Biotech giant Bayer has been lobbying Congress to pass new legislation that could protect the company from spending billions on lawsuits that alleged its Roundup weed killer causes cancer, according to The Washington Post.

What's happening?

Bayer is facing about 170,000 claims alleging that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, can cause cancer in people frequently exposed to it.

While Bayer maintains Roundup is safe and agreed to pay $10 billion to settle thousands of cases in 2020, roughly 60,000 claims remain unresolved.

Bayer helped craft federal legislation that could make it harder for plaintiffs to argue they weren't properly warned about Roundup's risks. The company has lobbied for the bill's inclusion in must-pass packages such as the farm bill. Similar Bayer-backed measures have advanced in several states.

Why is Bayer's lobbying concerning?

Critics say the legislation would undo important pesticide protections. It aims to prevent local rules on pesticide warnings that differ from federal guidelines. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't consider glyphosate a carcinogen, contradicting health authorities such as the World Health Organization.

If successful, the bill could block access to justice for workers harmed by glyphosate. Plaintiffs have been awarded huge sums, including a $2 billion verdict to a warehouse worker with cancer linked to Roundup.

Bayer calls the lawsuits an "existential" financial threat, according to Bloomberg.

"They've been losing, so they're coming to Congress with hat in hand trying to change the law," Daniel Savery, a senior legislative representative for Earthjustice, told the Post.

What's being done about glyphosate?

Opposition is mounting from lawmakers, mayors, health experts, and environmental advocates. More than 100 local leaders warned Congress that the bill would hurt constituents seeking justice from irresponsible companies.

Efforts to slip the measure into major bills have so far failed, the Post says. As Bayer ramps up its nationwide lobbying push, critics vow to keep fighting what they see as an attempt to change the law after facing losses in court.

The EPA is slated to reevaluate glyphosate's risks in 2026. In the meantime, you can reduce exposure by using natural weed control methods instead of chemical herbicides. Opt for hand-pulling, mulching, or eco-friendly alternatives such as vinegar solutions. Every personal action helps protect our health and environment.

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