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Monsanto Guilty of Poisoning French Farmer Who Inhaled Weed Killer

Image: Monsanto Guilty of Poisoning French Farmer Who Inhaled Weed Killer
French farmer Paul François gives a press conference, on September 10, 2015, in Paris, following the ruling of Lyon's appeal court regarding his trial against Monsanto company, which he accuses of poisoning him after the use in 2004 of a herbicide forbidden in France since 2007. (Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 11 Sep 2015 12:09 PM

The 2012 Monsanto guilty poisoning ruling was upheld this week by France's highest appellate court in a ruling that favored a French farmer who claims he was injured by the U.S. company's Lasso weed killer.

Plaintiffs argued that Paul Francois suffered neurological problems after he inhaled the chemical weed killer, according to Reuters. Francois has said he suffered memory loss, headaches, and stammering after the 2004 incident.

Lasso was banned from France in 2007 and the company has stopped it in Canada, Belgium, and Great Britain as well. It was phased out commercially in the United States several years ago, according to the wire service.

Before that, Lasso was one of the leading soil-applied herbicides that has been used since the 1960s to control grasses and broadleaf weeds in farm fields.

The ruling is just the latest in a string of legal problems for the Missouri-based agribusiness giant. East County Magazine reported Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency in California issued a notice of intent to label glyphosate as a carcinogen, known to cause cancer.

Glyphosate is an herbicide that is a main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, according to East County Magazine. The publication stated that glyphosate was connected with the decline in Monarch butterflies nationwide.

Nathan Donley, a scientist for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the EPA's action would protect people and wildlife from a toxic chemical.

"More than 250 million pounds of glyphosate are used each year in the United States, and the science is clear that it's a threat to public health and countless wildlife species," Donley said in his statement. "It's long past time to start reining in the out-of-control use of glyphosate in the United States."

Monsanto stated in June that an Environmental Protection Agency
screening program claimed that glyphosate was not an endocrine disruptor. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that could interfere with the body's endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Science.

"The safety of our products is of the utmost importance to everyone at Monsanto, and we conduct rigorous testing on every product we put on the market," Steve Levine, a senior science fellow with Monsanto, said in the company's statement at the time.

"We are pleased that EPA has completed a rigorous, comprehensive and science-based review of glyphosate. This assessment should give farmers, consumers, and other users of glyphosate added assurance about the safety of this important pesticide product."

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The 2012 Monsanto guilty poisoning ruling was upheld this week by France's highest appellate court in a ruling that favored a French farmer who claims he was injured by the U.S. company's Lasso weed killer.
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2015-09-11
Friday, 11 Sep 2015 12:09 PM
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