An American man who blames his terminal cancer on Roundup weedkiller was last week awarded £226million (R4billion) in damages.
Traces of glyphosate were found in nearly two in three loaves of wholemeal bread in the UK, according to official research. Glyphosate has also been found in Cheerios and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes in the US, as well as Doritos crisps and Ritz crackers.
The chemical is the world’s most widely used weedkiller, and use by British farmers has increased by a shocking 400% in the past 20 years, according to the Soil Association, which campaigns for organic farming.
But despite a World Health Organisation agency judging it a “probable human carcinogen”, the EU relicensed its use for another five years last November.
Now a landmark court case, brought by Dewayne Johnson in California, has seen long-term use of Roundup blamed for his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Doctors say that the former school groundsman, 46, may only have a few months left to live.
A US jury awarded him £226m in damages on Friday after an eight-week trial. They concluded that Roundup was the direct cause of his terminal blood cell cancer and that Monsanto - the company that makes it - had failed to warn him of the health risk from exposure.
Monsanto insists its products are safe and will appeal. However, the case raises new questions about the use of the chemical on food crops. It was even found at low levels in Ben & Jerry’s ice creams by a study last year.
Official research suggests a third of UK cereal crops are sprayed with glyphosate. It is used to kill weeds and as a drying agent on the plants, which makes them easier to harvest.
Glyphosate has also been linked to liver and kidney disease, infertility, and birth abnormalities. - Daily Mail