California's Environmental Protection Agency will now list glyphosate — the toxic main ingredient in the U.S.’ best-selling weedkiller, Roundup — as known to cause cancer.
Under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, usually referred to as Proposition 65, chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm are required to be listed and published by the state. Chemicals also end up on the list if found to be carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization.
In March 2016, the IARC released a report that found glyphosate to be a “probable carcinogen.” In addition to the “convincing evidence,” the report also found that the herbicide can cause cancer in lab animals:
Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the U.S.A., Canada, and Sweden reported increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustments to other pesticides.
California’s decision to place glyphosate on the toxic chemicals list is the first of its kind. As Dr. Nathan Donley of the Center for Biological Diversity said in an email to Ecowatch, “This is a very big deal. As far as I’m aware, this is the first regulatory agency within the U.S. to determine that glyphosate is a carcinogen.”
Monsanto was seemingly baffled by the decision to place cancer-causing glyphosate on the state’s list of nearly 800 toxic chemicals. Monsanto’s spokesperson, Charla Lord, told Agri-Pulse that “glyphosate is an effective and valuable tool for farmers and other users, including many in the state of California. During the upcoming comment period, we will provide detailed scientific information to OEHHA about the safety of glyphosate and work to ensure that any potential listing will not affect glyphosate use or sales in California.”
Roundup is sprayed on crops around the world, particularly with Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready varieties. These varieties are genetically engineered to tolerate large doses of the herbicide to facilitate blanket application without harming crops. Controversy has surrounded this practice for years, especially since it was found farmers increased use of Roundup, rather than lessened it, as Monsanto had claimed.
Less than a week after the WHO issued its report naming glyphosate carcinogenic, Monsanto called for a retraction and still maintains that Roundup is safe when used as directed.
On September of last year, an appeals court in Lyon, France, upheld a ruling in favor of farmer Paul Francois, who claimed he had been chemically poisoned and suffered neurological damage after inhaling Monsanto’s weedkiller, Lasso. Not surprisingly, the agrichemical giant plans to take its appeal to the highest court in France.
Lawsuits against Monsanto keep raising up, and more attorney offices are offering specialized legal services to go after the weed-killer manufacturer. Is the case of the Texas-based law office of Schmidt Firm, PLLC. They are currently accepting Roundup induced injury cases in all 50 states, and encourage anyone diagnosed with lymphoma, to contact its lawyers immediately for a free case consultation toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
In April 2016, a federal judge in California refused to dismiss a lawsuit (PDF) filed by a man who blames Roundup for his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The decision paves the way for other people to file similar lawsuits against Monsanto.
Lawsuits have been filed by people who developed leukemia, bone cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma after exposure to Roundup. The plaintiffs include a macadamia farm-worker who was diagnosed with lymphoma who filed a federal lawsuit (PDF) in Hawaii. In October 2015, lawyers filed three lawsuits against Monsanto in Delaware Superior Court.
In order to avoid glyphosate and other pesticides, consumers must opt for organic, non-gmo produce and products. Organic crop production will decrease in cost when the demand for it increases and becomes the standard. Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified label.