Earlier this month, the EPA issued a position paper regarding the risks of glyphosate. Notably, in classifying glyphosate’s cancer risk to humans, the EPA states, “The strongest support is for ‘not likely to be carcinogenic to humans’ at doses relevant to human health risk assessment.”
Although the EPA report is not dispositive on the issue and will be followed by with a “final assessment” in early 2017, it is a positive development. The FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel of the EPA, much like the European Food Safety Authority, is not accepting the recent IARC position that glyphosate is “probably” carcinogenic to humans. Consequently, causation in litigation involving glyphosate will remain a challenge for plaintiffs’ firms to establish.
Since the IARC position was issued in 2015, plaintiff’s firms have filed a number of lawsuits in California, Illinois, and New York against Monsanto. In late July, one plaintiffs’ firm filed a motion requesting that the multidistrict panel be in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, where three lawsuits are pending. In total, 21 lawsuits have been filed in 14 district courts nationwide naming Monsanto only. The parties expect a ruling this fall on whether the matters against Monsanto will be consolidated.