The state of California will label all products containing glyphosate with a cancer warning from 2018 onwards. A judge ruled last week against Monsanto, and will go ahead with the labelling providing the ruling is upheld for one year.
Judge Kristi Kapetan ruled that all products with the active ingredient glyphosate— not just Roundup—will require labelling stating the chemical as a “probable cancer cause.”
Reports last week documented Monsanto’s argument against the ruling, saying the decision violates the constitution and will ultimately hinder Monsanto’s sales. Last year, Monsanto made 3.5 billion dollars from global sales on weed killers.
Trenton Norris, Monsanto’s attorney, argued in court that the prior United Nation’s French-based branch (the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer) claims of glyphosate as “a probable human carcinogen” were unsubstantiated.
Last year, Monsanto made 3.5 billion dollars from global sales of their weed killers.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned of glyphosate’s use, advising to avoid entering areas sprayed with the chemical for a minimum of 12 hours.
Monsanto lawyers have argued the glyphosate risk since the World Health Organization made the carcinogenic ruling in 2015, disagreeing that their product poses any risk to humans. In fact, Monsanto legal representatives went so far as to say the UN has no merit with their findings due to their unelected members.
Since the “probable cancer cause” announcement, countless more studies have surfaced in peer reviewed journals that support the damaging effects from glyphosate use. National Geographic also featured a study, linking Roundup use to antibiotic resistance in farm animals and thus humans, as well as hormone disruption when the chemical leaches into water supplies.
With California being the largest consumer of Roundup, treating most edible crops over some 5 million acres, labelling the Roundup product as a probable cancer causing agent will leave a dent in Monsanto’s profits.
According to Monsanto’s website, they base the safety of glyphosate on a very dated report (1993) by the EPA, claiming the chemical as “practically non-toxic.”
Glyphosate has been commercially available since 1974, and is widely used in agriculture and the home to control weeds. It is now used globally in more than 160 countries, with just over a billion pounds of the chemical applied to our crops every year.
It wasn’t until last year that the FDA agreed to test glyphosate-sprayed food. Critics suggest this advancement has only occurred because of the WHO’s “probable carcinogenic” claim. In the past, glyphosate use on crops never required FDA approval or tests—never appearing on the FDA’s list for pesticides and herbicides.
This latest ruling, if upheld, will set a precedent for the rest of the agricultural belt in the United States as well as nations across the world.
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