French parents of malformed child take on Monsanto

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Glyphosate, the compound used in the herbicide Roundup manufactured by US agrochemical corporation Monsanto, which earlier this month was acquired by German pharmaceuticals and chemicals giant Bayer, is suspected by several scientific studies of being carcinogenic, and notably of causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But now a French couple have launched a lawsuit against the firm over serious malformations of their son’s digestive and respiratory systems which they argue was caused by his mother’s exposure to glyphosate in the early weeks of pregnancy. Crucially, they say that Monsanto knew of the compound’s potential dangers, but failed to warn of them in product labelling. Dorothée Moisan reports.

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When Théo Grataloup was born on May 2nd 2007 he was immediately sent for surgery on his malformed digestive and respiratory systems. His oesophagus, the food pipe that runs from the pharynx, at the back of the nose and mouth, was not connected, as it should have been, with the stomach. Instead, the pipe from his stomach was connected to his lungs. The surgeon who performed the operation, Rémi Dubois, said he had “never before seen such a case”.