WASHINGTON – The Federal Court of Appeals on Friday rejected the Trump administration, finding that the active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup does not pose a serious health risk and is “unlikely” to cause cancer in humans.
The California-based 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to revised its 2020 finding that glyphosate does not pose a health risk for people exposed to it in any way – in farms, yards or along roadsides or as residues left on food crops.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world. Pharmaceutical giant Bayer, which acquired the original herbicide manufacturer Monsanto in 2018, is facing thousands of lawsuits from people who say the Roundup exposure has caused their cancer.
The review will remain available for sale. According to a spokesman for the agency, EPA officials are reviewing the 54-page decision “and will decide the next steps. ″ The Supreme Court is also considering hearing a complaint from Bayer that could suspend thousands of cancer cases.
Writing for a unanimous panel of three judges, Judge Michelle Friedland told the EPA that the finding of no risk to human health “is not supported by substantial evidence”. It also ruled that the EPA had failed to fulfill its obligations under the Endangered Species Act by failing to adequately study the effects of glyphosate on animal species and vegetation.
Legal critics say the EPA has escaped its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. We agree and return to the agency for further consideration, “wrote Friedland, a nomination of former President Barack Obama.
The Center for Food Safety, one of the groups that challenged the decision, called Friday’s decision a “historic victory for farmers and the environment”.
The decision “gives a voice to those suffering from glyphosate cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said Amy van Saun, a senior lawyer at the center.
“The EPA’s conclusion on cancer-free risk does not stand up to scrutiny,” she said. “The court agreed that the EPA must ensure the safety of endangered species before giving the green light to glyphosate.”
Although the EPA said it found no evidence of cancer risk isrum glyphosate, California and other states have identified it as a cancer risk, and local authorities across the country have restricted its use. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classified the chemical as “possibly carcinogenic”.
Bayer announced last year that it was removing glyphosate from the U.S. market for residential lawns and gardens, effective as early as 2023.
Bayer said in a statement Friday night that the EPA’s 2020 conclusion “is based on a rigorous assessment of the vast science spanning more than 40 years.” The company believes that the EPA will “continue to conclude as it and other regulators have consistently concluded for more than four decades that glyphosate-based herbicides can be used safely and are not carcinogenic,” the statement said.
Last year, Bayer spent $ 4.5 billion to tackle claims that glyphosate causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. The company has previously charged nearly $ 10 billion in earlier lawsuits.
“EPA’s failure to act on science, as described in detail in the lawsuits, has real adverse consequences for the health of farmers, the public and ecosystems,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, a plaintiff in the case. “Due to this lawsuit, the agency’s obstruction of the regulatory process will not be left out.
More stories to read from TIME