Supreme Court rejects Roundup maker's appeal over cancer claims

Supreme Court rejects Roundup maker’s appeal over cancer claims

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a multimillion-dollar verdict against the maker of the popular herbicide Roundup for failing to warn of cancer risks.

The judges’ decision not to intervene paves the way for thousands of similar lawsuits against the Bayer company. The Biden administration asked the court to deny the company’s request, a departure from the Trump administration’s position.

In a statement on Tuesday, the company said it disagreed with the court’s decision not to appeal and “is confident that the extensive body of science and the consistently favorable opinions of major regulatory bodies around the world provide a solid foundation.” which you can successfully defend Roundup. in court when necessary.”

The case was brought up by Edwin Hardeman, who was diagnosed in 2015 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He sued the company, claiming that his use of Roundup for more than two decades had caused his cancer. He said the company had failed to warn about cancer risks associated with the active ingredient glyphosate.

“This has been a long and arduous journey to bring justice to Hardeman and now thousands of other cancer victims can continue to hold Monsanto accountable for its decades of corporate misconduct,” Hardeman’s attorneys Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said in a statement. referring to the original producer of the herbicide, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018.

The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans. California’s labeling laws are stricter. After an international research group classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015, the state required a warning label for glyphosate-based pesticides. The classification generated a series of lawsuits against the manufacturer of the most used herbicide in the country.

An appeals court upheld the jury’s $25 million verdict and concluded that Hardeman’s exposure to Roundup was a “substantial factor” in causing his cancer and that the company had not warned of the risks.

Court rejects Trump-era EPA ruling that herbicide is safe

The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said federal law does not override a company’s duty to include a cancer warning on its label. The court said that a pesticide can be “mislabeled” even if the EPA has approved its label and that a company can meet federal and state labeling requirements.

Lawyers for the company called for the Supreme Court to reverse and pointed to previous rulings aimed at ensuring “national uniformity in pesticide labeling.” California and potentially 49 other states should not be able to “marginalize” the EPA’s claims that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer, they said.

The company noted that Hardeman stopped using Roundup in 2012, before the California label’s requirement.

In 2020, Bayer agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle tens of thousands of potential US claims. The company said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing and noted in its statement on Tuesday that it had won its last four cases involving Roundup.

In addition, the company said it is moving away from glyphosate-based residential lawn and garden products in the United States to alternative ingredients to “manage the risk of litigation in the U.S. rather than for safety reasons.”

Last week, a separate 9th Circuit ruling ordered the EPA to reconsider its 2020 finding that glyphosate posed “no unreasonable risk to man or the environment.”

In a unanimous opinion, Judge Michelle Friedland wrote that the Trump-era finding “was not supported by substantial evidence” and did not meet the agency’s legal obligations to review the environmental impact. The opinion noted that the national area in which glyphosate is used is roughly equivalent to three times the size of California.

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