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State Gives Fertilizer Producer Protection From Farmer's Lawsuits

Republicans in one of the country’s key agricultural states agreed in one legislative chamber to partially shield pesticide manufacturers against lawsuits from farmers and other users who believe that their cancer or other serious illness was caused by the product.


Iowa became the first state in the nation to offer manufacturers that protection. The Iowa Senate passed a bill that would bar Iowans with severe illnesses from suing the makers of pesticides for failing to warn users about potential health effects if the product is labeled according to federal regulators.

Democrats have opposed the legislation and claim that Republicans are siding with giant corporations rather than rural farm families. They argue that just because researchers have not yet definitely agreed that a pesticide causes cancer doesn’t mean that a product is safe.

The Iowa House has not debated the bill yet.

Bayer, which makes Roundup, proposed the bill in Iowa and other states. The company makes Roundup, a pesticide that is widely used to kill weeds on farms, lawns, and gardens. Bayer has faced numerous lawsuits from people across the country who claim exposure to Roundup has made them seriously ill.

Court rulings across the country have ordered billions of dollars in judgements against Bayer, primarily from people who had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

According to the article, Bayer faced 165,000 claims, and roughly one-third remain.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the pesticide and is at the heart of the lawsuits. The National Pesticide Information Center has this background on glyphosate. 

Here is how the Iowa bill deals with federal labeling:

“The bill provides for a defense from civil liability associated with the use of pesticides that are registered with the EPA acting under the federal Act. The bill provides that a label provides sufficient warning if itcomplies with any one of three criteria:

(1) it was approved by the EPA

(2) it is consistent with the most recent human health assessment performed under the federal Act

(3) it is consistent with the EPA’s carcinogenicity classificationfor the pesticide. In each case, the label is sufficient tosatisfy any requirements for a warning regarding health orsafety under the state Act, and any other provision of statelaw or any other common law duty to warn.”

However, the bill does not product pesticide producers from one country: China.


American Farmland Owner Hayfields mountains


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