The company behind Roundup weed and grass killer has been ordered to pay $2.25 billion to a Pennsylvania man who claimed the product caused his cancer.
John McKivison, 49, sued Monsanto and its parent company Bayer after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. McKivison claims using Roundup on his property for 20 years is what led to his illness.
A Philadelphia jury determined Friday that the herbicide is a cancer-causing agent and that Bayer was negligent for failing to warn customers about its potential dangers. In a statement obtained by The Washington Post, McKivison's attorneys Tom Kline and Jason Itkin praised the verdict as "a condemnation of 50 years of misconduct."
"The jury’s punitive damages award sends a clear message that this multi-national corporation needs top to bottom change," they added.
McKivison's claims focused primarily on Roundup's key active ingredient — glyphosate. In 2015, the World Health Organization released a report suggesting the chemical is "probably carcinogenic to humans" and could be linked to cancer. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that it "is not expected to pose undue risks [to humans], due to glyphosate's low acute toxicity."
Bayer said it disagrees with the jury's verdict and does plan to appeal.
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