Ninth Circuit To Hear Arguments Challenging EPA’s Approval of Glyphosate (Roundup Weedkiller)

Legal News

On Monday Jan. 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court will hear arguments from The Center for Food Safety (CFS) and allied farmers organizations, over the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 decision that glyphosate poses no health risks of concern. 

The EPA’s decision was made despite the fact that over 125,000 individuals had filed cancer claims, alleging that long-term exposure to glyphosate, the active chemical compound in Monsanto’s Roundup Weed and Grass Killer products, caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

CFS and its allies also allege that the EPA has failed to “assess occupational exposure to real-world products, including the risks to farmers and farmworkers like those CFS represents in the case,” according to a CFS press release

In response to the EPA’s decision on glyphosate, CFS and its allies filed suit in 2020. The lawsuit provided numerous volumes of evidence that the CFS asserts how the EPA ignored glyphosate’s cancer risks to farmworkers and farmers exposed during spraying. 

The EPA also ignored evidence that glyphosate can be toxic to the environment and endangered species of plants and animals, according to the complaint. In addition to CFS, other petitioners include Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network.

Issued in January 2020, the EPA’s decision on glyphosate included a final ruling on the controversial pesticide’s effects on human and ecological health. The petitioner’s allege that the EPA unlawfully concluded there is no cancer risk from glyphosate, “despite major gaps in its review, including coming to ‘no conclusion’ as to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the most well-known cancer linked to glyphosate.”

In its ruling, the EPA did not include any studies or assessments of how much glyphosate residue would be in a user’s bloodstream after the herbicide/pesticide made skin contact, which is how most agricultural workers and recreational gardeners who have filed Roundup lawsuits have been exposed. 

The EPA not only failed to accurately test glyphosate’s health risks, the lawsuit alleges, the agency also neglected to test adjuvants in glyphosate-based products. Adjuvants are inert chemicals that may potentially “increase the harmful effects of pesticide exposure,” says CFS. 

According to CFS, because of its lawsuit, the EPA admitted in May 2021 that it had made “grave errors” in its interim re-registration of glyphosate and asked the court for permission to re-do its assessments on glyphosate’s ecological- and Endangered Species Act impacts. 

The EPA maintains that glyphosate should remain on the market despite its admission to faulty assessments and the massive Roundup litigation

Monsanto owner, Bayer AG, settled approximately 95,000 Roundup cancer claims in 2020 for nearly $11 billion. The company announced in July 2021 that it would stop selling glyphosate-based herbicides for commercial purposes by 2023 in order to manage litigation risk. The judge overseeing the consolidation of federal Roundup cases has twice rejected Bayer’s plan to put an end to future Roundup trials for an additional $2 billion. 

In 2021, Bayer lost two appeals of high-profile Roundup trials filed by consumers: Hardeman v. Monsanto and Pilliod v. Monsanto.

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