Nicole Karlis, Salon, August 9, 2018
An accident on the job for DeWayne “Lee” Johnson of Vallejo, California, has cost him his health, he says — and possibly his life.
As a Benicia Valley School District groundskeeper, where he worked from 2012 to 2016, Johnson was drenched in the herbicide Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto, when spraying gear failed to work properly — twice. Today, doctors tell him he may only have a few months to live.
“I figured if it could kill weeds, it could kill me,” Johnson said. “I took it seriously. That’s why I wore anything I could to protect myself.”
In 2014, the 46-year-old father of three was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer that affects white blood cells, and occurs when the body produces too many abnormal lymphocytes. It has been widely speculated that the herbicide has a potentially carcinogenic effect, thanks to an active ingredient in it called glyphosate. However, conclusions drawn about its dangers have not been unanimous. The World Health Organization deemed glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015, while in 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency disagreed.
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