For many years, a dispute has been going on regarding the dangers of Roundup, a popular lawn and garden weed killer. In a recent verdict, San Francisco jurors decided that there was enough evidence behind one man's claim that the herbicide gave him cancer. In a move to punish the agricultural company that makes Roundup, the jury awarded Californian Dewayne Johnson $289 million in damages. The verdict has paved the way for thousands of other cancer victims to bring claims against Monsanto.
Here's what you need to know about the trial and future cases for Monsanto.
The long road to court
A few years ago, the World Health Organization conducted a study and classified glyphosate, a key ingredient in Roundup, as "probably carcinogenic" to humans. At the time, there was limited evidence that the substance could cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma or other cancers. Since then, people have been trying to recover losses against Monsanto.
California courts expedite cases for claimants who are suffering from terminal illnesses. Johnson has terminal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, his case came before the California court quickly.
Where Monsanto failed
There were two questions the jury had to answer. First, can Roundup cause cancer? And second, if Roundup can cause cancer, did Monsanto fail to warn its consumers who were using Roundup? In this case, the answer was yes to both.
After the WHO report came out in 2015, Monsanto had an obligation to warn consumers that there could be a risk to using Roundup. The chemical giant, however, is still claiming that glyphosate and its use in Roundup are safe. Monsanto has even expressed an intent to appeal this decision.
Moving toward the future
Currently, there are nearly 10,000 cases pending against Monsanto because of the alleged hazards of Roundup. Now that Johnson has received such a favorable verdict, there are likely more cases to come.