Jury awards $2 billion over pesticide Trump's EPA insists is safe


The EPA says that Roundup, a weedkiller, is perfectly safe. A jury just disagreed to the tune of $2 billion.

A California jury just awarded over $2 billion to a couple in California who said Roundup, a widely-used weedkiller, caused their cancer. And it's a weedkiller that Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says is perfectly safe and poses "no risks to public health."

This is the third time that Bayer, the manufacturer of Roundup, has lost in the trial court against plaintiffs alleging the product gave them cancer. The previous two trials resulted in $159 million in damages against Bayer, but this newest award completely dwarfs those. And there are 13,400 more cancer claims in the pipeline, all of which Bayer inherited when it bought Monsanto, the company that invented Roundup.

Bloomberg reports that the jury in the most recent trial took only two days to rule against Bayer, even though the trial itself lasted several weeks. That's in large part because the jury didn't believe Bayer's assertions that the product was safe. When a lawyer for Bayer approached a juror after the trial to ask for some feedback on why they decided against the company, the juror replied: "I wanted you to get up and drink it."

Meanwhile, the EPA says that the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, isn't a carcinogen as long as users follow the label. That flies in the face of a 2015 World Health Organization finding that glyphosate was likely carcinogenic. The EPA — and Bayer — also ignored a recent study that showed that exposure to very low levels of the chemical still increased the rate of breast cancer cell growth.

At this most recent trial, Bayer leaned hard on the idea that since a regulator like the EPA says Roundup is safe, it must be safe. The jury didn't buy that, and nor should anyone else. Under Trump, the EPA has evinced no desire to keep people safe. Instead, it's letting polluters get away with just about anything.

Thankfully, it looks like juries aren't willing to do the same.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.