Supreme Court rejects Bayer’s bid to block Roundup lawsuits

Supreme Court rejects Bayer’s bid to block Roundup lawsuits

Supreme Court rejects Bayer’s bid to block Roundup lawsuits

The Supreme Court has dismissed Bayer’s appeal to close thousands of lawsuits alleging that its herbicide Roundup causes cancer.

The judges on Tuesday dropped a $25 million verdict in favor of… Edwin Hardeman, a California man who says he developed cancer from using Roundup for decades to treat poison oak, vegetation and weeds on his San Francisco Bay Area property. Hardeman’s lawsuit had served as a test case for thousands of similar lawsuits.

The Supreme Court’s action comes amid a series of lawsuits over Roundup that point in different directions.

On Friday, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a 2020 Environmental Protection Agency finding that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, poses no serious health risk and “probably not” causes cancer in humans. The appeals court ordered the EPA to reexamine its finding.

At the same time, Bayer has won four consecutive lawsuits in state court against people who claimed to have developed cancer from using Roundup. The latest verdict in favor of the company came in Oregon last week.

Bayer had argued that federal regulators have repeatedly determined that its products are safe and that lawsuits based on claims should be dismissed under state law.

“Probably carcinogenic”

Last year, Bayer set aside $4.5 billion to support claims that glyphosate, the herbicidal ingredient in Roundup, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer. The company had previously taken on a nearly $10 billion charge for previous lawsuits.

Bayer had also warned that allowing these kinds of claims will hurt innovation in agriculture, healthcare and other industries.

Bayer inherited Roundup and the lawsuits when it acquired Monsanto in 2018.

The EPA says 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 laboratory animals.

The Justice Department, which had sided with Bayer in the lower courts during the Trump administration, advised the Supreme Court not to interfere.

Bayer says the product is safe, but said it would replace glyphosate in Roundup for household use by 2023. Products containing glyphosate will still be available for professional and agricultural use.