Bill Could Provide Some Liability Protection To Farm Chemical Manufacturers

Des Moines, Iowa — A bill that’s cleared initial review in the Iowa House could make it harder for Iowans diagnosed with cancer to argue in a lawsuit that the disease is linked to the weed killer known by the brand name Roundup.

Craig Mischo is director of government affairs for Bayer, the company that makes Roundup. He testified at the Iowa Capitol on Wednesday.

Brad Epperly, a lobbyist for Bayer, says the bill provides some liability protection to Bayer by saying the company has fulfilled its duty to warn consumers about Roundup if the warning label meets federal guidelines.

Other lawyers told legislators the bill would also provide liability protection to a Chinese-owned company that makes Paraquat, a farm chemical that’s been linked to Parkinson’s disease. Brian Marty, a West Des Moines lawyer, represents clients who’ve been exposed to Paraquat and to Roundup, which Marty says has been linked to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

One of the Republicans who voted to clear the bill through a House subcommittee says it needs significant changes. Representative Megan Jones, a lawyer from Sioux Rapids, says she has zero interest in protecting the Chinese government.

Representative Megan Srinivas, a Democrat from Des Moines who’s a doctor, voted against the bill. She says there are medical studies showing a correlation between certain ingredients in farm chemicals and some ailments.

Another member of the subcommittee who is a farmer said the bill has some merit and the conversation about it will continue in the legislature.


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