The United States Supreme Court on June 21 declined to review Bayer’s appeal that could have ended thousands of pending lawsuits that claim its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer.
The court left in place a $25 million judgment in favor of Edwin Hardeman, a California man who says he developed cancer from using Roundup. His case served as a test case for similar lawsuits, and the outcome is a concern because it serves to undermine federal authorities’ conclusions on the safety of a pesticide. This may lead to similar outcomes for other important pesticides which are being targeted as there is disagreement by stakeholders with the EPA health/environmental assessment.
In response, Bayer issues a statement saying it disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up its case. “The company believes the decision undermines the ability of companies to rely on official actions taken by expert regulatory agencies, as it permits every U.S. state to require a different product label which conflicts with the clear intent of the ‘uniformity clause’ adopted by the U.S. Congress in FIFRA and similar statutes.”
Bayer will replace glyphosate in Roundup for residential use beginning in 2023; products with glyphosate will remain available for professional and farm use.
“Bayer continues to stand fully behind its Roundup products which are a valuable tool in efficient agricultural production around the world,” the company said in its statement. “Significantly, the weight of scientific evidence and the conclusions of all expert regulators worldwide continue to support the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic. Most recently, as part of the European Union’s glyphosate renewal process the European Chemicals Agency’s Committee for Risk Assessment found that ‘Based on a wide-ranging review of scientific evidence, the committee again concludes that classifying glyphosate as a carcinogen is not justified.”
Looking ahead, the Supreme Court has a second Bayer petition pending on a related issue that could be acted upon during this session.