Will we listen to French farmer Paul François, who sued Monsanto for nerve damage due to inhaling Lasso weedkiller, and won last year? Monsanto appealed, but François just won
“Farmers need to understand that those who speak for them are businessmen who defend other interests, very lucrative for the businessmen, who do not care about farmers’ health or the health of those around us.”the appeal, too. Now the court is gauging losses to determine penalties for Monsanto. This after back in 2009 France convicted Monsanto of lying about its claims that Roundup was “biodegradable” and “left the soil clean”. And Argentinean tobacco farmers are suing Monsanto in New Castle County Court, Delaware, saying Monsanto “knowingly poisoned them with herbicides and pesticides and subsequently caused ”devastating birth defects” in their children”. These same Monsanto herbicides and pesticides are sprayed on most fields around here, and they’re just as much poisons here as in Argentina or France.
Paul François answered questions from Pierre Penin for Sud Ouest (southwest France) 8 February 2013,
« Sud Ouest » : Gravement malades à cause des produits que vous utilisiez, avez-vous changé votre approche ? Southwest France: Now that you are gravely ill due to the products you used, have you changed your approach? Paul François : Je faisais partie du monde de l’agriculture intensive. Je considérais comme beaucoup qu’on ne pouvait pas faire autrement. Je tapais sur les tenants du bio et eux tapaient sur moi. La société civile qui demandait d’autres modes de production, nous l’appelions les emmerdeurs. Il y a une réalité : l’agriculture intensive comme on l’a pratiquée dans les années 1990 tue le sol. Quand vous faites ça, vous êtes perdu. Je ne parle pas de conversion au bio. Mais il faut unir nos forces pour dire que l’agronomie doit primer sur la chimie. Paul François : I was part of the world of intensive agriculture. I thought like many that there was no other way. I saw proponents of organic agriculture as attacking me. People who asked for other modes of production, we called hecklers. Here’s a fact: intensive agriculture as was practiced from the 1990s killed the soil. When you do that, you are lost. I’m not talking about converting to organic. But we must join foces to say agronomy must take precedence over chemistry. Parleriez-vous de prise de conscience politique ? Would you talk of political awareness? Mon combat m’a amené à une nouvelle perception des choses. J’ai compris que nous avons été naïfs. On s’est servi de nous pour développer une agriculture qui ne nous ressemblait pas. On nous l’a vendue, elle nous convenait. Il faut regarder ce qui se cache derrière toute communication. On peut produire autrement. Les agriculteurs doivent comprendre que ceux qui parlent à leur place sont des businessmen, qui défendent d’autres intérêts, très juteux, et ne se préoccupent pas de leur santé ni de celle de ceux qui nous entourent. My struggle has led me to a new perception. I realized that we were naive. It served us to develop an agriculture that does not like us. We sold it, it suited us. We have to look beyond that sort of communication. We can farm otherwise. Farmers need to understand that those who speak for them are businessmen who defend other interests, very lucrative for the businessmen, who do not care about farmers’ health or the health of those around us.
Natural Cures Not Medicine wrote 21 May 2013, Monsanto has been found guilty of chemical poisoning,
Monsanto has been found guilty of chemical poisoning! A court in Lyon ruled that Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller formula, (containing alachlor) caused Paul Francois to develop neurological damage as persistent memory loss, headaches, and stuttering during speech.
Reports say that the 47 year old farmer sued Monsanto in 2004 after inhaling the Lasso product while cleaning his sprayer tank equipment. Soon after, Francois had symptoms that prevented him from working. The reason Monsanto is getting caught out this time is because the Lasso’s packaging did not have adequate warnings about the dangers of exposure. The French court agreed with the claims and evidence presented, declaring earlier this year that “Monsanto is responsible for Paul Francois’ suffering and must entirely compensate him.” The court is said to be looking for expert opinions on how to gauge Francois’ losses in order to determine how much Monsanto should be required to pay.
“It is a historic decision in so far as it is the first time that a (pesticide) maker is found guilty of such a poisoning,” said Francois Lafforgue, Paul Francois’ lawyer, to Reuters.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to alachlor can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, spleen, eyes, and could lead to the development of anemia or even cancer. (http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/alachlor.cfm)
In 2007, France banned Lasso in the country in accordance with a European Union (EU) directive enacted in 2006 prohibiting the chemical from further use on crops in any member countries. Despite the evidence shows alachlor can disrupt hormonal balance, reproductive or developmental problems, cancer, and still the chemical is still being used on crops throughout the U.S. to this very day.( http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_ChemReg.jsp?Rec_Id=PC35160)
Southwest France sounds a lot like south Georgia, except France found against Monsanto. Maybe it’s time for us to do the same.