Roundup products to kill weeds. Scott Olson / Getty Images
The US Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by German company Bayer AG to dismiss legal claims from customers that one of its products – the glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide – causes cancer. The chemical and pharmaceutical multinational could owe billions of dollars in damages, Reuters reported.
The Supreme Court decision meant that a lower court verdict that upheld $25 million awarded to Edwin Hardeman — a California resident and Roundup consumer who blamed the Bayer herbicide for his cancer after using it in his home for 26 years – was left intact.
In 2015, Hardeman was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and claimed that Bayer had not warned about the cancer risks of glyphosate, the Washington Post reported.
“[N]How thousands of other cancer victims can continue to hold Monsanto accountable for its decades of corporate misconduct,” lawyers representing Hardeman, Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said in a statement, as reported by The Washington Post.
Bayer acquired Monsanto, the original manufacturer of Roundup, in 2018.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified the herbicide glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015.
The herbicide is still approved for use in the US, Europe and elsewhere, BBC News reported. Parts of the European Union have banned the herbicide, according to Deutsche Welle.
A 2019 analysis showed that glyphosate was the most widely used pesticide in the U.S., the Midwest Investigative Reporting Center said.
Bayer is currently in the midst of thousands of lawsuits, with another Bayer appeal on the horizon for the Supreme Court in the coming weeks, Reuters reported. The Court’s rejection of Bayer’s current appeal led to a 2.9 percent drop in the company’s shares.
Last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was ordered by a federal appeals court to re-examine whether glyphosate poses unreasonable risks to people and the environment.
In a ruling favorable to agricultural workers, environmental and food safety advocates, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA had not sufficiently considered whether glyphosate poses a threat to endangered species and causes cancer.
In its annual report released in March, Bayer said about 107,000 of its approximately 138,000 cases have been resolved. The lawsuits against the company argue that customers should have been warned of the alleged cancer risk.
Bayer said claims that glyphosate and Roundup cause cancer are contrary to science and EPA approval, which has supported claims that glyphosate is not carcinogenic and, when used as the label advises, does not pose a risk to health. public health.
Bayer has asked for a review of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hardeman case. The company argued that it should not be punished when the EPA did not allow a cancer warning to be placed on its product and determined it to be safe.
Bayer said it plans to replace glyphosate-based herbicidal ingredients in U.S. non-professional products with alternative active ingredients to “manage the risk of U.S. litigation,” but not due to safety concerns, the Washington Post reported. .