Not content with a $55 million reduction in the amount it was ordered to pay California resident Edwin Hardeman for causing him to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Bayer has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to reverse the remaining $25 million in the verdict. According to Reuters, the corporation maintains that the Hardeman verdict “defied regulatory findings and sound science” and asserts that the case shouldn’t have been heard in the first place.
The assertion that the science backing the safety of glyphosate; the main ingredient in Bayer’s flagship weed killer Roundup, is sound is a common refrain for Bayer, as it was for Monsanto before it. Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018 in a deal worth some $63 billion. What both corporations always seem to fail to mention in their repeated claims, however, is that much of that “science” was either produced or paid for by Monsanto.
The public got a first-hand view into Monsanto’s efforts to shape public and regulatory discussions about glyphosate in the Roundup cancer case brought by Dewayne “Lee” Johnson. Johnson’s case was the first to attack the source of the information on which Monsanto was relying to assert its safety. Internal documents made public during the trial showed a relentless effort by the secretive agricultural corporation to influence the narrative regarding glyphosate’s supposed safety, with some ghostwritten studies having been produced from within Monsanto’s walls themselves.
Bayer’s argument in its attempt to negate the Hardeman verdict is not based on any claim over glyphosate’s safety. Rather, it argues that since the Environmental Protection Agency does not recognize glyphosate as a carcinogen, placing a warning label on Roundup indicating a possible risk of harm would put the company in conflict with a federal agency.
Such an assertion would be far more valuable if Washington D.C.’s revolving door; which includes the EPA, wasn’t one of our government’s worst kept secrets. And while the lobbyists setting the agency’s policies might not recognize glyphosate as a carcinogen, it is quite telling that the substance is banned or restricted in 20 other countries around the globe. In the meantime, over 40,000 Americans wait to have their claims of glyphosate-induced non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma heard in an attempt to hold the company that caused it responsible.