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Those of you who have already got your hands on Bee Alert! will know that Ben and Rory are environmental activists. We promised you updates on the campaigns and issues they’re concerned with.

Here is the very latest news on glyphosates:

Major Blow for Monsanto

Last month a jury in San Francisco ruled that Monsanto was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer and awarded him $289 million in damages.

Lee Johnson, 46, is a father of three. He worked as a grounds keeper and pest manager for a school district just north of San Francisco. His position involved him spraying the herbicide Roundup to control weeds on school grounds.  

When he took the stand he argued that his exposure to the chemicals caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cell cancer. He told the jury of his pain and suffering as skin lesions took over his body. His wife has been working up to 14 hours a day to pay for his treatment.

Demonstrators march against pesticide maker Monsanto in Bordeaux, France, last year.  Photograph: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

Demonstrators march against pesticide maker Monsanto in Bordeaux, France, last year.
Photograph: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

Photograph: Dave Martin/AP

Photograph: Dave Martin/AP

His lawyer stated that “Monsanto has known for decades that …Roundup could cause cancer.”  

The jury not only found that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer but that Monsanto had “acted with malice or oppression”. 

Johnson, who has probably only months to live, is the first person to take the agro-chemical corporation to trial. He says he hopes the case bolsters the thousands of similar lawsuits pending against the company and brings national attention to the issue.

Some Democrats have asked for a department of Justice investigation into the alleged collusion between government officials and Monsanto

Read more over at The Guardian.

Barbara Rustin