Court: California Can Label Roundup as Cancer Threat

WHO-says-Roundup-probably-causes-cancerFresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan ruled that California can require Monsanto to label its herbicide Roundup as a possible cancer threat.

California would be the first state to order such labeling for the weed-killer, which is used by farmers and home gardeners worldwide.

Separately, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria is supervising Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741 in San Francisco. Since the MDL was created in October, it has attracted 46 lawsuits, Case No. Case 3:16-md-02741-VC.

Herbicide found in popular foods

Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, has no color or smell. Recently, the independent food safety testing done by Food Democracy found extremely high levels of the herbicide glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — in America’s most popular food products.

Monsanto introduced the chemical in 1974 as an effective way of killing weeds while leaving crops and plants intact. It’s sold in more than 160 countries, and farmers in California use it on 250 types of crops.

  • The chemical is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which says it has ‘low toxicity’ and recommends people avoid entering a field for 12 hours after it has been applied.
  • But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a Lyon, France-based branch of the U.N. World Health Organization, classified the chemical as a ‘probable human carcinogen.’

Shortly afterward, California took its first step in 2015 to require the warning labels.

Attorneys for California consider the International Agency for Research on Cancer the ‘gold standard’ for identifying carcinogens, and they rely on its findings along with several states, the federal government and other countries, court papers say.

 

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Court Appoints Leadership In Roundup Cancer MDL

roundup-cancerUS District Judge Vince Chhabria appointed Robin Greenwald of Weitz & Luxenberg, PC, Michael Miller of The Miller Firm, LLC, and Aimee Wagstaff of Andrus Wagstaff, PC as Plaintiffs’ CoLead Counsel of Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, Case 3:16-md-02741-VC.

Pretrial Order No. 2, issued Nov. 17, also named them as chairs of the Executive Committee to coordinate and oversee the activities of the MDL. The court further named Michael Baum, Baum Hedlund Aristei and Goldman, Hunter Lundy, Lundy Lundy Soileau & South, and Yvonne Flaherty, Lockridge Grindal Nauen as Executive Committee members.

The court appointed Lori Andrus, Andrus Anderson, LLP and Mark Burton, Audet and Partners as co-liaison counsel. The role of co-liaison counsel will include administrative matters, such as to liaise with Plaintiffs’ attorneys who file cases in this MDL and who are not appointed to leadership in the MDL.

Causes cancer

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) created the new MDL in the Northern District of California. There are 21 actions pending in 14 districts. Including the potential tag-along actions, there are now 37 actions pending in 21 districts. More than 10 different law firms represent plaintiffs in these actions, which were spread across the country.

The MDL Court noted that in the two actions previously pending in the Northern District of California, it had granted Monsanto’s request to bifurcate the proceedings. “However, because not all parties to the MDL have had an opportunity to be heard on this issue, the Court will consider additional arguments regarding bifurcation at the case management conference,” the judge wrote.

These lawsuits allege that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, particularly its active ingredient, glyphosate, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). Plaintiffs each allege that they or their decedents developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup over the course of several or more years. Plaintiffs also allege that the use of glyphosate in conjunction with other ingredients, in particular the surfactant polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), renders Roundup even more toxic than glyphosate on its own.

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