A collection of farmworkers’ groups and a consumer rights group on Thursday asked the Eleventh Circuit to overturn a ruling that federal law bars a failure-to-warn claim by a man who said that Monsanto’s Roundup caused his cancer.
The groups–Farmworker Association of Florida, Farmworker Justice, Migrant Clinicians Network, Pesticide Action Network, United Farm Workers and the UFW Foundation– urged the court to let a suit by John Carson go forward, saying a ruling otherwise would cut off an avenue for consumers hurt by pesticides that didn’t have adequate warning labels about the potential dangers of using the product.
Nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen said Carson’s claims aren’t expressly barred by the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, and that Georgia state law also requires a manufacturer to give warning if it knows of a danger arising from the use of a product. The groups said a pesticide is “misbranded” in violation of FIFRA if its label fails to provide adequate warnings or directions to protect people and the environment.
The arguments put forth by the groups echo one Carson made to the court — that his claim is not preempted by FIFRA since he’s not trying to impose a labeling requirement different from what’s required under federal law.
Carson said Bayer AG’s Monsanto repeatedly spread misleading information about Roundup’s safety risks and suppressed research about the risks of being exposed to the weedkiller, issues that go beyond what’s on the label.
Should Carson’s case be allowed to proceed, he could argue that Roundup is carcinogenic and prompt Monsanto to update the label on the pesticide to disclose the risks associated with its use.