Amsterdam — Greenpeace International is calling for urgent action to curb the use of toxic pesticides after a US court case found Roundup had contributed to a former school groundskeeper’s cancer.

Agribusiness giant Monsanto was ordered to pay USD 289 million to Dewayne Johnson on 10 August, the jury found that Monsanto acted with “malice and oppression” and ruled that the company was responsible for “negligent failure” and knew or should have known that its product was “dangerous”. Monsanto is reported to face more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

“We hope this ruling has offered some measure of justice to Mr Johnson whose struggle with cancer and fight in court shows immense courage.”

“This is the latest in a long string of wake up calls. The WHO has called the main ingredient in RoundUp, glyphosate, ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’. Now the findings in this latest court case demonstrate that we need to stop the use of chemicals that can potentially harm human health and move to an ecological farming system with people at its heart.” said Dr Reyes Tirado, scientist at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter.

“Glyphosate is a heavily used weedkiller, traces of which have been found in food, drinks and even in people’s urine. If we are serious about protecting the health of our communities, children, and wildlife then governments around the world must move to ban toxic pesticides. The only option to reduce health risks from pesticides is to fundamentally shift our farming systems from industrial agriculture, which relies heavily on chemicals, toward ecological farming.”

Over one million people have signed a European citizen’s initiative calling for a glyphosate ban, while polling in Germany, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece shows growing concern and overwhelming support for a ban.

Experts, including Germany’s Julius Kühn Institute, have argued that farming without glyphosate does not need to come at an additional cost. Progressive farmers’ associations, such as Confédération Paysanne in France and AbL in Germany, support a glyphosate ban.

In keeping with this movement, Greenpeace calls for a ban on glyphosate and a transition to ecologically sound farming that sustains people, animals and the planet.



[1] Press release: Research shows switching to organic food can reduce pesticide levels in urine


Greenpeace International Press Desk, [email protected], phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

Dr Reyes Tirado, Greenpeace International spokeperson, [email protected], phone: +34685322093

Davin Hutchins, Global Campaign Strategist, [email protected], +1-202-213-5828