Glyphosate is an herbicide and is the active ingredient in the popular Monsanto brand weed killer, Roundup. While the chemical has earned a reputation for its efficacy in the field, literally, it has also garnered much concern, lately, as a potential carcinogen. And, as a matter of face, the State of California has just decided to list the chemical of known cancer-causing agents, according to the California State Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
The new designation falls under the blanket of Proposition 65. This is also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Under this legislation, the list of known chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm must be updated every year.
Obviously, this is not going to be good news for Monsanto, who has now vowed to persist in its fight against this designation. After all, this would only the most recent of many setbacks for the seeds and chemicals company that now faces great litigation over the weed killer since the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer originally said that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic” all the way back in 2015.
As a matter of face, Monsanto VP of global strategy, Scott Partridge, comments that this ruling is both “improper” and “unwarranted on the basis of science and the law.” He notes, “This is not the final step in the process, and it has no bearing on the merits of the case. We will continue to aggressively challenge this improper decision.”
Partridge also describes that Monsanto has not yet calculated the potential losses it may suffer from this re-labeling effort. At the same time, Attorney Michael Baum represents more than 300 people who claim to all have loved ones who have been sickened or died from direct exposure to Roundup; and he says that this fight in California is nowhere close to over.
In response to all of this, environmental groups are praising the decision, of course. The Center for Biological Diversity’s senior scientist Nathan Donley, comments, “California’s decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides.”