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Pesticide Verdict Offers Safety Reminder


By Dan Hounsell Grounds Management
spraying pesticide in the lawn

Front-line maintenance and grounds workers in institutional and commercial facilities face a host of job safety hazards daily, from dangerous building materials to faulty equipment. But the hazards are not limited to building interiors, as a California jury acknowledged recently, the verdict offers a reminder to managers and their staffs to promote safe, sustainable products and practices.

A San Francisco jury recently ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto to pay $289 million to a former school groundskeeper dying of cancer, saying the company's popular Roundup weed killer contributed to his disease, reports The New York Times.

Dewayne Johnson's lawsuit was the first of thousands of cases filed in state and federal courts alleging that Roundup causes cancer, which Monsanto denies. Johnson says he hopes his verdict would bolster the other cases.

"This case is way bigger than me," Johnson said during a press conference in his lawyers' San Francisco office after the verdict. "I hope it gets the attention that it needs."

Johnson used Roundup and a similar product, Ranger Pro, as a pest control manager at a San Francisco Bay Area school district, his lawyers said. He sprayed large quantities from a 50-gallon tank attached to a truck, and during gusty winds, the product would cover his face, said Brent Wisner, one of his attorneys.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell — dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com — editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, and chief editor of Facilitiesnet.com.

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