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French Court Finds US Biotech Giant Monsanto Guilty of Chemical Poisoning

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An appeals court in the French city of Lyon has supported a local grain grower in his battle against US herbicide producer Monsanto, upholding a previous ruling that the company is responsible for poisoning the farmer with its toxic weedkiller over ten years ago.

FILE- In this March 16, 2015, file photo, Chelsea Robinson of Monsanto answers questions from about corn for Mboswobeni Mulugana of Johannesburg, South Africa at the GMO Answers booth in Austin, Texas - Sputnik International
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In continuation of the first such case heard in French court, the judge upheld the initial court’s decision, made in 2012, and ruled the much-maligned biotech giant must “fully compensate” grain grower Paul Francois.

Francois, who suffered health problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after using Monsanto’s herbicide Lasso on his field in 2004 and says the company did not provide adequate product warnings, said he was satisfied with the court’s judgment.

"David can win against Goliath… And a giant like Monsanto is not above the law," Phys.org quoted Francois as saying.

French website RFI reported that the ruling was praised by both anti-pesticide foundations and farmers, who claimed that now “their health problems could be recognized as the result of similar exposure.”

Agribusiness giant Monsanto - best known for their genetically modified soybeans and “probably carcinogenic” herbicide - has supplied the US government with white phosphorous used in incendiary weapons for at least 20 years, and some of that made its way to Israel for use in Operation Cast Lead. - Sputnik International
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Lasso is a weed-controlling herbicide that was once popular among farmers worldwide, but later was banned as researchers determined it posed significant threats to human health. Its use was restricted in France in 2007, prior to the Francois case. Lasso was banned even earlier from markets in Canada, Belgium and Britain, Reuters reported.

According to Francois, the afflictions he suffered as a result of Lasso inhalation prevented him of working for a period of more than a year, according to RFI.

Monsanto, for their part, is not going to give up – the company’s lawyer Jean-Daniel Bretzner claimed they would take the case to France's highest appeal court.

"The decision is very surprising given the inaccuracies and errors that dot Paul Francois' evidence," Phys.org quoted Bretzner as saying. “[T]his is just another step and the discussion is going to go on and the fight will go on."

Lasso is not the only Monsanto product deemed dangerous to humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, party of the World Health Organization, has determined the ubiquitous chemical herbicide Roundup contains components that are "probably carcinogenic to humans."

The corporation responded that those findings were “junk science.”

© Flickr / Mike MozartThe French Ministry of Ecology declared a ban on the use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide in the nation's nurseries and garden centers Sunday, citing the previous UN classification of the chemical glyphosate as "possibly carcinogenic."
The French Ministry of Ecology declared a ban on the use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide in the nation's nurseries and garden centers Sunday, citing the previous UN classification of the chemical glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic. - Sputnik International
The French Ministry of Ecology declared a ban on the use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide in the nation's nurseries and garden centers Sunday, citing the previous UN classification of the chemical glyphosate as "possibly carcinogenic."
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