California to list glyphosate as cancer-causing

Monsanto battle California to add glyphosate to its cancer-causing chemicals list

Emmanuel Foudrot Reuters

There are more than 800 chemicals on the Proposition 65 list, including additives, foods, drugs, dyes, solvents, and common household products.

If further appeals are rejected, Monsanto will have roughly 1 year from the listing date to add a Proposition 65 label to Roundup and other glyphosate herbicides - or remove them from stores in California.

The seeds and chemicals company has faced increasing litigation over glyphosate since the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer said that it is "probably carcinogenic" in a controversial ruling in 2015.

The state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has posted a notice on its website that glyphosate will be added to the list on July 7, now that a Monsanto challenge to that decision has failed in court.

California is required under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65, to publish a regularly updated list of chemicals thought to cause cancer or birth defects.

Regulators in California took a pivotal step on Monday toward becoming the first state to require the popular weed killer Roundup to come with a label warning that it's known to cause cancer. The announcement had been delayed while Monsanto challenged the state's intended action in court.

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Environmental groups cheered OEHHA's move to list the chemical.

Recent court documents revealed that the chair of the federal EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee on glyphosate was in contact with Monsanto, providing insider information on the potential carcinogen listing, allowing the company to launch a campaign against it.

Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union, said the Reuters report "omits the fact that the data from the other epidemiology studies (all case control studies), and the meta-analyses, clearly show a statistically significant increase in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma with glyphosate exposure".

Results of studies that looked at the safety of the pesticide, however, are also a subject of controversy.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the company's Roundup brand of herbicide, which is manufactured at its Luling plant in St. Charles Parish and is available for household use to kill weeds and grass.

The safety of the weed killer is a matter of concern since the product is sold in more than 160 countries.

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