The EPA has found evidence that weed killer is non carcinogenic. These findings support the growing consensus that safe use of pesticides are not hazardous for humans.
By The Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal
A California jury awarded a stunning $2.055 billion Monday to a couple who claim that Bayer AG’s Roundup weed killer caused their cancer. But would the judgment have been different if the judge had allowed the jury to see contradictory evidence?
That’s the question Bayer will raise in its appeal thanks to Judge Winifred Smith, who presided over the trial. The Alameda County Superior Court judge denied a request by Bayer’s lawyers to inform the jury that the Environmental Protection Agency concluded last month that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is noncarcinogenic and poses no risk to public health when used as directed.
The plaintiff lawyers behind these cases rely heavily on the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which claimed glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic.” But the EPA’s new glyphosate assessment is far more robust than that 2015 analysis. Among other considerations, the EPA’s experts looked at 167 epidemiological, animal carcinogenicity, and genotoxicity studies. The agency excluded 39 of those studies over concerns about quality.
The international agency also failed to nix research focused on non-mammalian species like worms or reptiles, which the EPA considered irrelevant in determining human risk. And in 2017 Reuters reported the IARC ignored and omitted evidence that glyphosate was noncarcinogenic.
The EPA also looked for possible hazards to those who ate crops exposed to glyphosate. The agency made conservative assumptions about the levels of glyphosate residue on the crops and drinking water and concluded there is no risk to human health.
That sure sounds relevant, and perhaps the jury would have agreed. Big business isn’t popular these days, but companies don’t deserve to be looted based on a biased presentation of scientific evidence.
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