In a friend of the court brief with a San Francisco appeals court, the Environmental Protection Agency said it reviewed and approved the warning label on Bayer’s weed-killing product, Roundup, and that a jury finding based on California law should be reversed.
CBS News reported that the Department of Justice joined the EPA in weighing in on the only federal jury ruling so far in a long-running saga over Roundup.
Shares of Monsanto’s parent company Whippany-based Bayer rose on Monday after news of the decision.
Last summer, a U.S. district judge slashed to $25 million the amount to be awarded in the case of a man who claimed his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma had been caused by years of using Roundup. But the judge declined to reverse the jury finding that Roundup was defective because its label did not include a cancer warning. Monsanto maintains Roundup is safe, according to CBS News.
In May the EPA said that it “continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.” But environmental and other advocates dispute that determination, which came four years after the World Health Organization termed glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Bayer acquired Monsanto for about $63 billion in 2018, along with tens of thousands of lawsuits over Roundup. The company has lost three trials in which people alleged that Roundup caused them to get cancer. Bayer has appealed the verdicts, but this month said it agreed to delay two Roundup-related trials pending in the U.S. to allow for a possible settlement.
Bayer applauded the agencies’ move, stating in an email that the company is “encouraged” that the U.S. government and other parties opted to offer legal views in support of the company’s appeal. “The number and stature of these parties speaks clearly to the importance of the issues in dispute in this case to a diversity of interests including governments, health care providers, farmers, and manufacturers,” a Bayer spokesperson said.
Wall Street has shown support for the company, with its stock at recently rising to 14-month highs of $73.93, a gain of 3.5 percent, according to CBS News.