March 23, 2020, SAN FRANCISCO – The Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network North America on Friday, March 20 filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of glyphosate, the most widely used pesticide in the United States.
The lawsuit argues EPA’s approval of glyphosate is unsafe, unhealthy, and unlawful. EPA ignored warnings from scientists, environmentalists, and medical experts who cautioned about the serious health and environmental harms of continued use of glyphosate.
“In rubberstamping glyphosate once again, EPA ignored warnings from the scientific and environmental community,” said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, Senior Director of Wildlife at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Glyphosate is eradicating habitat for pollinators just as bees and butterflies are experiencing sharp population declines due to human activity. This toxic chemical is also linked to human health risks including cancer, which EPA continues to deny.”
"In addition to the negative impacts on human health and pollinators, glyphosate also disrupts soil microbial functions essential to ensuring plant health and disease resistance in crops and other plants,” said Dr. Margaret Reeves, Pesticide Action Network’s Senior Scientist. “We must hold our public agencies accountable to science. It’s time to get pesticides linked to cancer like glyphosate off the market, and support farmers as they transition to agroecological approaches.”
Glyphosate is used on many popular crops. As a result, it commonly contaminates the food we eat— including kids’ favorites like oatmeal and snack bars. Even untreated crops can be contaminated because glyphosate moves easily through soil and water. Scientific evidence links glyphosate exposure to developmental harms including an elevated risk of birth defects, and an increased risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer. NRDC has called on EPA to more thoroughly assess the carcinogenicity of the chemical to humans.
This widespread agricultural use of glyphosate also kills milkweed, monarch caterpillars’ only source of food, threatening their existence. Just last week, the annual measurement of the eastern monarch butterfly population that overwinters in Mexico, revealed a 53% decrease since last year, further highlighting its plight.
In 2019, the United Nations’ Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services warned about the threat of losing up to one million species due to human activity. It called on the global community to protect nature or face the threat of nature no longer protecting us, as one in every three bites of food depend on bees and other pollinators.
The lawsuit was filed in the 9th Circuit court of appeals in San Francisco.
More Information on Glyphosate:
Natural Resources Defense Council
Pesticide Action Network North America
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC
Pesticide Action Network works to create a just, thriving food system. PAN works alongside those on the frontlines of pesticide exposure — from farmworkers to rural communities to beekeepers. PAN links local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network. Together, we challenge the global proliferation of pesticides, defend basic rights to health and environmental quality, and work to ensure the transition to a just and viable food system.