California Becomes First State to Label Monsanto's Roundup as a Carcinogen
In a first for the country, California's Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) has issued plans to list glyphosate—the toxic active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—as known to cause cancer.
— Center 4 Food Safety (@TrueFoodNow) September 6, 2015
According to a "notice of intent" issued last week by the Cal/EPA's California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the effort falls under California's Proposition 65, in which the state is required to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.
The same law, otherwise known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also requires that certain substances identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—the World Health Organization's cancer arm—be listed as known to cause cancer.
“Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the USA, Canada, and Sweden reported increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustment for other pesticides,” the IARC said about the herbicide. There is also “convincing evidence” that it can cause cancer in laboratory animals.
It appears that California is the first state in the country to make this assessment about the controversial chemical, according to Dr. Nathan Donley, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.
"As far as I'm aware, this is the first regulatory agency in the U.S. to determine that glyphosate is a carcinogen," he explained in an email to EcoWatch. "So this is a very big deal."
Roundup, Monsanto's flagship herbicide, is sprayed on crops all over the world and is the most popular weed-killer in the U.S. The agribusiness giant maintains the safety of their product and has demanded the WHO retract their report.
A day before California's EPA made the announcement, Monsanto also tweeted this link:
Do you have questions about glyphosate? We’re answering the most common questions here: http://t.co/liwzBzdwCm pic.twitter.com/qLof0WxVfs — Monsanto Company (@MonsantoCo) September 3, 2015
Despite the company's claims, many years of scientific research have linked Roundup to a slew of health and environmental problems, as well as the record decline of monarch butterflies. In June, France banned the sale of Roundup in garden centers amid concerns of toxicity.
It's unclear if states will follow in California's footsteps, but the Golden State specifically has the legislative edge on labeling laws.
"If any other states do end up determining that glyphosate is a carcinogen, I don't think that they would have the labeling requirements that Prop 65 gives the state of California," Donley said. "And it's the labeling requirements that really give consumers the information they need to make an informed decision on whether or not to purchase a specific product."
Besides glyphosate, three other chemicals—tetrachlorvinphos, parathion and malathion—were also listed as cancer-causing by the Cal/EPA. The agency's notice of intent aims to add these chemicals within 30 days to the approximately 800 chemicals that are known to cause cancer, RT reports.
Sam Delson, a spokesman for the OEHHA, told Agri-Pulse that businesses with 10 or more employees that use chemicals on this list must provide a “clear and reasonable warning” of the product's potential dangers.
The listing does not restrict use or sales of the specified substances, and the public is allowed to submit comments regarding the proposal through Oct. 5.
Monsanto spokesperson Charla Lord told Agri-Pulse that "glyphosate is an effective and valuable tool for farmers and other users, including many in the State of California. During the upcoming comment period, we will provide detailed scientific information to OEHHA about the safety of glyphosate and work to ensure that any potential listing will not affect glyphosate use or sales in California."
Consumer advocates have approved of the move from the Cal/EPA.
“Since The World Health Organization's research arm recently declared glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans, listing it under Prop 65 and requiring it to be labeled as such is a logical next step,” Rebecca Spector, west coast director at Center for Food Safety, told EcoWatch.
Environmental activist Erin Brokovich also wrote in a Facebook post last week, "Monsanto had a bad day yesterday ... It's finally the beginning of the end."
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
By Matthew Savoca
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.
Climate change has been called the biggest challenge of our time. Last year, scientists with the United Nations said we basically have 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5ºC to avoid planetary catastrophe.
Amid a backdrop of rising global carbon emissions, there's a real case for pessimism. However, many scientists are hopeful of a way out.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words and actions continue to resonate on the 90th anniversary of his birth.
As the country honors the life and legacy of the iconic civil rights leader today, we are reminded that the social justice and the climate movements are deeply connected.
By Marlene Cimons
Most Europeans know the great tit as an adorable, likeable yellow-and-black songbird that shows up to their feeders in the winter. But there may be one thing they don't know. That cute, fluffy bird can be a relentless killer.
The great tit's aggression can emerge in gruesome ways when it feels threatened by the pied flycatcher, a bird that spends most of the year in Africa, but migrates to Europe in the spring to breed. When flycatchers arrive at their European breeding grounds, they head for great tit territory, knowing that great tits—being year-round European residents—know the best nesting sites.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.