Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Biotech giant Bayer pushing House Republicans to help it fight lawsuits linking Roundup to cancer

Bayer, a giant in the biotech industry, has been lobbying Congress to help shape a provision that could aid in the corporation's battle with lawsuits that tie its weed-killer Roundup to cancer.

The provision in the House's sweeping agricultural bill, according to a story by Tony Romm in last week's editions of The Washington Post, was drafted by Republicans with Bayer's help. Critics say it would undo nationwide pesticide protections.

Romm's piece says the farm bill "threatens to make it harder for farmers and groundskeepers to argue that they were not fully informed about some health and safety risks posed by the popular herbicide."

The focus is on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, which plaintiffs in thousands of cases have claimed regular exposure to which "could cause them to develop debilitating or deadly diseases, such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."

Although Bayer, a German firm that acquired Roundup in 2018 as part of its purchase of Monsanto, has agreed to pay $10 billon in a landmark settlement that ended thousands of claims in  2020 without any admission of wrongdoing, it still faces nearly 60,000 additional claims.

Daniel Savery
The Post story quotes Daniel Savery, a senior legislative representative for Earthjustice, a climate advocacy group, as saying Bayer has been losing so it's "coming to Congress with hat in hand trying to change the law."

Currently, the article continues, "the Environmental Protection Agency does not treat the underlying chemical in Roundup as a carcinogen. While the agency plans to reevaluate its stance on glyphosate in 2026, its views are at odds with some global health experts, including the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, which identified glyphosate as 'probably carcinogenic' in 2015."

Bayer apparently has spent about $9.6 million to lobby federal policymakers on the legislation and other issues since the start of 2023.

More information about Monsanto and Bayer's legal woes 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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