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Judge rejects EPA finding that popular pesticide is safe

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2022 | Environmental Law

During the administration of President Donald Trump, the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued many rulings that were, to say the least, very controversial. One of the most controversial of such rulings was the declaration that the weed killer Roundup does not pose a serious health risk and was “not likely” to cause cancer. The regulation was challenged in the courts, and a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes California) recently issued a ruling that declared the Trump Administration order regarding Roundup to be invalid.

The ruling

The major active ingredient in Roundup, which is the most commonly used insecticide in the world, is glyphosate. Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, Judge Michelle Friedland said that EPA’s finding that glyphosate did not pose a risk to human health “was not supported by substantial evidence.” The opinion also stated that the EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by inadequately examining glyphosate’s impact on various animal and vegetative species. The court sent the case back to the EPA for further consideration.

Other administrative action

California and other states have listed Roundup as a cancer risk, and many local government agencies across the country have restricted its use. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer issued a statement labeling glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic.” Roundup is manufactured and marketed by drug giant Bayer, which has said that it plans to remove Roundup from the residential lawn-and-garden marketplace by early 2023. Bayer is currently considering whether it will appeal the 9th Circuit’s decision to the United States Supreme Court.


Many people have used Roundup on farms, lawns and backyard gardens. Anyone who has used Roundup and thereafter contracted cancer may wish to consult a knowledgeable environmental attorney for advice on whether to join one of many pending lawsuits against Bayer. Many small businesses, such as hardware stores and nurseries, have routinely sold Roundup even when its safety was challenged. Any business that has sold Roundup may wish to consult an environmental attorney regarding potential liability and the potential for seeking indemnity from Bayer or other entities in the supply chain.