In January 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reauthorized the use of glyphosate in weed killers. Previously, nationwide concerns over Roundup weed killer’s use of glyphosate and its potential connections to severe diseases like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma prompted the EPA to look into the product and others like it.
Dissatisfied with the EPA’s reasoning for the reauthorization, the related litigation brought forth by agricultural workers and safety groups was eventually appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The federal appellate court agreed that the EPA’s assessment was incomplete. In conclusion, it ordered the EPA to once again look into glyphosate and the seemingly unreasonably high risk of harm it causes to humans, animals, and the environment overall.
According to the appellate court, the EPA’s herbicide review process was flawed and not thorough enough to properly assess Roundup’s potential hazards. Therefore, the determination that glyphosate is “unlikely” to be a carcinogen or cancer-causing substance is also flawed. Bayer, the current manufacturer of Roundup, has adamantly opposed the appeal and has never agreed that its weed killer product causes cancer and other chronic health conditions.
Appeal Keeps Lawsuits Afloat
The federal appellate court’s decision has helped keep tens of thousands of Roundup lawsuits against Bayer afloat. Previously, the corporation was hoping to defeat them all at once by pointing to the EPA’s opinion that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. With a mandatory reassessment that uses a revamped analysis process, though, the EPA could completely reverse its prior statements and bolster those Roundup lawsuits.