Glyphosate facing heat in California

Glyphosate facing heat in California

Glyphosate, one of two active ingredients found in Monsanto’s popular weed killer, Roundup, is facing heat as California regulators take steps to alter warning labels on products containing broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant.

On July 7, 2017, California officials announced the ingredient would appear on the state’s list of potentially carcinogenic chemicals. Less than a year later, the public could see new warning labels on household products, like Roundup, warning users about the risk.

Monsanto, the producer of Roundup, recently lost a court appeal to block this move saying the product does not cause cancer and new labeling measures could hurt business.

Attorney Michael Baum, of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman in Los Angeles, California, represents more than 300 people who claim to have suffered illness or had a loved one die from exposure to Roundup. Baum says the fight for stricter labeling procedures to protect Californians is far from over as the wrongful death lawsuit for one California man proceeds.

Monsanto has not been silent about their opposition to this effort. Vice president of global strategy, Scott Partridge, said in a statement the ingredient does not cause cancer and there is no need to list it as harmful to the state’s citizens.

While the National Pesticide Information Center reports more than 750 products contain glyphosate, groups are getting the most traction on this issue from a study, published by the International Agency for Cancer Research, under the World Health Organization.

IARC ranks items in decreasing levels of certainty in regards to carcinogenic behavior moving from group 1, most likely, to group 4, probably not. The new IARC study states, “the Meeting concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure.” Furthermore, the study went on to say the organization will not define an ARfd for glyphosate because no measurable amount can be definitively linked to the expression of cancer.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s glyphosate review is currently underway and will decide how the general public should interpret the IARC findings. The EPA will also be responsible for outlining what safety measures, if any, are needed. According to Scientific American, the EPA does not consider glyphosate carcinogenic to humans.

In the meantime, Monsanto’s Vice president of global strategy, Scott Partridge says they will continue to aggressively challenge the California Court’s ruling to change labeling procedures for the product.

Other items also classified as group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans) are:

  • Silicon carbide whiskers

  • Glass making

  • The hairdressing and barber profession

  • The fry cook profession

  • Red meat

  • Drinking hot beverages

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