Following the country’s first ever cancer lawsuit against Roundup-manufacturer Monsanto, Australia faces public outcry against the weedkiller.
On Wednesday, July 3, workers incited mass walk-outs when required to use the product on the job.
The outcry comes after three landmark rulings against Bayer AG, the German conglomerate that owns Roundup-maker Monsanto.
Per a recent jury decision in the U.S., Monsanto must pay $2 billion to a California couple who claimed they developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from long-term exposure to glyphosate, the chief ingredient in Roundup.
The verdict was the third against Monsanto and among thousands of cases in the United States pursuing legal recourse for adverse health effects caused by Roundup, the most commonly used herbicide in the world.
A research arm of the World Health Organization in 2015 labeled Roundup as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Still, only a handful of countries have banned its use, and 160 nations allow it.
Now, Australians are reacting to concerns about the risks of Roundup.
Here’s the latest from that country.
- Last month, Australian Michael Ogliarolo, 54, filed the first lawsuit in that country against Monsanto, as an ABC affiliate reported. Ogliarolo, who used Roundup nearly two decades in his work as a landscape gardener, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011. His lawsuit asks for $1.7 million in damages from Monsanto.
- The Australian Cancer Council issued a warning to Australians who use Roundup, saying, “the current evidence suggests those who regularly work with the glyphosate may be at risk.”
- Sydney lawmakers are considering whether to ban the use of Roundup on city property after groundskeepers in a neighboring city walked off the job over fears the chemical glyphosate causes cancer.
- City leaders in the Sydney suburb of Blackstone announced a pilot program to permit city groundskeepers to use herbicides that don’t contain glyphosate following a strike by 500 workers.
Meanwhile, Bayer AG, the parent company of Monsanto, maintained in a statement that glyphosate and Roundup are “safe when used as directed.” The company is appealing all three U.S. verdicts.