JEFFERSON CITY – Are recent verdicts faulting Bayer and its Roundup product an indication that juries no longer trust the determinations of regulatory agencies regarding product safety?
That's the question some are wrangling with after several juries have decided against Bayer despite numerous regulatory agencies declaring Roundup does not pose a danger to human health.
Bayer last year purchased Monsanto, the original producer of weed killer Roundup, and has been in the past accused of covering up the risks of certain ingredients, according to a Bloomberg report.
The decisions suggest that jurors may believe regulatory agencies have been compromised by corporations and politics and thus the science they use to make their determinations cannot be trusted, Bloomberg reports. This shift in attitude could have profound impacts for companies that end up in court defending themselves against claims that their products cause health issues or are otherwise unsafe.
Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri, is concerned about this trend and hopes juries examine the full spectrum of available science on the topic.
"It is our belief that the extensive body of science, which includes hundreds of studies over several decades, together with more than 40 years of safe use and regulatory conclusions around the world will ultimately be determinative in the litigation," McCarty said.
McCarty's point is echoed by recent research from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Food Safety Authority. Both organizations say that based on their evidence, glyphosate, the ingredient in Roundup that's currently under scrutiny, likely does not cause cancer. In fact, of the more than 100 investigations conducted into the chemical, only the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer has suggested the chemical may be carcinogenic.
McCarty believes it's this overall body of evidence that should guide juries deciding these types of cases.
"We hope that outcomes are based on science and facts and not opinions by IARC, which conducted no original scientific studies," McCarty said.