“Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning in France” – Reuters

Catherine LaGrange and Marion Douet write about the decision by a French court that, “Declared U.S. biotech giant Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, a judgement that could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides.”

This report published by Reuters continues:

In the first such case heard in court in France, grain grower Paul Francois, 47, says he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

He blames the agri-business giant for not providing adequate warnings on the product label.

The ruling was given by a court in Lyon, southeast France, which ordered an expert opinion of Francois’s losses to establish the amount of damages.

“It is a historic decision in so far as it is the first time that a (pesticide) maker is found guilty of such a poisoning,” François Lafforgue, Francois’s lawyer, told Reuters.

Monsanto said it was disappointed by the ruling and would examine whether to appeal the judgment.

“Monsanto always considered that there were not sufficient elements to establish a causal relationship between Paul Francois’s symptoms and a potential poisoning,” the company’s lawyer, Jean-Philippe Delsart, said.

Previous health claims from farmers have foundered because of the difficulty of establishing clear links between illnesses and exposure to pesticides.

Read the full report here.

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