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WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to hear an appeal by Bayer, allowing lawsuits claiming glyphosate, the main active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, causes cancer to move forward. Bayer, the maker of Roundup, had appealed the case of Edwin Hardeman who said he developed cancer due to his use of Roundup on his property for decades. The court’s action upholds the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of Hardeman, upholding a $25 million judgment. The declined appeal opens the opportunity for thousands of similar cases to continue.
Studies have linked glyphosate-based herbicides, such as Roundup, to cancer, reproductive problems and other health issues. Last summer, the company announced it would remove glyphosate from its residential line of Roundup by 2023 in the face of $4.5 billion dollars in litigation costs. Previously, Bayer settled for about $10 billion dollars with 95,000 plaintiffs who alleged that the glyphosate in Bayer’s Roundup, the most widely used weed killer in the country, causes cancer.
PIRG and its national network have worked for years to raise the alarm about the dangers of glyphosate to the public and decision-makers. Campaigns to ban Roundup have gained momentum, with more and more cities and states phasing out or restricting use of toxic glyphosate, including Boulder, Colorado; Dubuque, Iowa; Miami and, more recently, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
In response, Emily Rogers, PIRG Zero Out Toxics advocate, issued the following statement:
“It’s absurd that a weed killer that is supposed to make our lives easier actually poses a dangerous threat to our health. RoundUp is lauded as a miracle weed killer that helps feed the world, but the reality is, the more we use it, the faster weeds become resistant to it, and the less effective it becomes. As it works less and less every year, it’s completely absurd that we keep using this chemical that has been linked to cancer. No American should have to worry about getting cancer from the products they use to take care of their lawns and gardens, or from the food they eat.”
“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision today because it helps to ensure that chemical companies like Bayer are held responsible for the dangerous chemicals they produce and the harm to human health that they cause. Companies must be held accountable for their toxic products and the court’s decision is an important win for the health of all Americans, taking us one step closer to zeroing out toxics.”
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