Several farmworker and environmental groups are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to suspend and cancel all glyphosate registrations, alleging it does not meet federal standards. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the controversial Roundup weed killer product.

The groups argue that glyphosate registrations are illegal because the herbicide fails to adhere to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act requirements that state a pesticide can only be registered once the EPA determines it will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. 

Many studies link the herbicide to human and environmental harm. Roundup, formerly made by Monsanto and recently acquired by Bayer, has been under fire for years.

“This petition is a blueprint for the Biden administration to do what the law and science require and finally cancel glyphosate’s registration,” said Pegga Mosavi, attorney at the Center for Food Safety and counsel for the petitioners. 

“There is a wealth of scientific evidence demonstrating that glyphosate endangers public health and poses cancer risks to farmers and other Roundup users. Glyphosate formulations are also an environmental hazard and have driven an epidemic of resistant weeds that plague farmers,” Mosavi said in a statement. “After last year’s court decision, EPA has no legal legs to stand on. EPA must take action now.”

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the 2020 interim registration of glyphosate, criticizing the EPA for not adequately considering the chemical’s cancer-causing potential.

The court then mandated assessments be redone to include ecological toxicity and endangered species analysis. 

The Center for Food Safety jointly filed the 63-page petition in December along with Lideres Campesinas, Beyond Pesticides, Farmworker Association of Florida, Rural Coalition and Alianza Nacional de Campesinas. 

Besides asking the EPA to cancel the registration, the groups asked the EPA to conduct a “special review” to assess the effect of glyphosate on human health and environmental impact.

“Glyphosate’s adverse impacts on the liver, kidney and reproductive system have been recognized for decades, and a growing body of evidence links glyphosate exposure to metabolic syndrome,” the petition states. “The environment faces similarly devastating impacts from the potent herbicide, with 93% of threatened and endangered species likely being adversely affected, and Monarch butterfly populations facing decimation.”

Claims Against Roundup Weedkiller

Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide globally. In the U.S. approximately 300 million pounds of glyphosate is applied annually, according to the petition.

It is the active ingredient in Roundup and several other commercial weed killers. Farmers use the chemical to kill weeds that spring up along with crops of food. Glyphosate can cause skin, throat and lung irritation if a person breathes it or comes in contact with it. Studies also link glyphosate to cancer

Thousands of individuals have filed Roundup lawsuits against Bayer and Monsanto, claiming the weed killer caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. Many who filed Roundup lawsuits against the company say it failed to adequately warn the public about the risks associated with using the product.

Earlier this month, Bayer was ordered by a Philadelphia jury to pay $3.5 million to a plaintiff who developed cancer after using Roundup. Bayer previously offered to settle thousands of existing Roundup claims for $10.9 billion, but a judge wouldn’t allow all future claims to be settled for $2 billion.

As of Dec. 15, there were more than 4,170 Roundup lawsuits still pending in federal multidistrict litigation in California. 

Lawyers are still accepting individuals’ claims.  

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Side Effect of Using Roundup’s Glyphosate Weedkiller

Bayer says its product is safe and denies the link to cancer but planned to stop selling the residential formulas this year. It will still sell commercial formulas. 

Most dangerous Roundup exposure happens through ingestion, but inhalation poisoning is also possible. 

Some short-term symptoms include skin and throat irritation, while long-term exposure could include an increased risk of developing certain cancers or neurological disorders.

The EPA currently classifies the chemical as non-carcinogenic, which is in direct opposition to a 2015 opinion by the World Health Organization that concluded glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans.