The Supreme Court has rejected Bayer’s appeal to end thousands of lawsuits claiming its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer.
Judges on Tuesday left in place a $25 million judgment in favor of Edwin Hardeman, a Californian who says he developed cancer from using Roundup for decades to treat poison oak, overgrowth and weeds on his property. of San Francisco Bay. Hardeman’s trial had served as a test case for thousands of similar trials.
The High Court action comes amid a series of legal fights over Roundup that have pointed in different directions.
On Friday, a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a 2020 Environmental Protection Agency finding that glyphosate does not pose a serious health risk and is “not capable of causing cancer in humans. The appeals court ordered the EPA to reconsider its decision.
At the same time, Bayer has won four consecutive lawsuits in state court against people who claim they got cancer from their use of Roundup. The latest verdict in favor of the company came last week in Oregon.
Bayer had argued that federal regulators had repeatedly determined that its products were safe and that lawsuits based on the claims under state laws should be dismissed.
Last year, Bayer set aside $4.5 billion to deal with claims that glyphosate, the weed-killing ingredient in Roundup, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. The company had previously taken on nearly $10 billion for previous rounds of litigation.
Bayer had also warned that allowing such claims would hurt innovation in agriculture, health care and other industries.
Bayer inherited Roundup and the litigation when it acquired Monsanto in 2018.
The EPA states on its website that there is “no evidence that glyphosate causes cancer in humans.” But in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The agency said it relied on “limited” evidence of cancer in humans and “sufficient” evidence of cancer in study animals.
The Justice Department, which had sided with Bayer in lower courts under the Trump administration, recommended the High Court not get involved.
Bayer maintains the product is safe, but said it will replace glyphosate in Roundup for residential use starting in 2023. Products containing glyphosate will still be available for professional and agricultural use.