Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto: Hidden Dangers in Weed Killer Giant. More than 5000 Lawsuits against Monsanto

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The news is out.  Dewayne Johnson v Monsanto is the first case to go to trial against the weed killer giant. The plaintiff’s lawyers asserted that Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro, two products that the groundskeeper used to spray as part of his job as a pest control manager at a San Francisco Bay Area school district, caused his terminal cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Review on the case 

The 46-year-old former groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Company, accusing the agribusiness giant of failing to warn about the dangers of its products and health hazards from exposure, being responsible for his cancer. The jury further found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression”, awarding the plaintiff $289 million, from which $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages. Monsanto, a unit of Bayer AG, is facing more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States, but this case is the very first to go to trial and make Monsanto liable.

Johnson’s lawyer Brent Wisner said in a statement.

“We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that … Roundup could cause cancer,”  The decision, he continued, sent a “message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup are over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits”.

Only a few months after Bayer purchased Monsanto, shares fell as much as 14 percent, even though the German company denies the verdict. 

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Dewayne Johnson, the plaintiff who won against Monsanto, was diagnosed with NHL, which is a type of cancer of the lymphatic system. Tumors develop from the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.  Some of the circumstances that may increase NHL risk include old age, use of immunosuppressant drugs, exposure to certain chemicals, such as weed and insect killers. 

Glyphosate-a probable carcinogen? 

Several studies have linked glyphosate, the chemical used in the popular weed killer Roundup, to cancer.

Glyphosate, used since 1974, effectively kills or suppresses all plant types, including grasses, perennials, vines, shrubs, and trees. When applied at lower rates, glyphosate is a plant-growth regulator and desiccant. It has agricultural and non-agricultural uses throughout the world.

In March 2015, a working group of 17 experts from 11 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, known as IARC, to evaluate the carcinogenicity of five herbicides and insecticides, among these- the most heavily used herbicide in the world, glyphosate.  The study concluded that this chemical is “probably carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2A), based on “limited” evidence of cancer in humans and “sufficient” evidence of cancer in experimental animals. IARC also reasoned that there was strong proof for genotoxicity, both for “pure” glyphosate and for glyphosate formulations. 

The IARC Monographs are based on systematic collections and review of all publicly available and pertinent studies, by objective experts. 

Some of these studies found a link between people exposed to this herbicide and an increased risk of a cancer type called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

On the other hand, one of the evidence that led to IARC’s classification of the chemical as probably carcinogenic to humans, was a set of studies made on animals that showed how the glyphosate has been linked to tumefactions in mice and rats, also known as ‘mechanistic evidence’, such as DNA damage to human cells from exposure to glyphosate. 

Kathryn Guyton, a senior toxicologist in the monographs programme at the IARC and one of the authors of the study, says, “In the case of glyphosate, because the evidence in experimental animals was sufficient and the evidence in humans was limited, that would put the agent into group 2A.” (group 1 is for agents that are definitely carcinogenic to humans; 2A, probably carcinogenic to humans; 2B, possibly carcinogenic to humans; 3, not classifiable; and 4, probably not carcinogenic to humans.).

According to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer in July 2008, glyphosate contained in Roundup was found to be one of the herbicides most associated with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma:

When different NHL entities were analysed separately, the odd ratios  for the subtype small lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (SLL/CLL) was increased for both phenoxy herbicides and, especially, glyphosate’’

The medical Journal Cancer also  published in 1999 a  case-control study, concluding “increased risk for NHL was found for subjects exposed to herbicides and fungicides“.

Monsanto also based its defense on numerous studies and it said it would appeal the verdict. Jurors heard testimony by statisticians, doctors, public health researchers and epidemiologists who disagreed on whether glyphosate can cause cancer and, in the end, they decided in favor of the plaintiff.


Gregory A. Cade has been a lawyer for over 20 years. With the help from his firm, Environmental Litigation Group, they have helped over 200.000 people and they have won more than $1 billion for their clients. Now, they are ready to help even more people who have suffered because of glyphosate.

Featured image is from New Eastern Outlook.


Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

Author Name: F. William Engdahl
ISBN Number: 978-0-937147-2-2
Year: 2007
Pages: 341 pages with complete index

List Price: $25.95

Special Price: $18.00


This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

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Articles by: Gregory A. Cade

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