Authorities in Mexico have barred a massive shipment of glyphosate from entering the country, citing serious health and environmental concerns.
Last Monday, Mexico’s environmental regulator confirmed that it had denied an import permit for 1,000 tons of glyphosate intended for agricultural use. In doing so, the department asserted that “glyphosate represents a high environmental risk, given the credible presumption that its use can cause serious environmental damage and irreversible health damage.”
Among other things, the regulator cited studies suggesting glyphosate can harm honeybees and other pollinators.
Glyphosate in the active ingredient in Monsanto Roundup.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen after an independent review suggested occupational exposure increased the risk of cancer, especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Earlier this year, University of Washington researchers suggested glyphosate exposure increased the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by as much as 41%. And in April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said it couldn’t rule out a cancer link and called for further investigation.
However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to maintain that glyphosate is safe.
Bayer AG acquired Monsanto in June 2018. As a result of the acquisition, the company is now defending more than 40,000 Roundup lawsuits filed in U.S. courts that blame glyphosate for cancer.
Plaintiffs claim Monsanto intentionally concealed the association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for years and waged an aggressive campaign to discredit the IARC review. Among other things, they assert that company personnel actually ghostwrote some of the studies that contradicted the IARC’s findings and leveraged close relationships with the EPA and other regulators to unduly influence their glyphosate reviews.
Three Monsanto Roundup lawsuits have gone to trial since Bayer completed its acquisition. So far, every jury has ruled in favor of plaintiffs, awarding verdicts that ranged from $80 million to $2 billion.
Bayer is now participating in a court ordered mediation effort aimed at resolving the massive litigation, which is being led by Kenneth Feinberg, the prominent attorney behind the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund and other high-profile legal settlements.
In an interview with WirtschaftsWoche last Month, Feinberg reported that the talks were progressing “slowly, but steadily, and indicated the parties are currently working to clarify all justified claims alleging glyphosate caused cancer.