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Monsanto poisoned French farmer, court rules

Decision could lead to more claims against the agricultural giant

A court in France ruled today that Monsanto is responsible for the chemical poisoning of a French farmer. The ruling may lead to increased litigation over claims of chemical poisoning against the agricultural giant.

The farmer, 47-year-old Paul Francois, said he suffered various symptoms—including memory loss, headaches and stammering—after he accidentally inhaled Lasso weed killer, a Monsanto product, in 2004. He said in his suit that Monsanto did not adequately warn about the health dangers of Lasso.

Other farmers have tried to file health claims against Monsanto for similar reactions to the product, but because of their exposures to other pesticides, proving Lasso was the cause was too difficult.

"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' lawyer, told Reuters.

Monsanto said it is disappointed in the ruling and is considering an appeal. "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.


Cathleen Flahardy

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