California Clears Hurdle for Cancer Warning Label on Roundup

Posted on Jan 28 2017 - 2:01am by Sustainable Pulse

California can require Monsanto to label its popular weed-killer Roundup as a possible cancer threat despite an insistence from the chemical giant that it poses no risk to people, a judge tentatively ruled Friday.

Source: Associated Press

California would be the first U.S. state to order such labeling if it carries out the proposal.

Monsanto had sued the nation’s leading agricultural state, saying California officials illegally based their decision for carrying the warnings on an international health organization based in France.


Glyphosate in Popular American Foods

1o Things You Need to Know about Glyphosate

5 Things You Need to Know about Glyphosate Testing

Glyphosate in Numbers

Monsanto attorney Trenton Norris argued in court Friday that the labels would have immediate financial consequences for the company. He said many consumers would see the labels and stop buying Roundup.

“It will absolutely be used in ways that will harm Monsanto,” he said.

After the hearing, the firm said in a statement that it will challenge the tentative ruling.

Critics take issue with Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, which has no color or smell. Monsanto introduced it in 1974 as an effective way of killing weeds while leaving crops and plants intact.

It’s sold in more than 160 countries, and farmers in California use it on 250 types of crops.

The chemical is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which says it has “low toxicity” and recommends people avoid entering a field for 12 hours after it has been applied.

But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a Lyon, France-based branch of the U.N. World Health Organization, classified the chemical as a “probable human carcinogen.”

Shortly afterward, the most populated U.S. state took its first step in 2015 to require the warning labels.

St. Louis-based Monsanto contends that California is delegating its authority to an unelected foreign body with no accountability to U.S. or state officials in violation of the California Constitution.

Attorneys for California consider the International Agency for Research on Cancer the “gold standard” for identifying carcinogens, and they rely on its findings along with several states, the federal government and other countries, court papers say.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan still must issue a formal decision, which she said would come soon.

California regulators are waiting for the formal ruling before moving forward with the warnings, said Sam Delson, a spokesman for the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Once a chemical is added to a list of probable carcinogens, the manufacturer has a year before it must attach the label, he said.

Teri McCall believes a warning would have saved her husband, Jack, who toted a backpack of Roundup for more than 30 years to spray weeds on their 20-acre avocado and apple farm. He died of cancer in late 2015.

“I just don’t think my husband would have taken that risk if he had known,” said Teri McCall, one of dozens nationwide who are suing Monsanto, claiming the chemical gave them or a loved one cancer.

But farmer Paul Betancourt, who has been using Roundup for more than three decades on his almond and cotton crops, says he does not know anyone who has gotten sick from it.

“You’ve got to treat it with a level of respect, like anything else,” he said. “Gasoline will cause cancer if you bathe in the stuff.”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
About the Author

Sustainable Pulse is a global news outlet covering sustainable agriculture, GMOs and pesticides.

5 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Rebecca January 28, 2017 at 06:41 - Reply

    To Paul Betracourt referring to bathing in anything can cause cancer….is no argument. With that or two cigarettes verses a pack a day would be o.k.then.

  2. Donna Presley January 28, 2017 at 17:47 - Reply

    This entire earth is at risk from the avalanche of chemicals being used. It’s ALL about the profit for the chemical manufacturer’s and too bad for those of us that get sick. Way to go California, somebody needs to start turning the tide. Future generations deserve better than this crap!

  3. Elaina Valzania January 29, 2017 at 00:21 - Reply

    Monsanto is toxic, they have destroyed the WORLD SEED BANK, they have stripped 5 generation family farms of their farm lands sueing them supposedly from seed blowing from Monsanto’s land onto abutting properties, they have cloned, GMO’d seed production claiming it is feeding and helping the world but in fact these seeds produce plants that are harder to grow requiring more water and work to produce. The fact is that company has so many lawyers no one can beat them and they have so much money they have greased the hands of Wall Street, The Supreme Court Justices, Hillary Clinton for her campaign and anyone and anything they have to in order to further their own cause. It is a sad day to humanity when we are being legally poisoned by a company that has no regard for anything but their own profits.

  4. Sci-reader February 3, 2017 at 01:04 - Reply

    The EPA’s claim that glyphosate has low toxicity is meaningless. Low toxicity compared to what, cyanide, racin? In that comparison, yes because cyanide and racin are acute toxins, killing rapidly, while glyphosate is a chronic toxin, meaning small doses over long periods of time produces cancer, organ failures, NHL, obesity, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and many others. Parts per trillion concentrations of glyphosate behave as endocrine disrupters. Glyphosate, patented as an antibiotic, applied to the soil kills beneficial bacteria preventing essential mineral uptake by crops. It also is a metal chelator, bonding with manganese and iron, preventing use by the body during digestion of food, while delivering those minerals in a way to be neurotoxins. Glyphosate as an antibiotic in the human gut killing beneficial bacteria, causing leaky gut syndrome and auto-immune diseases. Finally, glyphosate is a synthetic analog of the essential amino acid glycine and replaces glycine in cell protein syntheses eventually causing organ failures. All this happens over time, maybe 10, 20, and 30 years of consumption of small quantities. Monsanto’s original studies in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s showed these effects after 24 months in lab rats, but hid the data with the complicity of the EPA in a callous disregard for human health. All studies are done for only 3 months, corresponding to 7 – 9 human years consumption, which do not show the problems or shows very little problems, usually dismissed.

  5. Sheila Garvin February 4, 2017 at 17:28 - Reply

    We don’t want to be the lab rats for corporate profits anymore. Good for California to stand up to Monsanto!

Leave A Response