A French court on Monday said a French farmer suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

Well, inhaling pesticides and herbicides is bad.  They are poison, even if a French court had not said so. It's what they are designed to do. That will be a real negative for Monsanto, the maker of the weedkiller, right? Maybe, maybe not.  While it opens the door to short-term judgments it will be hard for anti-science hippies to continue to advocate pesticides and herbicides, the synthetic or the 'organic' kind, while irrationally blocking science that can make foods grow their own repellent that is completely harmless to humans and better for the environment.

It isn't just the French courts blocking science in Europe, however.  The bulk of the population claims to accept science (evolution, global warming) while denying it on virtually everything else.  Unless you also agree that E. coli and homeopathy is somehow a good thing.

While we can hope the big issue - that pesticides and herbicides are sooooo 20th century and we should let science do something smarter - gets advanced, the legal result is baffling.  America is not immune to those kinds of crazy rulings either. Former Sen. John Edwards made his substantial fortune fomenting anti-science quackery about C-sections and McDonald's lost a lawsuit over hot coffee.  The French ruling is kind of like that.  They determined Monsanto did not adequately label the TOXIC herbicide Paul Francois inhaled repeatedly. I'm not a French farmer so I don't need a label to tell me not to breathe in stuff designed to kill things. I'd like to keep my kidneys.

What did he think breathing poison was going do do? Naphthalene may be 'organic' and a moth ball won't kill you but you shouldn't consume those in quantity either. His claim was so suspect he only got disability status after a court appeal. That's right, the French - famous for not working - didn't believe the guy had been harmed.  But a different judge did.  It helped that Monsanto is not a French company and they are appealing, of course. Herbicides are clearly not meant to be inhaled but under ordinary use are not that dangerous. Yet a whole lot of people believe that Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" had science in it, despite goofy anecdotal claims like that she knew people who got cancer after using DDT, so we can't expect a judge to know any better.

“I think if we had a major health problem with pesticides, we would have already known about it,” said Jean-Charles Bocquet, managing director of UIPP, the French association of crop protection companies.