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Hope and spray: Does weedkiller widely used in SA cause cancer?

17 August 2018 - 07:01 By Katharine Child
Dewayne Johnson, to whom a California jury awarded nearly $290m because Monsanto failed to warn the dying groundskeeper that its weedkiller Roundup might cause cancer.
Dewayne Johnson, to whom a California jury awarded nearly $290m because Monsanto failed to warn the dying groundskeeper that its weedkiller Roundup might cause cancer.
Image: AFP/Pool/Josh Edelson

A US jury has found that the main ingredient in one of South Africa’s most widely used weedkillers causes cancer, but local and international experts disagree about its health risk.

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, was found to have been the cause of US school groundsman Dewayne “Lee” Johnson’s Non Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare type of blood cancer.

The jury awarded the terminally ill man $289m (R4,2-billion) last week.

But figuratively speaking, the jury is still out on whether it really causes cancer, depending on who you speak to.

Most local experts approached by Times Select believed Roundup was not harmful, while Monsanto, the company that created the herbicide, said there were more than 800 studies showing it is safe.

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