January 31, 2017 — A judge in California has blocked Monsanto’s lawsuit against the state for trying to classify glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a cancer-causing chemical.
Monsanto filed the lawsuit in January 2016, soon after the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) tried to put glyphosate on a list of carcinogens under Proposition 65.
Last week, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan tentatively ruled against Monsanto. The state has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit before they move forward with the warnings.
Monsanto’s lawyers have vowed to appeal, calling the warnings “flawed and baseless” and also a violation of the U.S. Constitution. The company vigorously defends the safety of Roundup and says it does not cause cancer.
However, Robert Kennedy Jr. said at a press conference:
“This listing is not going to put them out of business. This is a warning, to let workers know that this chemical can harm them.”
Also at the press conference was the widow of Jack McCall, a farmer who died of lymphoma after using a backpack to spray Roundup on their avocado and apple orchard for more than 30 years in California.
Monsanto is facing around 50 lawsuits from farmers, agricultural workers, gardeners, and others who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup. They say Monsanto downplayed risks by marketing Roundup as “safer than table salt.”
The controversy erupted in 2015, after the cancer-research division of the World Health Organization listed glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” In the United States, the EPA originally classified glyphosate as a “possible carcinogen” in 1985, but reversed course a few years later with little explanation and now says it has “low toxicity.”
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