Is this the end for GMOs? 2,000 non Hodgkin’s lymphoma sufferers sue over Roundup
(CNN WIRE) On bad days, Dewayne Johnson is too crippled to speak. Lesions often cover as much as 80% of his body.
Doctors have said they didn’t expect him to live to see this day. But Monday marks a milestone: Johnson, 46, is the first of hundreds of cancer patients to see his case against agrochemical giant Monsanto go to trial.
CNN reported last year that more than 800 patients were suing Monsanto, claiming its popular weed killer, Roundup, gave them cancer.
Since then, hundreds more non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients have made similar claims, Johnson’s attorney, Timothy Litzenburg, said. He now represents “more than 2,000 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma sufferers who used Roundup extensively,” he said.
Johnson, a father of two in California’s Bay Area, applied Roundup weed killer 20 to 30 times per year while working as a pest manager for a county school system, his attorney said.
Report on Roundup ingredient in dispute
The big questions at stake are whether Roundup can cause cancer and, if so, whether Monsanto failed to warn consumers about the product’s cancer risk.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said the key ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
But Monsanto long has maintained that Roundup does not cause cancer, and that the IARC report is greatly outnumbered by studies saying glyphosate is safe.
Many more cases to follow
Johnson’s case — and hundreds of similar cases against Monsanto — have been filed in various state courts, Litzenburg said.
It’s not clear when future trials will begin. In Johnson’s case, time is critical.
“Mr. Johnson is angry and is the most safety-oriented person I know,” his attorney said. “Right now, he is the bravest dude in America. Whatever happens with the trial and his health, his sons get to know that.”
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