By Jessica Domel
Just days before the next Roundup trial was slated to begin in Missouri, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent notice to glyphosate registrants that it will no longer approve product labels claiming the herbicide causes cancer.
“It is irresponsible to require labels on products that are inaccurate when EPA knows the product does not pose a cancer risk. We will not allow California’s flawed program to dictate federal policy,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said.
California’s Proposition 65 has led to misleading label requirements for products like glyphosate misinforming the public about the risks they face when using the product, an EPA press release explained.
The claim that glyphosate causes cancer is false and does not meet Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act requirements.
“It is critical that federal regulatory agencies like EPA relay to consumers accurate, scientific-based information about risks that pesticides may pose to them,” Wheeler said. “EPA’s notification to glyphosate registrants is an important step to ensuring the information shared with the public on a federal pesticide label is correct and not misleading.”
California bases its Proposition 65 requirement for glyphosate on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification as a “probable” carcinogen.
EPA again found earlier this year during the review process for glyphosate that the herbicide is not a carcinogen.
Its conclusion is consistent with the conclusions of regulatory authorities in Australia (2013), Canada (2015), Japan (2016), New Zealand (2016), the European Food Safety Administration (2015), the European Chemicals Agency (2017) and the joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization meeting on pesticide residues (2016).
EPA’s action was announced Aug. 8.
A little more than a week later, the St. Louis Record reported Judge Brian H. May granted a continuance, pushing the first Roundup case being tried outside California from an Aug. 19 start date to Jan. 27, 2020.
The judge did not list a reason for the continuance in court filings.
The plaintiff, Sharlean Gordon of Illinois, is suing Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging Roundup led to her non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL).
The trial is scheduled in the St. Louis County Court in Missouri.
It was set to be the fourth trial alleging Roundup use causes NHL, but the first case heard outside of California.
Juries in the three other cases have found in favor of the plaintiffs, awarding multi-million dollar verdicts that have since been reduced and are being appealed by Bayer.
The $289-million judgement awarded to former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was reduced to $78.5 million in late July.
The $80 million a federal jury awarded Edwin Hardeman was reduced to $25.2 million, while the $2 billion granted to Alva and Alberta Pilliod was reduced to $87 million.
In all three cases, the judges found the punitive awards granted to the plaintiff violated a prior Supreme Court ruling.
According to Reuters, there are now about 13,400 similar Roundup court cases filed in the U.S.