June 27, 2017 — Glyphosate, the plant-killing chemical in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, will be added to a list of carcinogens in California.
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) will designate glyphosate as a known cancer-causing chemical on July 7, as required by the state law Proposition 65.
OEHHA proposed listing glyphosate as a carcinogen back in September 2015, six months after cancer experts at the World Health Organization upgraded glyphosate to a “probable human carcinogen.”
Monsanto sued to block the OEHHA designation in January 2016. One year later, a judge in California ruled against Monsanto, paving the way for OEHHA to require warning labels on Roundup.
Monsanto’s appeal of the trial court’s decision is pending, but if further legal challenges are lost, Monsanto will have roughly 1 year from the listing date to add warning labels or remove Roundup from stores.
California will be the first state to require Monsanto to warn consumers that exposure to glyphosate in Roundup may cause cancer.
Dozens of individual lawsuits have been filed by people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who were exposed to glyphosate for decades, including many farmers, farm-workers, and home-gardeners who used Roundup because Monsanto insisted it was “safer than table salt” and “practically non-toxic” in advertisements throughout the 1990s.
The use of glyphosate has skyrocketed since the 1990s, with over 90% of crops in the U.S. now sprayed with Monsanto’s weed-killer. Glyphosate is primarily sprayed on genetically-modified (GMO) crops like corn, cotton, and soybeans for animal feed, but also some non-GMO crops like wheat immediately before harvest. Glyphosate residues are routinely found in a wide range of food we eat every day.
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