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Glyphosate Label Moving Forward In California

Glyphosate is the main chemical in Monsanto’s top-selling weed killer, Roundup. (Mike Mozart/Flickr)

A California appeals court this week ruled that the state has a right to label glyphosate, the main ingredient in popular weed killer Roundup, as a “possible carcinogen.”

Sound familiar? It should. A different California court made the same ruling last February, citing Proposition 65, a 1986 measure requiring states to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

Monsanto challenged last year’s ruling in both state and federal court, claiming that the state was illegally delegating lawmaking powers to the International Agency for Research on Cancer – an arm of the World Health Organization that Monsanto called an “unaccountable foreign agency” in their suit.

The Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno preserved California’s authority to list glyphosate as a possible carcinogen and prohibit discharge of the chemical into waterways.

At the heart of the debate are two scientific studies: one by the EPA declaring the chemical as having “low toxicity” to humans; the other by the IARC, which found the chemical to possibly cause cancer in humans.

This week’s decision was hailed by environmentalists and food safety advocates.

“This is a win for science and democracy,” said Rebecca Riley, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco, to the SF Gate. “The ruling clearly backs the voters’ choice to rely on expert scientific bodies to add dangerous chemicals to its list.”

In the coming weeks, Monsanto could ask the state Supreme Court to review this week’s ruling.

Read More:
State can label widely used herbicide as possible carcinogen (SF Gate)

Glyphosate, Top-Selling Weed Killer, Wins E.U. Approval for 5 Years (New York Times)

In Limited Study, Herbicide Glyphosate Detected In Majority Of Pregnant Women

Inside Monsanto’s day in court: Scientists weigh in on glyphosate’s cancer risk (Public Radio International)

Taylor Killough

Taylor Killough has degrees anthropology and journalism. She has worked with the oral history project StoryCorps. A nomad at heart, she recently returned to Louisville, Kentucky, where's she's excited to have her own kitchen and garden again.

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