In a statement on Tuesday, the company said it did not agree with the court’s decision not to accept its appeal and was “confident that the vast amount of science and consistently corroborating opinions of leading regulators around the world provide a strong basis on which it can successfully defend Roundup in court when necessity “.
The case was brought by Edwin Hardman, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015. He sued the company, claiming that his use of Roundup for more than two decades had caused his cancer. He said the company failed to warn of the cancer risks associated with the active ingredient glyphosate.
“This has been a long and arduous journey to achieve justice for Mr. Hardman, and now thousands of other cancer victims can continue to hold Monsanto responsible for decades of corporate wrongdoing,” Hardman attorneys Jennifer Moore and Amy Wagstaff said in a statement. Referring to the original pesticide product, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018.
The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans. Labeling laws in California are stricter. After an international research group classified glyphosate as a “probably human carcinogen” in 2015, the state required a warning label for glyphosate-based herbicides. The classification sparked a series of lawsuits against the manufacturer of the country’s most widely used herbicide.
An appeals court upheld a $25 million jury verdict and found that Hardman’s exposure to Roundup was a “material factor” in his cancer and that the company failed to warn of the risks.
Court rejects Trump-era EPA decision that weed killer is safe
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said federal law does not preempt a company’s duty to include a cancer warning on its label. The court said the herbicide could be “mislabeled” even if the EPA approved its label and that the company could comply with state and federal labeling requirements.
The company’s lawyers urged the Supreme Court to step back and pointed to previous rulings aimed at ensuring “national standardization of pesticide labels”. They said California and possibly 49 other states should not be able to “marshal” the EPA’s statements that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer.
The company noted that Hardman discontinued the use of Roundup in 2012, prior to California naming requirements.
In 2020, Bayer agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle tens of thousands of potential US claims. The company said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing and indicated in its Tuesday statement that it had won its last four Roundup cases.
Additionally, the company said it is moving away from glyphosate-based residential garden and lawn products in the United States to alternative ingredients “to manage the risks of litigation in the United States and not because of safety concerns.”
Last week, a separate ruling from the Ninth Circuit ordered the EPA to reconsider its finding in 2020 that glyphosate poses “no unreasonable risk to humans or the environment.”
In a unanimous opinion, Justice Michelle Friedland wrote that the Trump-era findings “were not supported by substantive evidence” and did not meet the agency’s legal obligations to an environmental impact review. The opinion indicated that the nationwide area in which glyphosate is used is approximately three times the area of California.
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