Court rejects Trump-era EPA’s conclusion that weedkiller is safe

WASHINGTON– A federal appeals court on Friday overturned a Trump administration ruling that the active ingredient in weed killer Roundup does not pose a serious health risk and is “not likely” to cause cancer in humans. .

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its 2020 finding that glyphosate poses no health risk to people exposed to it by any means whether – 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 rejected the EPA’s conclusion that there was no risk to human health. 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 ruling “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 conclusion on the risk of ‘no cancer’ did not stand 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 cancer risk from glyphosate, the Biden administration said it plans to revisit the matter. In 2015, the 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.

A Bayer spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment. But the company argues in court that federal regulators have repeatedly determined that its products are safe and that lawsuits based on the claims under state law should be dismissed.

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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Post expires at 1:28am on Tuesday June 28th, 2022