Roundup Causes Cancer, California Says

Spraying glyphosate on a stubble field | Photo: Chafer Machinery, some rights reserved
Spraying glyphosate on a field. Photo: Chafer Machinery

California is free to declare officially that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller causes cancer after a state court stopped a lawsuit by Monsanto.

There are 100 lawsuits in MDL 2741 supervised by US District Judge Vince Chhabria (Northern District of California), Roundup Products Liability Litigation.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced in 2015 that it would add glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

Monsanto sued in January 2016 to block the listing, claiming that the state acted unconstitutionally in listing glyphosate. The company also argued that the value of its Roundup trademark would be irreparably damaged that its First Amendment right to free speech was threatened if the state required warning labels on the company’s glyphosate products.

Glyphosate on carcinogen list

State Superior Court Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan ruled March 10 that California may add glyphosate to its carcinogen list.

Farm workers suffer significant health effects from glyphosate exposure, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).

Use of Roundup has skyrocketed in recent decades because of Roundup’s bogus reputation as “safer than table salt.” Also, Monsanto’s sells “Roundup-ready” crops such as soy, corn, alfalfa, and cotton. Farmers spray Roundup on crops, killing the weeds but leaving their crops unharmed.

As a result of the spread of glyphosate-resistant crops, use of the herbicide has increased more than tenfold since 1995.

America’s farming belt, where most of the food in the US is grown, is hit the hardest:

  • West: California, Washington, Montana, and Texas
  • Midwest: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota
  • Mississippi River: Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee
  • Atlantic seaboard: New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina

This article is a part of KCET and Link TV’s “Summer of the Environment.

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