A former Victorian farmer will lead a major class action against German pharmaceutical giant Bayer over claims that long-term exposure to the popular weedkiller Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Nando Maisano, 77, also accuses Bayer, and the original manufacturer Monsanto, of repeatedly ignoring and concealing evidence of the carcinogenic impact of glyphosate – the active component in its top-selling herbicide, in a Supreme Court of Victoria writ lodged on December 10.Mr Maisano will be lead plaintiff in the class action, which already includes about 100 other litigants all diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Carbone Lawyer partner John Karantzis said his client suffered permanent medical and psychological conditions.
“We have strong medical and scientific evidence to support claims this is a deadly product,” Mr Karantzis said.
“This class action has been issued to protect the rights and interests of all of those affected. We say this is a dangerous and illicit product, and we look forward to our day in court.”
US courts have already ordered Bayer to pay damages to three plaintiffs, including USD289 million (Ksh29.4 billion) to a former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, after a Californian jury found that Roundup caused his cancer.
A separate lawsuit in the US Federal Court saw USD80 million (Ksh8.1 billion) awarded to a residential user of the herbicide in early 2019.
And in May, a Californian couple was awarded USD2 billion (Ksh203 billion) after a jury found their non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was caused by years of exposure to Roundup.
Bayer has appealed the decision involving Mr Johnson and has indicated it will challenge the other two.
Local Kenyan media have incessantly reported that the same cancer-causing weed-killer is retailing in Kenya without any effort from the government to ban it. The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) appears to disobey court orders against the use of the chemicals.
In Kenya, agronomists and coffee marketing agents have raised the red flag over the use of harmful weed killers that are used on coffee, tea and sugarcane farms.
Bayer/Monsanto denies that the weed-killer causes cancer, but the truth is out there.
he Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) said a mix of laxity and corruption within government agencies will continue exposing Kenyans to cancer and other risks.
“Most of these products that are said to be cancerous or have other negative impacts on consumers do actually meet the stands set by Kebs,” said Secretary General Stephen Mutoro.
Countries including Germany, Austria, France and Thailand are all set to ban, or dramatically curb the use of the herbicide.
Mr. Nando Maisano’s Case
In Mr. Maisano’s case, Bayer spokesman Lachlan Bird said the company stood behind the safety of its products and would vigorously defend the claim in court.
“Bayer is a company devoted to life sciences. The health and well-being of our consumers and the environment are critically important to us,” Mr Bird said.
“We are aware that a statement of claim against Monsanto Australia Pty Ltd, a Bayer-owned entity, has been filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria, but we have not received a writ at this time.”
The regulator had already rejected a 2015 finding by the World Health Organisation that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
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