Federal Court Tells EPA
It Ignored Cancer Risks and Go Back and Reanalyze Whether RoundUp /Glyphosate Causes Cancer or Harms the Environment
Federal law requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine whether pesticides (which includes herbicides) like RoundUp pose “any unreasonable risk to man or the environment.” In June 2022, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court told EPA, after it was sued by multiple environmental/food safety groups, to go back and study the effects of RoundUp (Glyphosate, the active ingredient, in RoundUp) again. The EPA is in the process of studying the effects again. EPA is required to periodically review registered pesticides for the potential effects on human health and the ecological effects on fish and wildlife.
On human health, the EPA found that Glyphosate was not likely to cause cancer in humans. On human health the EPA found that Glyphosate was not likely to cause cancer in humans. The court found that EPAs conclusion of no cancer risks did not stand up to scrutiny. It held that the EPA did not follow its own Cancer Risk Assessment Guidelines. It found the EPA’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence. Specifically, that the agency’s lack of evidence on the link between Glyphosate and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) could not be the basis for a determination that the herbicide was not carcinogenic.
On ecological effects, the EPA found that Glyphosate may pose certain risks to mammals and birds and may adversely affect terrestrial and aquatic plants, primarily from spray drift. EPA, however, conducted a cost benefit analysis and decided the benefits outweighed the risks after adding some additional labeling precautions. It made that decision before it did an analysis under the Endangered Species Act. The court held that EPA therefore had to comply with the ESA by making an effects determination before issuing the decision.
While RoundUp remains on the market. Notably, its manufacturer has said it will no longer sell it after 2023. However, there are over 750 products containing glyphosate for sale in the United States.
EPA’s website currently states the following:
EPA’s underlying scientific findings regarding glyphosate, including its finding that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans, remain the same. In accordance with the court’s decision, the Agency intends to revisit and better explain its evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate and to consider whether to do so for other aspects of its human health analysis. For the ecological portion, EPA intends to address the issues for which it sought remand, including: to consider whether additional or different risk mitigation may be necessary based on the outcome of ESA consultation for glyphosate, prepare an analysis of in-field effects of glyphosate on monarch butterfly habitat…
Federal Court cont.
The EPA’s has previously determined that Glyphosate does not cause cancer even though the World Health Organization declared that it is probably carcinogenic to humans in 2015. Additionally, the court record shows that the EPA’s Office of Research and Development concluded that it was either a likely carcinogen or there is at least evidence that it causes cancer which increases the risk of the NHL.
1. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”) requires the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to regulate pesticides, which are defined to include herbicides. A pesticide product may not be distributed or sold in the United States until EPA has issued a registration pursuant to FIFRA. A registration functions as a license setting forth the conditions under which the pesticide may be sold, distributed, and used. The EPA may not issue a registration for a pesticide that causes “unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.”
4. RoundUp is marketed by Monsanto which is now owned by Bayer. Bayer is taking RoundUp off the market in 2023. The company has been sued by many litigants who proved their exposure to Roundup caused their cancer. See Endnote iii.
6. The ESA protects endangered and threatened species, in part, by requiring federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service. The consultation procedures begin with an agency reviewing its actions at the earliest possible time to determine whether any action may affect listed species or critical habitat, resulting in an effects determination.