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US EPA backs Bayer's appeal of Roundup verdict

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 21 filed papers in federal appeals court backing Bayer AG's appeal to overturn a verdict that ordered the company to pay $25 million to a person who claimed that his cancer was caused by the company's weedkiller Roundup, Bloomberg reported.

The EPA said it reviewed and approved the Roundup warning label issued by Bayer-owned Monsanto Co., Bloomberg reported, citing the filing. In July, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria refused to overturn the jury's verdict that Roundup is defective because its label does not feature a cancer warning.

The EPA said lawyers representing the plaintiff ignored the authority of the EPA and instead relied on California law to claim the label was flawed, according to the Bloomberg report.

"That label, once reviewed and approved by EPA, is controlling," the agency said. "States cannot impose distinct labeling requirements."

In an email to the news agency, Aimee Wagstaff, the plaintiff's lawyer said that Bayer's argument has been repeatedly rejected and that "the EPA's brief doesn't change the law."

Bayer is satisfied that the EPA "expressed its views in this appeal, which are consistent with the pre-emption arguments we have made throughout this case," the company said in an emailed statement.