News Recap for 2-5-21
Reuters: Bayer reaches $2 billion deal over future Roundup cancer claims — Under the proposed plan, Bayer will provide $2 billion for a four-year period as compensation and to cover outreach and diagnostic assistance. The settlement would cover future claims brought by individuals who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and were exposed to Roundup before their diagnosis. The settlement also includes benefits for people who were exposed to Roundup and develop the cancer in the future. Glyphosate will remain on the market. Bayer agreed to seek permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide a reference link on labels so consumers can find scientific studies on the weedkiller.
Bloomberg Law: PFAS Focus by State Lawmakers Moves Beyond Drinking Water Limits — Legislators in 27 states plan to introduce legislation during their coming sessions to restrict so-called forever chemicals that can persist in air, water and soil, according to a report published Wednesday. Safer States, a network of environmental health groups tracking state chemical policies, will issue its annual report on the legislative agendas for 2021. Bills requiring state agencies to regulate PFAS are the focus of most bills expected to be introduced, the report said.
Water World: Can nanotech and microbes partner to destroy PFAS? — In a new project, researchers from the University at Buffalo and University of Pittsburgh are teaming up to design the approaches and tools that would chop up PFAS and remove them from the water source. The group will seek to develop advanced catalytic carbon-metal nanomaterials that react with and snip PFAS , and to identify and isolate bacteria capable of consuming the sliced-up toxins. The study is funded by a $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Superfund Research Program, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Yahoo Finance: AI Is Becoming a New Weapon in the Battle Against Crop Pests — Switzerland’s Syngenta AG has teamed up with Insilico Medicine to use its deep-learning tools to produce sustainable weedkillers. As well as taking on some of the early-stage work traditionally conducted in a lab, AI could design molecules used in crop-protection tools that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. AI is among new methods emerging as environmental and health concerns spur a quest for sustainable alternatives to traditional pesticides used by farmers. Demand also is being supported by regulatory pressures and lawsuits, most notably Bayer AG’s $11 billion settlement deal over claims its long-used glyphosate herbicide causes cancer. Despite the bad press surrounding glyphosate, the near 50-year-old chemical compound remains the top first-line defense for many farmers. But weeds are developing a resistance to it.
NC Policy Watch: NC’s Michael Regan receives strong bipartisan support at Senate confirmation hearing — Although Regan’s confirmation is likely, the committee’s lines of questioning exposed political divisions about how to grapple with the climate crisis and environmental regulations, particularly as they relate to job loss. Regan said he would “follow the science and follow the law,” if confirmed, as well as focus on the climate crisis, drinking water and environmental justice. Regan said that under his leadership the EPA would prioritize PFAS, climate change, collaboration with “all stakeholders,” transparency and environmental justice. PFAS, widespread in North Carolina’s drinking water along with coal ash, defined Regan’s legacy in the state.