It’s not every day that we learn about a victory for Mother Earth. But thanks to a 47-year old farmer and a French court there has been a victory against U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto. And, I’d say that’s a triumph for Mother Earth as well. The company lost a court battle earlier this year and was charged as guilty of chemical poisoning. This judgment could lend credence to other health claims against Monsanto and pesticides in general.
Paul Francois, a French farmer sued Monsanto after he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches, and stammering after inhaling the company’s Lasso weedkiller in 2004. He cited insufficient product label warnings as part of the problem.
“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, Paul Francois’s lawyer said in an interview with Reuters. In the same interview, Monsanto’s lawyer Jean-Philippe Delsart states: “Monsanto always considered that there were not sufficient elements to establish a causal relationship between Paul Francois’s symptoms and a potential poisoning.”
But the court in Lyon, in southeast France disagreed. It clearly saw the cause of Francois’ health problems as linked to Monsanto’s pesticide use and subsequently ordered an expert assessment to determine Francois’ financial losses and awarded him accordingly.
According to the Reuters news report, the agricultural branch of the French social security system says that it has gathered about 200 reports of sickness linked to pesticides a year since 1996. Prior to this landmark case, farmers have had difficulty proving causal effect or have simply not tried to sue the corporate giant known for its bullying tactics on farmers worldwide.
Francois, along with other farmers set up an association to help establish the link between pesticides and neurological problems suffered by farmers. While the farmer was victorious against Monsanto, he is no longer able to perform his farming responsibilities due to the damage he suffered from pesticide use.
In my blog, “Is Your Body Roundup Ready?” I discussed some of the health dangers of Monsanto’s pesticide known as RoundUp. In research conducted on frogs and chicken embryos, glyphosate—the primary ingredient in RoundUp—was found to cause birth defects. The same study found that glyphosate affects the skull, face, parts of the brain and spinal cord.
Another study out of Germany found RoundUp in all human urine samples tested. The amount found in urine was 5 to 20 times the established upper limit for drinking water.
Monsanto’s pesticides are not just used in food production but are also sprayed on school playgrounds, private lawns, railway lines, urban pavement, golf courses, community roadsides and public land.
Monsanto has been named as one of the “World’s 10 Most Innovative Companies” by Forbes Magazine while Natural Society has awarded Monsanto the Worst Company of 2011 award for its ongoing work to threaten human health and the environment.
If you type “Monsanto” into Google, you’ll quickly find that the most common search term for the company is “Monsanto evil.” After years of following Monsanto’s path of destruction, I’d say Monsanto warrants the Worst Company of 2012 as well. What do you think? I’d love to know.
Subscribe to my free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.