WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Friday overturned a Trump administration ruling that found the active ingredient in weedkiller Roundup does not pose a serious health risk and is “not likely” to cause cancer in humans. ‘man.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, based in California, has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its 2020 finding that glyphosate poses no health risk to people in it. were exposed by any means – on farms, yards or roadsides or as residues left on food crops. .
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world. Pharmaceutical giant Bayer, which acquired original herbicide producer Monsanto in 2018, is facing thousands of claims from people who say exposure to Roundup caused their cancer.
Roundup will remain available for sale. According to an agency spokesperson, EPA officials are reviewing the 54-page decision “and will decide on next steps.” The Supreme Court is also considering hearing an appeal from Bayer that could end thousands of cancer lawsuits.
Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, Judge Michelle Friedland said the EPA’s conclusion of no risk to human health “was not supported by substantial evidence.” She also ruled that the EPA failed to meet its obligations under the Endangered Species Act by inadequately reviewing the impact of glyphosate on animal species and vegetation.
Legal critics said the EPA “shirked its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. We agree and refer to the agency for further consideration,” Friedland, a candidate for former President Barack Obama, wrote.
The Center for Food Safety, one of the groups that challenged the ruling, called Friday’s ruling a “historic victory for farmworkers and the environment.”
The decision “gives a voice to those who suffer from glyphosate cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said Amy van Saun, the center’s senior counsel.
“The EPA’s ‘no cancer’ risk conclusion did not hold up to scrutiny,” she said. “The court agreed that the EPA must ensure the safety of endangered species before giving the green light to glyphosate.”
While the EPA said it found no evidence of a cancer risk from glyphosate, California and other states listed it as a cancer risk and local governments across the country restricted its use. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the chemical as “probably carcinogenic”.
Bayer announced last year that it was withdrawing glyphosate from the U.S. residential lawn and garden market, beginning in 2023.
Bayer said in a statement late Friday that the EPA’s 2020 conclusion “was based on a rigorous evaluation of the vast body of science spanning more than 40 years.” The company believes that the EPA “will continue to conclude, as it and other regulators have consistently concluded for more than four decades, that glyphosate herbicides can be used safely and are not carcinogenic,” says the press release.
Last year, Bayer set aside $4.5 billion to deal with claims that glyphosate causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. The company had previously taken on nearly $10 billion for previous rounds of litigation.
“The EPA’s failure to act on science, as detailed in the litigation, has adverse health consequences for agricultural workers, the public, and ecosystems in the real world,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, a plaintiff in the case. “Because of this lawsuit, the agency’s obstruction of the regulatory process will not be permitted.”
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