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Victory! California Defeats Monsanto in Court, Wins the Right to Label Roundup for Cancer Risk

By On March 15, 2017


Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller Roundup is used across the country, from lawns to golf courses and even children’s playgrounds.

But while Monsanto insists the active ingredient glyphosate is safe, the World Health Organization disagrees, calling it a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015. In addition recent unsealed documents revealed both the EPA and Monsanto have known for over 30 years that glyphosate may lead to the growth of tumors in multiple organs (they hid this information via a “trade secrets” clause).

Despite the health concerns, Monsanto has been able to sell Roundup without a warning label. Now, those days may be a thing of the past thanks to a judge’s landmark ruling in the Golden State.

Monsanto Loses in Court; Cancer Label Forthcoming?

As noted in this report from The Los Angeles Times, a Fresno County Superior Court Judge, Kristi Kapetan, is expected to issue a formal decision soon that will deny a Monsanto lawsuit against the state of California, which will allow it to go ahead with plans to place warning labels on Roundup.

Monsanto had sued the state saying that they had illegally based their decision on an international health organization based in France, and also argued that it would have immediate financial consequences for the company.

But the state says that it is utilizing the “gold standard” for identifying carcinogens in the Intenational Agency for Research on Cancer, and they rely on their findings along with several other states, governments and countries, according to court papers obtained by the Times.

California would be the first state to require such labeling if the proposal goes through, the report stated. Monsanto’s law firm said that it would challenge the ruling.

Glyphosate is sold in more than 160 countries and used on 250 types of crops in California. Monsanto’s Roundup contains the chemical as its active ingredient along with others, and the company has also genetically engineered (modified) crops in its laboratories in order to withstand large doses of the chemical (ie “Roundup Ready” crops).

California will reportedly wait until the formal warning is announced in order to begin putting warning labels on the bottle, the report said. The manufacturer must wait a year to attach such a warning to the label whenver such a ruling is issued.

According to a recent major world report, over 200,000 people die from acute pesticide poisoning each year worldwide.

Teri McCall’s husband Jack toted a backpack of Roundup for more than 30 years and died of cancer in 2015; Teri is part of a lawsuit involving dozens claiming similar cancer-related results, as noted by the Times article. But another farmer, Paul Betancourt, has been using Roundup for over 30 years and said that he doesn’t know anyone who has gotten sick from it, according to the article. He says that farmers need to “treat it with a level of respect like anything else.”

Critics, however, point to glyphosate amounts in food above safe levels and say that a change needs to be made.

For more on the lawsuits and the court decision, you can read the full article by clicking on this link.