Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

bottles of Roundup

The active ingredient in RoundUp is glyphosate, which the World Health Organization classifies as a probable human carcinogen. (Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr/cc)

Trump's EPA Goes to Bat for Bayer as Company Fights $25 Million Verdict in Roundup Cancer Case

The chemical company is asking a federal appeals court to reverse its ruling in favor of a California man suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Andrea Germanos

President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency—already accused of being "pesticide cheerleader"—threw its weight behind chemical company Bayer AG on Friday when the agency asked a federal appeals court to reverse a lower court's ruling in favor of a man who said the company's Roundup weedkiller was responsible for his cancer.

The case centers on Edwin Hardeman of California, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2015 after using the glyphosate-based pesticide, made by Monsanto, for years on his property. Bayer acquired Monsanto last year.

A federal jury in July ordered the company to pay Hardeman roughly $25 million in damages, a lower amount than the $80 million a federal judge had ordered months earlier.

The EPA maintains—to the outrage of environmental and public health groups—that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. The federal decision notwithstanding, California in 2017 agreed with the World Health Organization's 2015 classification of glyphosate as a "probable carcinogen." Trump's EPA has pushed back on the state's finding and said that product labels informing users of that cancer risk would "misbranding" and announced in August of this year that the agency would not approve of labels carrying that warning.

In an amicus brief filed Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, attorneys with the EPA and Justice Department said,

EPA approved the label for the pesticide/herbicide at issue here, Roundup, through a registration process that did not require a cancer warning. In fact, EPA has never required a labeling warning of a cancer risk posed by Roundup, and such a warning would be inconsistent with the agency's scientific assessments of the carcinogenic potential of the product. Mr. Hardeman nevertheless sought damages under California common law, alleging that Monsanto had failed to adequately warn consumers of cancer risks posed by the active ingredient in Roundup. FIFRA therefore preempts Mr. Hardeman's claims to the extent that they are based on the lack of a warning on Roundup's labeling. 

The filing from the federal government came the same week Bayer AG asked the appeals court to toss out the lower court's ruling and defended Roundup's safety.

Bayer is currently facing nearly 43,000 claims related to glyphosate-linked cancer in federal courts. An end to the company's legal woes is unlikely to happen soon, according to Bloomberg Environment.

"The only vehicle that remotely approaches [an end to litigation] might be bankruptcy," Loyola Law School professor Adam Zimmerman told the outlet last week. "Short of that, or some victories in court, I don't see what kind of arrangement would absolve them of future liability."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Child Advocates Celebrate 'Pause' But Push for Permanent End to Instagram for Kids

"Today is a watershed moment for the growing tech accountability movement and a great day for anyone who believes that children's well-being should come before Big Tech's profits."

Jessica Corbett ·


Israeli PM Naftali Bennett Mentions Palestinians Exactly Zero Times During UN Address

Pretending they don't exist, said one advocacy group, "is how he justifies stealing their land, detaining their children, and bombing their homes."

Andrea Germanos ·


UK Labour Conference Condemns AUKUS as Threat to World Peace

"AUKUS is the next step in a new cold war with China," said one opponent of the trilateral agreement. "It makes the Indo-Pacific, and the world, a more dangerous, not a more stable, place."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Deal's a Deal': Progressive Leader Holds Strong on $3.5 Trillion Social Investment Plan

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal says around 60 Democrats are willing to vote down a weaker bipartisan bill if the more sweeping reconciliation bill does not come first.

Jon Queally ·


Critics Fume as ICC Excludes US From Probe Into Afghan War Crimes

"Allowing powerful states to get away with multi-year, multi-continent torture against so many feeds impunity for all."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo