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The Jury Decided that Monsanto Should Pay a Man $289 Million in a Groundbreaking Trial

By Gary Anderson

Posted on August 15th, 2018

The Monsanto vs. Dewayne Johnson trial might be as important as the first asbestos trial in 1971 that showed the deadliness of this mineral and proved to people that they deserve to be guarded from it.

On the 10th of August 2018, a jury in California found that agrochemical giant Monsanto had to pay the plaintiff Dewayne Johnson $289 million in the world's first Roundup trial. The former school groundskeeper has said the he used Roundup fairly often during his job. In one particular case, the hose he used to spray the weeds burst and he was drenched in the weed killer. He continued to say that he experienced rashes all over his body, but when he phoned the company to talk about the incident, they told him that nothing worse was going to happen and that the rash would go away by itself. Dewayne claims that the representative never mentioned the possibility of developing cancer while talking to him. He also added that when he was spraying the herbicide in windy days, droplets of Roundup would splash him back in the face, so he was ingesting the product fairly often.

After continuous use of the product, he developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, the system which produces white cells and antibodies. Although in some cases, the cancer can be fairly mild, Dewayne suffers from a very aggressive form, as doctors weren't even sure that he would survive to see the result of the trial.

Monsanto has not been happy with the jury's decision and they plan to appeal the case. In a statement, Scott Partridge, Monsanto's Vice President has said that although he is sympathetic to Mr. Johnson's plight, he firmly believes that "glyphosate is not the answer, glyphosate does not cause cancer". The company plans to appeal the jury's opinion, but their fight is just beginning, as it is approximated that 5.000 more cases against Monsanto and Roundup are waiting to go to trial. It is believed that more will soon follow, as many people have already blamed their lymphoma on Roundup and glyphosate.

Lymphoma Is a Type of Cancer that Affects the Cells that Protect the Body Against Viruses and Bacteria

There are two cells produced by the lymphatic system: B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. The first type of cell is the one that creates antibodies to fight off illnesses and it is the one that is affected by this type of cancer most of the times.

The second ones are cells that directly destroy abnormal cells in the body. When a patient suffers from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, these cells do not die after they get old, instead they keep on multiplying, thus having an adverse effect on the body.

There are many subtypes of lymphoma, some more aggressive than others, but if left unchecked, all of them can metastasize and attack other organs.

In many cases, it is very hard to diagnose non-Hodgkin's lymphoma because its symptoms look like those of many other diseases.

Because of this, the cancer may be found in its later stages, where treatment becomes less efficient and the chances of survival lower significantly.

If you believe that some of these symptoms apply to you, please go to the hospital to get checked for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma:

  • Swelling of the nodes, in the neck, the armpit or the groin area (although this is the most common symptom, some patients do not present it, which makes the diagnosis process longer and harder)
  • Persistent high fever of 101-102F
  • Unexplained, rapid weight loss
  • Constant feeling of tiredness, extreme fatigue
  • Rashes on different parts of the body
  • Constant night sweats

Even though in many cases doctors do not know what exactly the cause of this disease is, recent studies have begun to narrow down the possibilities. In 2015, a part of the World Health Organization named the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) put out a statement saying that glyphosate was a "probable human carcinogen". After this, more and more studies have emerged showing the same thing. The most common type of cancer that this product might cause is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

It is believed that certain drugs can increase the chances of developing this type of cancer. It has been found that medication used to suppress the immune system plays an important part in developing this disease. Unfortunately, these drugs are paramount for survival in most cases, such as an organ transplant, so refusing to take them can have fatal consequences.

Scientists have found out that using herbicides and insecticides may greatly increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. For some time, it has been thought that benzene might cause this disease. Recently, it has been found that glyphosate causes this type of cancer. Glyphosate is the key component in Roundup, the most popular herbicide on the market.

It is important for companies to be transparent with their clients and to properly test and research the products they put on the market. If there are signs that the product may be harmful for its users, it has to be further tested and pulled off the market, after announcing the public about these problems. If not, then they are liable to pay for compensations to the people that have suffered because of them.