Homebase reviewing weedkillers after US cancer lawsuit

Homebase is reviewing its range of weedkiller products after a man with terminal cancer successfully sued a manufacturer in the US, Sky News can reveal.

A spokesperson for the company said: "We have confirmed that we will be reviewing our range of weedkiller products."

Monsanto, which makes Roundup and Ranger Pro, has been ordered to pay $289m (£226m) to a dying groundsman who says the product contributed to his cancer.

A San Francisco court was told how Dewayne Johnson has a terminal form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma which he claims developed after he worked as a pest control manager at a school.

Image: Roundup is made by Monsanto and is widely available from garden centres

Mr Johnson used the two products while carrying out the duties of his job, his lawyers said.

He sprayed large quantities from a 50-gallon tank attached to a truck and during gusty winds the product would cover his face, one of his lawyers, Brent Wisner, told the court.

At one point, when a hose broke, the weedkiller covered his entire body.

Mr Johnson read the label but said he was never warned the product could cause cancer, Mr Wisner said.

In 2014, at the age of 42, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto
Image: Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto

Roundup is widely available in British garden centres and is thought to be the most commonly used weedkiller in the world.

It contains glyphosate, a herbicide that has been the subject of huge controversy in the EU where several countries have attempted to bring in a bloc-wide ban, despite the opposition of farmers.

Monsanto, a subsidiary of German firm Bayer AG, has denied glyphosate is linked to cancer, saying hundreds of studies have found the product to be safe.

Monsanto vice-president Scott Partridge told British consumers the firm's product was safe to use.

He said: "Roundup has been safe for four decades and will continue to be safe. There is no credible scientific evidence that demonstrates otherwise.

"It is completely and totally safe and the public should not be concerned about this verdict, it is one that we will work through the legal process to see if we can get the right result. The science is crystal clear."

Monsanto, which is facing up to 5,000 similar lawsuits across the US, said it would appeal against the verdict.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said on Twitter the verdict had "huge implications for the food chain".

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says glyphosate is safe when users follow directions on the label.

But the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organisation, classed the chemical as a "probable human carcinogen" in 2015.

More from UK

California has also added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

Several countries around the world have banned it, amid claims it impacts ecosystems.

Original Article

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