Viewpoint: America’s courts must keep ‘junk science’ out of legal proceedings

px US Supreme Court Building e
United States Supreme Court building (Credit: Duncan Lock via Wikimedia Commons)

When jurors hear cases, they reasonably expect that they are presented only with reliable scientific information to support their deliberations. Regrettably, this is often not the case. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that one of the worst examples of “junk science” that finds its way into our courts is being funded by American taxpayers.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC …. issued a report concluding that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is carcinogenic. That report became the basis for a San Francisco jury entering a $289 million jury award against Monsanto ….

Closer scrutiny of the IARC process reveals advisement by an “invited specialist,” Christopher Portier …. At the same time Portier worked for the agency, he was paid by the Environmental Defense Fund, an anti-pesticide group. Moreover, Portier received $160,000 from law firms suing over glyphosate ….

Related article:  Can Elisabete Weiderpass reform controversial IARC cancer agency?

…. The 1993 decision of the Supreme Court …. in Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals …. requires judges to serve as “gatekeepers” and follow procedures weeding out junk science and not allowing it to reach jurors …. Reasonable rules and procedures based on Daubert are essential to a balanced legal system, and it is the responsibility of the judiciary in the country as well as lawmakers to ensure that junk science does not find its way into our courtrooms.

Read full, original article: Carcinogenic junk science is finding its way into the courtroom

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