WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court on Friday rejected the Trump administration’s conclusion that the active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup poses no serious health hazard and is “not likely” to cause cancer. in humans.
The California-based 9th U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency retest 2020, found that glyphosate poses no health hazard to those who come into contact with it by any means – on farms, in yards, by roadsides or as food crop residues.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world. Pharmaceutical giant Bayer, which acquired the original herbicide maker Monsanto in 2018, is facing thousands of complaints from people who say exposure to Roundup caused their cancer.
Roundup will still be available for sale. According to an agency spokesman, EPA officials are reviewing the 54-page ruling “and will determine next steps.” The Supreme Court is also considering whether to hear an appeal from Bayer that could drop thousands of lawsuits over cancer claims.
Writing to a panel of three unanimous judges, Judge Michelle Friedland said the EPA’s no-risk to human health outcome “is not supported by substantial evidence.” She also ruled that the EPA failed to fulfill its obligations under the Endangered Species Act by inadequately examining the impact of glyphosate on animal species and vegetation.
Legal critics said the EPA “squandered its mandate under the Endangered Species Act. We agreed and sent it back to the agency for further review,” wrote Friedland, a nominee for former President Barack Obama.
The Center for Food Safety, one of the groups opposing the decision, called Friday’s ruling “a historic victory for farmers and the environment.”
Amy van Saun, the center’s senior attorney, said the decision “gives a voice to people with glyphosate cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”
“The EPA’s ‘no cancer’ risk conclusion is inconsistent with scrutiny,” she said. “The court agreed that EPA should ensure the safety of endangered species before greening glyphosate.”
While the EPA said it found no evidence of a cancer risk fglyphosate rom, California and other states have listed it as potentially carcinogenic, and local governments across the country have restricted its use. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the chemical as “possibly carcinogenic”.
Last year, Bayer announced that it would remove glyphosate from the US residential lawn and garden market, effective as early as 2023.
Bayer said in a statement Friday night that the EPA’s 2020 conclusion “is based on a rigorous review of the broad body of science spanning more than 40 years.” The company believes the EPA “will continue to conclude, as it and other regulatory agencies have consistently concluded for more than four decades, that glyphosate-based herbicides can be used safely and without cause cancer,” the statement said.
Last year, Bayer spent $4.5 billion to address claims that glyphosate causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. The company was previously liable for nearly $10 billion in previous rounds of litigation.
Jay Feldman, chief executive officer of Beyond Pesticides, a plaintiff in the case, said: “The EPA’s failure to act based on science, as detailed in the litigation, has adverse consequences for the real-world health for farmers, communities and ecosystems”. “Because of this lawsuit, the regulatory body’s obstruction of the regulatory process will not be allowed to stand.”
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