‘$HITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD’ ~ Phillip Schneider on “Trump’s EPA Wants to Reverse Round-Up Verdict — Protecting Bayer-Monsanto”

“After Bayer AG, which recently acquired the Round-Up herbicide in a $63 billion buyout of Monsanto, has once again been found guilty in a California court for not informing customers that their product can cause cancer. The Trump Administration on the other hand, wants that ruling overturned. In August of 2018, Monsanto lost their first big lawsuit alleging that the active ingredient of their Round-Up herbicide causes cancer. Ever since that day, thousands of plaintiffs have began suing Monsanto for causing their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. One of those plaintiffs is Edwin Hardeman, who was the first to challenge Monsanto in a federal court. The judge overseeing Edwin’s suit even restricted him from discussing Monsanto’s past, Hardeman’s ‘personal history’, and information about regulatory decisions, barring him from talking about anything besides whether Round-Up caused his cancer. Despite what his attorneys argued was a huge disadvantage, he was still able to get his point across, won the suit against Monsanto, and was awarded $25 million. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Justice Department want to see that ruling overturned by a higher court, according to a Ninth Circuit court brief filed in December. Bayer’s stock soared immediately thereafter. This decision isn’t surprising seeing as though Trump ran his whole campaign on the economy, not environmental or health safety. According to a 2017 Associated Press analysis, almost half of Trump’s EPA appointees have previous industry ties, with about one-third previously working as lawyers or lobbyists for chemical or fossil fuels companies like Monsanto. Twenty-four ethics waivers were signed by Trump pick Don McGahn allowing former industry members to oversee the industries they used to work for. In November, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump Administration had unlawfully excluded millions of tons of toxic materials from undergoing safety review, including common products such as fire retardant, house paint, and insulation. The Trump Administrations argument as to why the Hardman case should be ignored is that the Trump EPA does not classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, and therefor Bayer and Monsanto have no need to label it as such. However, a plethora of research shows the opposite. In a recent 2019 meta-analysis, scientists found that glyphosate exposure could raise the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer by as much as 41%. It doesn’t appear that the Trump Administration will allow Bayer’s stock to go down without a fight, but I have a feeling that isn’t going to stop victims of Round-Up from seeking justice.”

~Phillip Schneider

~via

Waking Times

ECOWATCH: “Trump’s EPA Won’t Ban Brain-Damaging Pesticide”

“Siding with pesticide corporations over the health and well-being of kids is the new normal at the EPA. Today’s decision underscores the sad truth that as long as the Trump administration is in charge, this EPA will favor the interests of the chemical lobby over children’s safety.” 

Ken Cook – President, Environmental Working Group

 

President Donald Trump‘s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not ban the agricultural use of chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide that the EPA’s own scientists have linked to brain damage in children.

The decision, announced Thursday, was a response to a petition from public health and environmental groups who had pushed for a ban. The agency ruled that “critical questions remained regarding the significance of the data” on the pesticide’s health effects.

The ruling is the latest in a series of Trump EPA decisions that weaken chemical safety rules. In April, it opted against a full ban on asbestos in favor of restrictions that critics say could usher in new uses. Also this year, it issued restrictions on a paint-stripping chemical that were weaker than a ban proposed during the Obama years. Finally, just last week, it widely expanded the use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor, which its own scientists have shown can harm bees.

“Siding with pesticide corporations over the health and well-being of kids is the new normal at the EPA,” Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. “Today’s decision underscores the sad truth that as long as the Trump administration is in charge, this EPA will favor the interests of the chemical lobby over children’s safety.”

The EPA’s decision came after a federal court ordered the agency to make a final call on the ban by mid-July. Chlorpyrifos has been banned for home use since 2000, but farmers have continued to spray it on crops like apples, strawberries, broccoli and corn. The Obama administration had initiated a ban on agricultural uses of the pesticide, but Trump’s EPA reversed it, setting off a legal battle with environmental advocates. In the absence of federal action, states have moved against the pesticide on their own. Hawaii became the first state to ban chlorpyrifos in 2018, and California announced it would ban the chemical in May. New York is also moving towards a ban.

Research has linked chlorpyrifos exposure to lower IQ, memory loss, breathing problems and increased risk of autism in babies born to mothers who lived near farms where it was sprayed.

“What we have with chlorpyrifos is multiple academic research projects that have shown that actual children who actually live in California are being harmed by this chemical,” said Center for Environmental Health senior scientist Caroline Cox. “It’s pretty rare that you have that kind of evidence for any toxic chemical.”

So how was the EPA able to decide that the science wasn’t conclusive? The ruling was a direct consequence of former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt‘s decision to limit the kinds of studies that regulators could use to make decisions.

Under Mr. Pruitt, the agency proposed a rule saying it could not consider scientific researchunless the raw data behind it was made public, saying the issue was a matter of transparency. Scientists argued that studies measuring human exposure to pesticides and other chemicals often rely on confidential health information and argued the E.P.A.’s real motivation was to restrict the ability to develop regulations.

In opting not to ban chlorpyrifos, the E.P.A. rejected a major study conducted by Columbia University on its effects on children in New York City. The E.P.A. said because it was unable to obtain the raw data and replicate that study, which linked the insecticide to developmental delays, it could not independently verify the conclusions.

The 12 groups who brought the petition against the EPA vowed to keep fighting.

“We will continue to fight until chlorpyrifos is banned and children and farmworkers are safe from this dangerous chemical,” they said in a joint statement reported by Earthjustice, the legal organization that represented the groups.

Former senior EPA attorney Kevin Minoli thought that federal courts would ultimately rule in favor of a ban.

“To me, this starts the clock on the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops in the US.”

 

~via EcoWatch.com