The Trump Administration Wants to Reverse Roundup Verdict, Protecting Bayer and Monsanto
Bayer AG, which recently acquired the Roundup herbicide in a $63 billion buyout of Monsanto, has once again been found guilty in a California court for not informing customers that their product can cause cancer. The Trump Administration, on the other hand, wants that ruling overturned.
In August of 2018, Monsanto lost their first big lawsuit, alleging that the active ingredient of their Roundup herbicide causes cancer. Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper in California, successfully argued that Monsanto had hidden evidence of a link to cancer in past documents and that Roundup was the only possible cause of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The California jury decided that the Monsanto company had acted with “malice” and was ordered to pay $289 million in damages, although the company still has been arguing that glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — “does not cause cancer.”
Ever since that day, thousands of plaintiffs have began suing Monsanto for causing their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. One of those plaintiffs is Edwin Hardeman, who was the first to challenge Monsanto in a federal court.
The judge overseeing Edwin’s suit even restricted him from discussing Monsanto’s past, Hardeman’s “personal history”, and information about regulatory decisions, barring him from talking about anything besides whether Roundup caused his cancer. Despite what his attorneys argued was a huge disadvantage, he was still able to get his point across, won the suit against Monsanto, and was awarded $25 million.
Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue. – Edwin Hardeman
However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Justice Department want to see that ruling overturned by a higher court, according to a Ninth Circuit court brief filed in December. Bayer’s stock soared immediately thereafter.
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This decision isn’t surprising, seeing as Trump ran his whole campaign on the economy, not environmental or health safety. According to a 2017 Associated Press analysis, almost half of Trump’s EPA appointees have previous industry ties, with about one-third previously working as lawyers or lobbyists for chemical or fossil fuels companies like Monsanto.
Twenty-four ethics waivers were signed by Trump pick Don McGahn, which allowed former industry members to oversee the industries they used to work for. During Obama’s administration, almost seventy of those waivers were signed.
In November, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump Administration had unlawfully excluded millions of tons of toxic materials from undergoing safety review, including common products such as fire retardant, house paint, and insulation.
The Trump Administration’s argument as to why the Hardeman case should be ignored is that the Trump EPA does not classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, and therefore Bayer and Monsanto have no need to label it as such.
However, a plethora of research shows the opposite. In a recent 2019 meta-analysis, scientists found that glyphosate exposure could raise the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer by as much as 41%.
Overall, in accordance with findings from experimental animal and mechanistic studies, our current meta-analysis of human epidemiological studies suggests a compelling link between exposures to GBHs and increased risk for NHL. – Luoping Zhang, Study Author
Another recent study from Environmental Sciences Europe found that the EPA generally bases their conclusions on studies done by regulatory agencies, while ignoring independent and peer-reviewed studies, “of which 70% were positive” for a glyphosate-cancer link.
EPA’s evaluation was focused on typical, general population dietary exposures assuming legal, food-crop uses, and did not take into account, nor address generally higher occupational exposures and risks. – Charles M. Benbrook, Study Author
It doesn’t appear that the Trump Administration will allow Bayer’s stock to go down without a fight, but I have a feeling that isn’t going to stop victims of Roundup from seeking justice.
Read more articles from Phillip Schneider.
Phillip Schneider is a student as well as a staff writer and assistant editor for Waking Times. If you would like to see more of his work, you can visit his website, or follow him on the free speech social network Minds.
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