Plaintiffs allege 3M is hiding documents in nationwide PFAS litigation

Chemical manufacturer 3M is allegedly hiding files that could shed light on the role that former 3M Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Lewis Lehr played years ago as the company was struggling internally to figure out how to deal with growing evidence that its toxic chemical compound PFOS was widespread in the blood of the general U.S. population.

According to a motion to compel filed Feb. 15 with the U.S. District Court in South Carolina by plaintiffs lawyers in sweeping multidistrict litigation, 3M has repeatedly failed to turn over Lehr’s files to the plaintiffs legal team despite multiple requests as part of court-ordered discovery.

Lehr “played a central role in business decisions related to investigating and reporting potential effects” associated with 3M’s PFOS products, the motion states. Lehr was CEO of 3M from 1979 to 1986 and was a member of its board of directors from 1974 to 1991.

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Only two out of 11 herbicide studies given to EU regulators deemed ‘reliable’

Only two out of a group of 11 industry studies given to European regulators in support of the re-approval of the main ingredient in Roundup herbicide are scientifically “reliable”, according to a new analysis of corporate-backed studies on the chemical glyphosate.

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide and is not only the main ingredient in Roundup herbicide but also in hundreds of other products. It is extensively used by farmers in growing common food crops.

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EPA unveils new strategy to address US contamination of ‘forever’ chemicals

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday announced a “strategic roadmap” it said would help restrict a class of toxic chemicals from being released into the environment and accelerate the cleanup of existing contamination of “forever chemicals” that are associated with a range of human health dangers.

The news comes a day after the Guardian revealed an EPA data set that lists roughly 120,000 industrial sites around the country that may be, or may have been, handling PFAS chemicals. The data set includes facility locations and operation details, and was compiled by EPA researchers to help state and local officials work with the federal government in addressing contamination concerns.

The extent of the EPA list of facilities demonstrates that virtually no part of the US appears free from the potential risk of contamination with the chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

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Revealed: more than 120,000 US sites feared to handle harmful PFAS ‘forever’ chemicals

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified more than 120,000 locations around the US where people may be exposed to a class of toxic “forever chemicals” associated with various cancers and other health problems that is a frightening tally four times larger than previously reported, according to data obtained by the Guardian.

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EPA’s “scientific integrity” program lacks teeth, group alleges

Insiders at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have alleged dozens of violations of the agency's "scientific integrity" policy over the last few years, including complaints of political interference and tampering with chemical risk assessments, but nearly all the complaints have been ignored, according to an analysis conducted by a nonprofit group representing EPA employees.

Since 2017 there have been 68 allegations of scientific integrity violations inside the EPA, including 35 allegations filed between 2019 and mid-year 2021, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Seven complaints were filed between January and July of this year, according to EPA data obtained by PEER, which released the new report.

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Litigation against Syngenta grows; lawyers fight over evidence and trial dates

Syngenta AG is facing a growing number of U.S. lawsuits over allegations that its paraquat herbicide causes Parkinson’s disease, with a Fresno, California man pushing for an expedited trial that potentially would start within the next few months, and multiple plaintiffs’ lawyers jockeying for power and influence over future trial proceedings.

Plaintiff George Isaak used paraquat to treat weeds on orchard and vineyard property from 1964 through 2004, mixing, loading and spraying the pesticide routinely before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in May of 2020, according to his lawsuit.

Isaak used a 200-gallon “spraying rig” on the 60-acre farm where he raised peaches, nectarines, almonds, pistachios, and grapes before retiring in 2005. Isaak, 84, now has such severe Parkinson’s symptoms that he has suffered several falls, finds it hard to speak, and is confined to a wheelchair, according to his lawyers.

Isaak attorney Mike Miller said his client has been left with “horrible” injuries from Parkinson’s.

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‘The harm to children is irreparable’: Ruth Etzel speaks out ahead of EPA whistleblower hearing

The US Environmental Protection Agency is failing to protect children by ignoring poisons in the environment and focusing on corporate interests, according to a top children’s health official who will testify this week that the agency tried to silence her because of her insistence on stronger preventions against lead poisoning.

“The people of the United States expect the EPA to protect the health of their children, but the EPA is more concerned with protecting the interests of polluting industries,” said Ruth Etzel, former director of the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP). The harm being done to children is “irreparable”, she said.

A hearing will be held on 13 September in which several internal EPA communications will be presented as evidence, including an email in which EPA personnel discuss using press inquiries about Etzel as “an opportunity to strike” out against her. Among many witnesses to be called to testify are several former high-level EPA officials.

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Appeals court rejects Bayer’s bid to overturn Roundup trial loss, slams company for ‘reckless disregard’ for consumer safety

Monsanto owner Bayer AG has lost another appeals court decision in the sweeping U.S. Roundup litigation, continuing to struggle to find a way out from under the crush of tens of thousands of claims alleging that Monsanto's glyphosate-based herbicides cause cancer.

In a decision handed down on Monday, the 1st Appellate District in the Court of Appeal for California rejected Monsanto's bid to overturn the trial loss in a case brought by husband-and-wife plaintiffs, Alva and Alberta Pilliod.

"We find that substantial evidence supports the jury's verdicts," the court stated. "Monsanto's conduct evidenced reckless disregard of the health and safety of the multitude of unsuspecting consumers it kept in the dark. This was not an isolated incident; Monsanto's conduct involved repeated actions over a period of many years motivated by the desire for sales and profit."

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Bayer heads into next U.S. cancer trial, opening statements set for Thursday

Despite Bayer AG’s efforts to put an end to costly litigation inherited in its acquisition of Monsanto, opening statements in yet another trial are set for Thursday as a woman suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma claims Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide caused her cancer.

A jury of seven men and five women have been seated in the case of Donnetta Stephens v. Monsanto in the Superior Court of San Bernardino County in California.  Judge Gilbert Ochoa was hearing last-minute arguments over evidence on Wednesday.

The trial comes a week after Bayer announced it would stop selling Roundup, and other herbicides made with the active ingredient glyphosate, to U.S. consumers by 2023. Monsanto was purchased by Bayer AG in 2018, and Bayer insists, just as Monsanto has for decades, that there is no valid evidence of a cancer connection between its weed killing products and cancer.

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New Roundup cancer trial starting in California

Lawyers representing a woman suffering from cancer are prepared to face off against Monsanto and its German owner Bayer AG in a California courtroom on Monday in what is set as the fourth trial over allegations Monsanto’s popular Roundup weed killers cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Jury selection in the case of Donnetta Stephens v. Monsanto is expected to take several days and the trial itself is expected to last up to eight weeks. Judge Gilbert Ochoa of the Superior Court of San Bernardino County in California is overseeing the proceedings.

Monsanto has lost three out of three previous trials, with a jury in the last trial – held in 2019 – ordering a staggering $2 billion in damages due to what the jury saw as egregious conduct by Monsanto in failing to warn users of evidence – including numerous scientific studies – showing a connection between its products and cancer. (The award was later shaved to $87 million.)

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