SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)
A man from Vallejo, who sued the agrochemical company Monsanto and accused him of producing a dangerous herbicide that caused his cancer, commented today in a San Francisco courtroom.
After two weeks of trial, the plaintiff testified Dewayne Johnson for the time and said that he used Monsanto products for several years while working as a park attendant for the Benicia Unified School District.
Johnson said he started using Roundup and Ranger Pro, both containing the herbicide glyphosate, to regularly kill weeds on campus.
Around 2013, however, Johnson became worried when he reportedly noticed lesions and rashes on his body. Then he looked for the specialist Dr. Ope Omodile, who also visited the witness stand today.
After allegedly seeing the lesions and lumps on Johnson's body deteriorating rapidly, Ofodile referred him to other specialists.
She described his lesions as "black flaky patches all over his body" and said that "bumps occurred within a few weeks".
Multiple photos of lesions and open wounds that covered his body were shown to the jury.
Johnson was finally diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in August 201
Johnson continued to work as groundskeeper for the school district. At one point, however, Johnson wrote Ofodile and said, "I feel a little stupid about spraying chemicals."
"I use a chemical and it could kill me," Johnson told court today.
Even before his cancer diagnosis, Johnson said he would always wear protective gear while spraying the herbicide, including a mask, goggles, rubber gloves, and a body suit and boots. Anyway, he said, "I would get it on my face all the time."
On another occasion, Johnson contacted Monsanto to ask for a link between the herbicide and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. An employee apparently took Johnson's information, but he's never heard from the company again.
Johnson said that once he accidentally got the herbicide on his body, a supervisor at work suggested that the digest might cause cancer, and he began to refuse to spray it.
Johnson said after his cancer diagnosis, he became depressed when his symptoms worsened and he refused to be seen in public.
"Not to brag, but I had a perfect skin," he said.
Johnson had to stop working due to his deterioration, and his wife Araceli Johnson, who also testified today, was reported to have to take on an extra job to take care of him and her two young boys.
"What makes this so frustrating is that he dies and that's the last time she can spend with him and she has to work, it's annoying," said Johnson's lawyer Brent Wisner today outside the court.
"If they had just called him back, he would have stopped injecting, but as we see in the photos, his cancer got worse as he sprayed, it's just outrageous and we hope the jury agrees," said he.
Sandra Edwards, lawyer from Monsanto, said outside the court, "We are obviously very sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family, as with any cancer, he looks for answers, but the dates, the science, and the 40 years in which this product was on the market, show that this product did not cause cancer and did not cause its cancer. "
The herbicidal properties of glyphosate were discovered in the 1970s and in 1974 Monsanto began selling it under the name Roundup. Roundup is widely used in many parts of the world.
In 2015, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans".
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