Monsanto Loses California Court Case, Must Label Roundup a Cancer Threat
Weed-killer Roundup to get cancer warning after chemical giant Monsanto loses California court battle
Judge ruled Friday that California officials can label Roundup a cancer threat
Farmers in the state use the product on 250 kinds of crops
Maker Monsanto has fought the label, insisting its weed-killer poses no risks
A French group classifies main chemical as ‘probable human carcinogen’
But EPA says glyphosate has ‘low toxicity’ and doesn’t restrict its use
Monsanto sells $3.5 billion in crop control products annually
Company plans to fight the judge’s tentative ruling
By Associated Press
Published: 20:25 EST, 27 January 2017 | Updated: 12:45 EST, 28 January 2017
California can require Monsanto to label Roundup, its popular weed-killer, as a possible cancer threat, a judge tentatively ruled Friday.
If it carries out the proposal, California would be the first state to order such labeling for the weed-killer, which is used by farmers and home gardeners worldwide.
Monsanto had sued the nation’s leading agricultural state, saying California officials illegally based their decision for carrying the warnings on an international health organization based in France.
The chemical giant has insisted that its product poses no risk to people.
Monsanto attorney Trenton Norris argued in court Friday that the warning labels would have immediate financial consequences for the company.
He said many consumers would see the labels and stop buying Roundup.
‘It will absolutely be used in ways that will harm Monsanto,’ he said.
After the hearing, the firm said in a statement that it will challenge the tentative ruling.
Critics take issue with Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, which has no color or smell.
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, the most populated U.S. state took its first step in 2015 to require the warning labels.
St. Louis-based Monsanto contends that California is delegating its authority to an unelected foreign body with no accountability to U.S. or state officials in violation of the California Constitution.
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.
Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan still must issue a formal decision, which she said would come soon.