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A lawsuit filed by two environmental groups claims the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to protect U.S. health and the environment by approving the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer.
The petition for review (PDF) was filed on March 20 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. It calls for the court to review and set aside the EPA’s decision to continue to approve the use of glyphosate in the U.S. on January 22.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Pesticide Action Network North America, who filed the lawsuit, say the EPA ignored evidence by scientists and medical experts about the adverse health effects and environmental impact of glyphosate in order to appease corporate interests.
The EPA’s continued approval and claims that glyphosate is safe and does not cause cancer flies in the face of a number of studies, as well as the assessment of international experts.
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that glyphosate is likely a cancer-causing agent. In particular, the IARC report linked the side effects of Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
However, since then the agency has continued to defend glyphosate and Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer products against the cancer claims as well as against claims that the herbicide causes devastating damage to key pollinators like bees and butterflies.
In April 2019, the EPA issued a proposed interim registration review decision saying the agency does not believe glyphosate can cause cancer. It finalized that decision in January.
“In rubberstamping glyphosate once again, EPA ignored warnings from the scientific and environmental community,” Dr. Sylvia Fallon, Senior Director of Wildlife at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an NRDC press release. “Glyphosate is eradicating habitat for pollinators just as bees and butterflies are experiencing sharp population declines due to human activity. This toxic chemical is also linked to human health risks including cancer, which EPA continues to deny.”
Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary face tens of thousands of Roundup lawsuits filed nationwide, each involving allegations that users developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma or other cancers.
Although Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary have continued to defend the safety of glyphosate, the companies have faced massive verdicts in several early trials that have gone forward in the United States, over failure to warn about the risks associated with Roundup exposure, including massive punitive damage awards designed to punish the manufacturer for withholding safety information from consumers and government regulators.
Over the next year, unless the manufacturer is able to reach Roundup settlements for the glyphosate cancer claims, a number of additional cases are expected to go to trial nationwide.