校工噴灑年年春致癌 孟山都遭判賠2.89億 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

校工噴灑年年春致癌 孟山都遭判賠2.89億

2018年08月21日
環境資訊中心外電;姜唯 翻譯;林大利 審校;稿源:ENS

美國舊金山一陪審團17日認定,農化大廠孟山都公司需為校工暴露於年年春(Roundup)除草劑後罹癌負責,並支付2.89億美元的賠償金。陪審團認為,孟山都明明知道年年春的主成分嘉磷塞(glyphosate)可致癌,卻沒有警告消費者。

Mike Mozart(CC BY 2.0)

年年春。圖片來源:Mike Mozart(CC BY 2.0)

校工受災  公園、學校廣泛使用嘉磷塞

受害者是舊金山灣區一位校工強森(Dewayne "Lee" Johnson)。強森的律師威斯納(Brent Wisner)說,強森用接在卡車後的大型水箱噴灑地面。風會將農藥吹到他臉上,或是萬一水管破裂,這位校工全身都會暴露於有毒物質。

威斯納解釋,強森在皮疹爆發後聯繫了孟山都公司,但從未接收到年年春可能致癌的警告。 2014年,當時42歲的強森確診非何杰金氏淋巴瘤(non-Hodgkin's lymphoma)。

Photo by Josh Edelson / Pool Photo via AP
校工強森(Dewayne "Lee" Johnson)在聽審中。

孟山都否認是年年春導致強森罹癌症。

嘉磷塞  最受歡迎農藥

嘉磷塞的作用機制是抑制EPSP合酶作用,阻止植物和細菌製造氨基酸。嘉磷塞的化學結構類似甘氨酸,與ESPS合酶的活性位置結合。植物必須合成生產蛋白質所需的所有氨基酸,因此嘉磷塞抑制EPSP合酶,能使植物細胞缺乏氨基酸,導致植物死亡。

1971年,孟山都公司的法蘭茲博士(John Franz)發現嘉磷塞,1974年嘉磷塞上市。1983年,年年春成為世界上第一個銷售額超過10億美元的農藥,至今仍是農藥界霸主。年年春並不是唯一以嘉磷塞為主成分的農藥。截至2010年,市場上已有750多種嘉磷塞產品。

儘管如此,年年春仍是全世界最常用的除草劑,而這僅是第一個案例,後續還有數千人試圖讓孟山都對年年春的健康影響負責。

世界衛生組織(WHO)三年前就將嘉磷塞歸類為可能的人類致癌物,但年年春仍被廣泛使用,於學校和公園附近噴灑。

拜耳併孟山都 5200人因孟山都產品受害提告

加州陪審團認為,孟山都的年年春和「Ranger Pro」產品對消費者健康具「重大危險」性,孟山都知道或應該要知道潛在的風險。

此案僅是數起類似投訴中的第一起,這些案件後續都可能進入司法程序,對拜耳來說相當棘手。

拜耳在經過兩年的談判後於6月7日以600億美元收購了孟山都公司。總部位於聖路易斯的孟山都,股票再也不在紐約證券交易所上市交易,拜耳現在是孟山都的唯一持有者。孟山都的股東每股收益為128美元。

孟山都表示,截至2月份,其各種產品索賠金額總額高達2.54億美元,並且已知有5200名原告聲稱因接觸嘉磷塞產品而受害。

該公司先前曾表示無法估計訴訟損失。合併後的公司將放棄孟山都公司名,以免受孟山都品牌的法律和公共關係問題影響。

Monsanto Must Pay $289 Million to Roundup Cancer Victim
SAN FRANCISCO, California, August 15, 2018 (ENS)

A San Francisco jury has found Monsanto liable for causing a school groundskeeper’s cancer through his exposure to the Monsanto product Roundup and ordered the agricultural giant to pay US$289.2 million in damages.

On Friday the jury found that Monsanto knew glyphosate, the primary ingredient in the company’s signature herbicide Roundup, could cause cancer but failed to warn consumers.

Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a Bay Area school district groundskeeper, sprayed the grounds from a large tank attached for a truck, said his lawyer Brent Wisner. Wind gusts would blow the herbicide in his face, and when a hose broke, he got the toxic substance all over his body.

Johnson contacted Monsanto after he broke out in a rash, but he was never warned the herbicide could cause cancer, Wisner explained. In 2014, at age 42, Johnson received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Monsanto rejected Johnson’s claim that Roundup caused his cancer.

Glyphosate works by inhibiting an enzyme that plants and bacteria use to make amino acids called EPSP synthase. Structurally, glyphosate resembles the chemical structure of the amino acid glycine. Because of its structural similarity to glycine, glyphosate binds the active site of the ESPS synthase enzyme that is critical for the production of aromatic amino acids.

Since plants must synthesize all the amino acids they need for protein production, inhibition of EPSP synthase by glyphosate makes the plant cells to starve for amino acids, causing the plants to die.

Glyphosate was discovered by Dr. John Franz of Monsanto in 1971 and released commercially in 1974. In 1983, RoundUp became the first pesticide with world-wide sales of over $1 billion, a position it has maintained since then.

Today, Monsanto’s Roundup is not the only glyphosate-based product available. Other glyphosate formulations are sold under brand names that include: Bronco, Glifonox, KleenUp, Ranger Pro, Rodeo and Weedoff. As of 2010, more than 750 glyphosate products were on the market.

Still, Roundup is the most commonly used herbicide in the world, and this case is the first of thousands seeking to hold Monsanto responsible for the health impacts of Roundup.

It has been three years since the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, but Roundup is still used widely and is sprayed near schools and parks.

The California jury’s ruling found that Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro products posed a “substantial danger” to consumers, and that Monsanto knew, or ought to have known, of the potential risks.

The case is the first of several similar complaints that could go to trial and represents a troublesome issue for Bayer, which closed its US$60 billion acquisition of Monsanto on June 7 after two years of negotiating.

Shares in the St. Louis-based Monsanto are no longer traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with Bayer now the sole owner of Monsanto Company. Monsanto shareholders are being paid US128 per share.

Monsanto said that as of February it had a recorded liability of $254 million relating to various product claims and that it is aware of 5,200 plaintiffs who claim to have been injured by exposure to glyphospate-based products.

The company has previously said it could not estimate losses from the litigation.

The combined company will drop the name Monsanto to avoid identification with the legal and public relations troubles that encumber the Monsanto brand.

※ 全文及圖片詳見:ENS

作者

姜唯

如果有一件事是重要的,如果能為孩子實現一個願望,那就是人類與大自然和諧共存。

林大利

於特有生物研究保育中心服務,小鳥和棲地是主要的研究對象。是龜毛的讀者,認為龜毛是探索世界的美德。