California took a big step toward requiring agribusiness giant Monsanto to label its glyphosate herbicide Roundup as a probable cancer risk when a Fresno County Superior Court judge tentatively ruled Jan. 27 in favor of the warning.
A formal decision on the matter, expected to come within days, is now all that separates California regulators from requiring Monsanto to warn the public of Roundup’s potential link to cancer. Once state authorities enforce an order for the warning, Monsanto would have a year to comply.
California is one of the biggest markets in the world for Monsanto’s Roundup, which is sold in more than 160 countries. California farmers use the herbicide, which is engineered to kill weeds while leaving plants and grass intact, on more than 250 types of crops.
California regulators relied on findings from researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a United Nations World Health Organization branch based in Lyons, France, which identified Roundup as a “probable carcinogen,” countering corporate-funded U.S. health studies.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also classified glyphosate as “low toxicity,” but recommends that people avoid entering Roundup-sprayed fields for at least 12 hours.
“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,” the Associated Press reported, citing court documents.
Monsanto lawyers argued that the labeling requirement would scare people away from Roundup and have immediate financial consequences for the company. They said they would challenge Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan’s tentative ruling.
Source: Associated Press