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California Can Label Roundup as Possible Cancer Threat

California Superior Court Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan recently ruled California can require Monsanto to label Roundup as a possible cancer threat. Monsanto holds its position the chemical poses no such risk to humans.

California will list glyphosate in Proposition 65—a list of chemicals known to cause cancer. Monsanto fought the state on this matter but lost its case in court earlier this week. Roundup was added to Proposition 65 based on findings from a debated report by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015 that labeled glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as “probably carcinogenic.”

In California alone, Roundup is used on more than 250 crops. Monsanto officials say they are concerned this label will hurt sales and customer access to the product.

“Regulators around the world, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the state of California itself, have determined that glyphosate does not cause cancer,” says Christi Dixon, Monsanto corporate media relations lead. “The agency’s flawed and baseless proposal to list glyphosate under Proposition 65 not only contradicts California’s own scientific assessment, but it also violates the California and U.S. Constitutions. We disagree with the Court’s ruling, and we will continue to fight the decision on the basis of sound science and the law.”

In a separate announcement this week, the European Chemical’s Agency (ECHA) announced it finds glyphosate is not a carcinogen. This finding helps move the European Union forward in deciding whether or not to renew glyphosate’s approval later in 2017.

“ECHA’s finding that glyphosate is not a carcinogen throws further doubt on IARC’s process and conclusion,” the agency stated in a recent press release.

After ECHA’s findings today others have stepped forward with concerns about IARC’s testing process and accuracy.

“ECHA’s confirmation that glyphosate is not a carcinogen underscores the serious flaws in IARC’s evaluation of carcinogens,” noted the Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research in a recent statement. “IARC consistently fails to base its reviews on a full consideration of the available scientific evidence, which explains why regulatory bodies around the globe disagree with its determination that glyphosate is a ‘probable human carcinogen.’ Until IARC reforms its unscientific monograph process, its evaluations will continue to be out-of-step with the rest of the public health and regulatory community.”

If IARC’s findings are disproved, court documents indicate glyphosate can be removed from Proposition 65.

“If the glyphosate listing under Proposition 65 is invalidated, it will immediately remove the protection that the State considers necessary to public health and welfare,” those documents state.

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