An American gardener has just won a lawsuit against Monsanto, whom he accused of causing his cancer. But the moral of the story is not so straightforward.
The world’s ecologists are popping the champagne. After a month-long trial, San Francisco gardener Dewayne Johnson has been awarded compensation of 289 million dollars from Monsanto. Johnson initially asked for 400 million dollars from the U.S. company, accusing it of being responsible for his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He claimed his illness was caused by his exposure to Roundup, a weed killer whose main ingredient is glyphosate. Monsanto has appealed the decision.
The San Francisco court has not in fact proved there is a causal link between Roundup and cancer. Monsanto has actually been convicted of hiding research it carried out in-house, the results of which suggested that glyphosate could be toxic when mixed with other herbicide substances. This victory — which is likely to be fleeting — has all the components of a Hollywood production, with the modest gardener getting justice and beating the capitalist giant. But regardless of our penchant[...]