During 2014, farmers sprayed almost a pound of glyphosate – the active ingredient in brand name Roundup weed killer – on every acre of cultivated farmland in the United States. It is by far the most widely used herbicide in America, according to recent data findings. However, its popularity could pose potential health risks. By the end of January, California’s Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) cleared a major hurdle in its efforts to list glyphosate as a human carcinogen, according to U.S. News & World Report. A state court judge ruled against Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, saying the state can require it to label its weed killer as a possible cancer threat.
Glyphosate, a phosphonate compound that has no color or smell, has been linked to cancers, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and other health and environmental concerns, prompting Cal/EPA’s action. However, Monsanto has insisted consistently that it poses no risk to humans. The company claims the proposed label would have “immediate financial consequences for the company.” Monsanto sued California saying officials illegally based their decision for the warning label on the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) classification of glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” IARC is a branch of the U.N. World Health Organization based in Lyon, France.
The suit claimed that California violated the state constitution by delegating authority to an unelected foreign body. However, the state maintained that IARC is the “gold standard” for identifying human carcinogens and is used by other states and the federal government as a source for health information. Cal/EPA is waiting until the judge officially issues a formal decision, but if the proposed label is carried out as expected, California would be the first state in the U.S. to order the label be placed on Roundup. In that event, Monsanto, which is expected to challenge the ruling, would have a year to comply.
Source: U.S. News & World Report
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