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Chemical giant Monsanto's German owners insisted yesterday that the weed killer Roundup was "safe", rejecting a California jury's decision to order the company to pay almost US$290 million (S$398 million) for failing to warn a dying groundskeeper that the product might cause cancer.

Spokesman Scott Partridge said the company would appeal, and said scientific studies and two government agencies had concluded that Roundup does not cause cancer.

Johnson's lawyers sought and won 39 million dollars (£30 million) in compensatory damages and 250 million dollars (£196 million) of the 373 million dollars (£292 million) they wanted in punitive damages.

Homebase confirmed it was undertaking a review following a California jury's decision to award a groundskeeper $289million after concluding the weedkiller Roundup had caused his terminal non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Mr Partridge said that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews and conclusions by regulators in the United States and around the world "support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer". They said Monsanto, an agribusiness giant known for its chemical products like Roundup and genetically modified organism (GMO) food products, such as seeds and crops, did not provide adequate warnings of Roundup's risks.

The dispute centred on glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide.

"Science is not besotted by court cases and the actual scientific evidence we have shows that that link is not apparent at the concentrations humans use, under the conditions human use it", Dr Musgrave said.

"'We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family", Partridge said.

According to the MailOnline, the jury sided with the terminally-ill man father who has just weeks left to live.

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He said Monsanto will "continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective, and safe tool for farmers and others".

Dr Jayasumana, the head of the Department of Pharmacology at the Rajarata University, said that with this ruling they ensure that the people affected by the agrochemical in Sri Lanka get some form of justice through legal action.

Johnson 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 lawyers. In the U.S., more than 750 products contain it.

Dortch was not directly involved in the case decided Friday, but his law firm represents more than a 100 client making related claims.

"The Johnson vs Monsanto verdict is a win for all of humanity and all life on earth", said Zen Honeycutt, founding executive director of non-profit group Moms Across America. It launched Roundup, its leading product, in 1976.

The specific products named were "Round Up Pro" and "Ranger Pro". It was expedited because court filings indicated that Johnson was dying.

Another Roundup cancer trial is scheduled to begin this autumn in St Louis, Missouri.

Correspondents say the California ruling is likely to lead to hundreds of other claims against Monsanto, which was recently bought by the German conglomerate Bayer AG.