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John Reitman

By John Reitman

Multiple groups sue EPA for giving OK to glyphosate


There is now more than one defendant in the ongoing Roundup cancer story.

Multiple plaintiffs on March 20 filed lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after it concluded a regulatory review and re-approved use of glyphosate. The active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, glyphosate has been blamed for causing cancer in thousands of users, leading to thousands of lawsuits during the past two years against Monsanto and ultimately Bayer.

One suit was filed by the Natural Resource Defense Council and another on behalf of the following groups: the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, the Rural Coalition, Organización en California de Lideres Campesinas and the Farmworker Association of Florida. 

In a statement released Jan. 30 after concluding its regulatory review on glyphosate, the EPA said: "After a thorough review of the best available science, as required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, EPA has concluded that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen. These findings on human health risk are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority, the European Food Safety Authority, and the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health."

Nearly 50,000 cases have been filed against Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, claiming that glyphosate caused their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Those who recently filed suit against the EPA and the thousands who are suing Bayer are basing their cases on information by the World Health Organization, a United Nations organization that in 2015 declared that glyphosate was a "probable carcinogen."

A handful of cases have been decided through 2019, while the litigation process on thousands of other outstanding cases was postponed in January as attorneys on both sides worked toward a settlement.

Bayer told Reuters in January that recent decisions, like that from the EPA, have slowed talks toward a settlement. The company, which is based in Germany, also told Fortune, however, that if talks toward a settlement progressed it would consider selling assets as a result.

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