Fresno Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan has finalized her tentative ruling against Monsanto, which allows California’s Office of Environmental Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to proceed with its proposed listing glyphosate, the active ingredient in the company’s Roundup brand of herbicides, as a chemical "known to the state of California to cause cancer" under Proposition 65.
On January 21, 2016, Monsanto filed a Declaratory Relief lawsuit against CAL/EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to block the agency's notice of intent to list glyphosate as a Prop 65 carcinogen.
OEHHA issued the notice after the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report on glyphosate that classified the chemical as a "probable human carcinogen." The publication of the IARC monograph triggered OEHHA’s duty to list glyphosate as a Prop 65 carcinogen and require the company to warn consumers about the possible danger associated with glyphosate exposure starting one year after the listing takes effect.
Judge Kapetan ruled that none of Monsanto’s objections to her tentative ruling were viable because California law allows the state to designate an outside entity for fact-finding tasks and because inclusion on the Proposition 65 list doesn’t require Monsanto to provide a warning label. Judge Kapetan observed that "OEHHA can exempt businesses from providing a warning if the chemical poses no significant risk of cancer."
In response to the ruling, Monsanto issued a statement that reiterated that OEHHA’s determination was “flawed and baseless” in a statement nearly identical to the one issued after Judge Kapetan’s tentative ruling on January 27.
The company vowed to overturn the listing on the basis of science and the law, but it faces far more serious problems in the very near future. Stay tuned!