Two Bay Area cities go Roundup-free following cancer ruling against Monsanto

Monday, August 20, 2018
BENICIA, Calif. (KGO) -- Two North Bay cities are no longer using Roundup weed killer following a ruling against the manufacturer Monsanto. Earlier this month a jury awarded a former Benicia School District grounds keeper with terminal cancer $289.2 million.

"There's a saying that you put your money behind your values and in our community we value the environment, we value protecting our children," said Mayor Josh Fryday, City of Novato.

In an effort to do so the City of Novato will no longer use the weed killer Roundup or products containing the chemical glyphosate.

RELATED: Bayer shares plunge in wake of Monsanto weed killer verdict

"The World Health Organization did declare Roundup carcinogenic quite a while ago," said Marla Fields, president of the group Sustainable Novato.

It's a victory for groups like sustainable Novato that have advocated against potentially dangerous chemicals for years.

"The truth is you can't put a price tag on your children's health, and the health or your pets and loved ones," said Fields.

This month a jury did put a price tag on one man's terminal cancer awarding a former Benicia School District grounds keeper millions of dollars.

Dewayne Lee Johnson sprayed the weed killer in bulk 30 times a year. Two and a half years into the job, he was given a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

"This cause is way bigger than me. So hopefully this thing will start to get the attention that it needs to get right so folks can make a good choice," said Dewayne Lee Johnson, plaintiff in the Monsanto case.

RELATED: Jury rules Monsanto liable in weed killer case

Monsanto, the makers of Roundup, say they'll appeal.

"The verdict today doesn't change the overwhelming scientific evidence and the 40 years of safe use of glyphosate around the world," said George Lombardi, Monsanto attorney.

"This was in the works prior to the ruling, but we wanted to make sure because of the ruling that our community knew that we are taking these steps," said Fryday.

Now the city is seeking volunteers to help the hand full of public works grounds keepers pull weeds.

"You know if we all do a little bit it all adds up," said Fields.

The City of Benicia has also gone glyphosate free.
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