In France, an appeals court has upheld a three year old ruling on Thursday against the Monsanto company that found them guilty of chemically poisoning a farmer.  


A man pours chemical Lasso into an industrial sized sprayer

A farmer pours the Monsanto pesticide, Lasso, into an industrial sprayer. (

Grain farmer Paul Francois faced neurological problems after he inhaled Monsanto’s Lasso herbicide chemical in 2004. The herbicide was found to be responsible for Francois’ frequent speech problems, memory loss, and headaches. Monsanto now has to “fully compensate” Francois as a result of Thursday’s ruling. There are a lot of chemicals on the market that can cause harm to the user, so why did Monsanto lose in court over their herbicide?


According to Francois, the company’s Lasso product wasn’t properly labeled with warnings, so it was unclear that the he was at risk of these severe side effects. Lasso has been banned in France since 2007, after the product was withdrawn from multiple countries. After studies surfaces showing the dangers that the chemical presented, the product’s sales dropped drastically. Although Francois won in court, Monsanto’s lawyer Jean-Daniel Bretzner says that the company will likely have to pay very little compensation to the farmer.     


“We are speaking about modest sums of money or even nonexistent. He already received indemnities (by insurers) and there is a fundamental rule that says one does not compensate twice for a loss, if any,” said Bretzner.  


Protestors stand against Monsanto

People hold signs during a demonstration against agribusiness giant Monsanto and genetically modified organisms (GMO) in front of the White House in Washington on May 25, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM)

Lasso isn’t the only product made by Monsanto facing scrutiny for harming humans. Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller has been the topic of health studies that have proven the harm the chemical can cause. A study done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer found that Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, is likely to be “carcinogenic to humans.” Studies done by France’s University of Caen have shown that the product’s ingredient polyethoxylated tallowamine is also deadly, and can kill human embryonic, placental, and umbilical cord cells.


Millions of activists have marched against Monsanto following the claims that their product is harmful to human life, creating more negative PR for the company. Now that Francois has proven that farmers can win against Monsanto in court, others affected by their products may come forward in the near future. Despite the court’s ruling, Monsanto still denies claims that some of their products can be dangerous to the user’s health.


How will this negative PR effect Monsanto? Will their weedkillers receive FDA bans?  Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.