer Verdict


A northern California community is going Roundup-free, following a San Francisco jury’s decision to award millions in damages to a former groundskeeper who blames Monsanto’s popular weed killer for his terminal cancer diagnosis.

“You Can’t Put a Price Tag on Your Children’s Health”

“There’s a saying that you put your money behind your values and in our community we value the environment, we value protecting our children,” Mayor Josh Fryday, City of Novato, said during an August 17th news conference.

According to Mayor Fryday, the city will no longer use Roundup or other glyphosate herbicides at any municipal property.

“The truth is you can’t put a price tag on your children’s health, and the health or your pets and loved ones,” Marla Fields, president of Sustainable Novato, said in reaction to Mayor Fryday’s declaration.

The group has long advocated against the use of dangerous chemicals.

$289 Million Roundup Cancer Verdict

The City of Navato’s announcement came just one week after a San Francisco jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages to Dewayne Johnson, a former groundskeeper for the Benicia School District who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014.

The 46-year-old father of two young sons was exposed to Roundup and Ranger Pro, another glyphosate-based herbicide manufactured by Monsanto, between 20 and 30 times per year during his career.

His doctors have given Johnson just 6 months to live.

“This jury found Monsanto acted with malice and oppression because they knew what they were doing was wrong and doing it with reckless disregard for human life,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a member of Johnson’s legal team, told the Associated Press.

4,000+ Roundup Lawsuits Pending in U.S. Courts

Johnson’s case was the first Roundup lawsuit to go to trial in the United States, where Monsanto currently faces more than 4,000 similar claims.

Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto last year, disputes that Roundup causes cancer and has promised to appeal the verdict.

In 2015, however, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

IARC’s review specifically linked glyphosate-containing herbicides to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including lymphocytic lymphoma / chronic lymphocytic leukemia, B-cell lymphoma, hairy cell leukemia, and other forms of the disease.

California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer that same year.

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