Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Top U.S. court rejects Roundup maker's appeal of decision that the weed killer causes cancer

The U.S. Supreme Court has let a $25 million verdict against Bayer, parent company of Monsanto, manufacturer of the popular weed killer Roundup, stand. 

The original jury found that Monsanto, the giant agribusiness that manufactures the pesticide, had failed to warn about cancer risks to those using the product.

The top court's decision not to intervene means not only that the decision in the suit brought by Edwin Hardeman, who was diagnosed in 2015 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, can remain intact but the way is cleared for thousands of similar lawsuits against Bayer. 

A story by Ann E. Marimow in an edition of The Washington Post this week notes that the "Biden administration had urged the court to deny the company's [stance], a departure from the Trump administration's position."

Hardeman's suit alleged that his use of Roundup for more than two decades caused his cancer and that Monsanto, which Bayer purchased in 2018, failed to warn about the risks associated with the active ingredient, glyphosate.

After an international research group in 2015 classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans," the state of California demanded a warning label on Roundup, the nation's most widely used weed killer — in opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's repeatedly concluding that "glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans."

Two years ago, according to the story, "Bayer agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle tens of thousands of potential U.S. claims" but it admitted no wrongdoing. It also said it was moving toward alternate ingredients to "manage litigation risk in the U.S. and not because of safety concerns."

Judge Michelle Friedland
Just days before the Supreme Court ruling about the Hardeman suit, "a separate ruling from the 9th Circuit ordered the EPA to reconsider its finding in 2020 that glyphosate did not pose 'any unreasonable risk to man or the environment,'" Marimow's article reports. As a part of the unanimous decision, Judge Michelle Friedland writes that the Trump-era opinion "was not supported by substantial evidence" and didn't meet the agency's "legal obligations for reviewing environmental impact."

More information on court battles over carcinogenics can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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