Monsanto’s cash cow herbicide Roundup is now making waves both in the United States and across the pond. Documents brought to light in American court cases have European officials investigating the truth of Monsanto’s safety claims, further entangling the company in its misdeeds ahead of government decisions on the safety of glyphosate, the weed killer’s main ingredient.
Glyphosate has been linked to the development non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Court cases alleging the connection unsealed documents showing collusion between Monsanto and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials to kill a review of the ingredient and evidence the company ghost-wrote research on the weed killer’s safety that was later attributed to academics.
The more than 45 lawsuits consolidated as part of multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California come as the state won its own suit against Monsanto to list glyphosate as a human carcinogen and force it to place a warning label on the product.
The unsealed court documents caught the attention of European Parliament. Its environmental and agriculture committees organized a public hearing Oct. 11 titled, “The Monsanto papers and glyphosate.” Monsanto refused to attend the hearing after being summoned because it “could be viewed as the latest attempt by those opposed to modern agricultural practices to influence and frustrate the EU scientific and regulatory process to suit their own agenda,” according to The Guardian.
In an unprecedented move, members of European Parliament (MEPs) subsequently voted to ban Monsanto’s lobbyists from entering. It’s the first time MEPs have used new rules to bar parliamentary access to those that ignore a summons.
Both the EPA and the European Commission (EC) are expected to provide input on glyphosate by the end of the year, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC). Due to public outcry, the EC did not extend its approval of the use of glyphosate for 15 years as is typical but instead extended it for two years until December 2017, when it must again vote to extend approval.
The EPA is expected to make its determination of glyphosate as a carcinogen by the end of the year as well. The NRDC states on its website that European restrictions on Monsanto “would have a potentially profound effect upon glyphosate-related policies here in the U.S., where EPA appears to still be taking its cues from Monsanto.”
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Beasley Allen lawyer John Tomlinson practices in our Toxic Torts Section and is actively investigating cases where landscapers, farmers, groundskeepers or commercial gardeners used commercial grade Roundup and developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or firstname.lastname@example.org.