California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has listed Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer products as a chemical known to the State of California as known to cause cancer.
The chemical has been added to the state’s Proposition 65 list which is comprised of approximately 900 chemicals and substances that are carcinogenic, or cause birth defects or other reproductive or developmental harm.
The listing takes effect on July 7. The enforcement date for the listing which governs when violations of the statute may be enforced may commence is one year after the listing date.
In the interim Monsanto has the option of labeling its Roundup products with a warning compliant to the recently revised warning regulations that take effect next year, or by reformulating its products, or withdrawing its products from the California market.
The company will most likely continue to fight OEHHA’s listing as it has already appealed the ruling rendered by Fresno Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan-Culver that determined OEHHA can add glyphosate to the Proposition 65 list.
The controversy began in March 2015, when the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) declared that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen in its monograph on the chemical.
OEHHA then issued a notice of intent in September 2015 to list the chemical based on IARC’s determination, and in turn, Monsanto sued the agency to block its proposed listing.
The level of controversy escalated when documents suggesting that the company paid to have two studies on the potential carcinogenicity of glyphosate ghost written by Monsanto staffers the company appears to have had used in that capacity previously.
The documents were unsealed by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria who is presiding over a multi-district class action lawsuit that alleges that Monsanto knew its Roundup Products were carcinogenic for decades and did nothing to mitigate the risk.
Approximately 800 individuals that allege that their use of glyphosate caused them to contract non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Many of the class members are farmers or farm workers from California, however the company is facing litigation in many jurisdictions.
A recent article that recently appeared in the Los Angeles Times posed the question of whether consumers will ignore warning labels on Monsanto’s Roundup Products if they decide to label their products?
While it is difficult to predict what consumers will do in this specific situation, there are some important differences about the Roundup products that are unique to them, as opposed to other products that have received unwanted attention under Proposition 65.
- · It is a very high-profile product that has been in the news for the past two years;
- · There have been allegations of scientific fraud and collusion with federal regulators that may cause consumers to question the safety of the products;
- · There have been more than 800 claims filed in the courts that the chemical glyphosate causes Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma; and
- · Some of the plaintiffs in the multi-district litigation have succumbed to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma during the pendency of the cases.