Truthout.org – Aug 11, 2018
A federal appeals court in California ruled on Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to ditch a proposed ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in unborn babies and young children violated federal law.
The ruling generated embarrassing headlines for the Trump administration as it rolled out a number of attention-grabbing proposals that are also expected to face serious legal and legislative hurdles.
Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s disgraced former EPA chief, signed an order shortly after taking office in March 2017 that reversed steps by the Obama administration to ban the decades-old pesticide chlorpyrifos on farms. The insect-killing chemical was banned for household use in 2000, and advocates have petitioned to remove it from the food supply for more than a decade amid mounting evidence that chlorpyrifos can harm developing brains.
In a ruling that scolded the agency for ignoring its congressional mandate to protect the public from dangerous chemicals, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA on Friday to finalize a ban on chlorpyrifos within 60 days. The court said there was “no justification” for Pruitt’s decision to reverse course on banning the pesticide because the EPA had scientific evidence showing that chlorpyrifos residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.
Aug 11, 2018 – The Guardian
Monsanto suffered a major blow with a jury ruling that the company was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer, awarding him $289m in damages.
Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, won a huge victory in the landmark case on Friday, with the jury determining that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer and that the corporation failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure. The jury further found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression”.
Johnson’s lawyers argued over the course of a month-long trial in San Francisco that Monsanto had “fought science” for years and targeted academics who spoke up about possible health risks of the herbicide product. Johnson was the first person to take the agrochemical corporation to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the brand Roundup causes cancer.
In the extraordinary verdict, which Monsanto said it intends to appeal, the jury ruled that the company was responsible for “negligent failure” and knew or should have known that its product was “dangerous”.
“We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that … Roundup could cause cancer,” Johnson’s lawyer Brent Wisner said in a statement. The verdict, he added, sent a “message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup is over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits”.
A California Appellate Court sided with the State of California and Center for Food Safety (CFS) on Thursday, affirming that Monsanto’s glyphosate pesticide can be listed as a known carcinogen under Proposition 65.
Monsanto’s lawsuit challenged the 2015 announcement by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) that it intended to list glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, under California’s landmark Proposition 65.
Proposition 65 requires notification and labeling of all chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and prohibits their discharge into drinking waters of the state. CFS intervened in the case, defending the listing of glyphosate as a carcinogen and the public’s right to know when it is being exposed to cancer-causing chemicals.
“California’s decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides.”