Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Judge Blocks California From Putting Cancer Warning on Roundup

Health + Wellness
A ruling that permanently bars California from affixing a cancer label to Roundup is separate from ongoing civil suits that claim glyphosate caused blood cancers. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

A federal judge in California ruled on Monday that the state cannot put a cancer warning on the label of the popular herbicide Roundup, as The Associated Press reported.


The world's most widely used weed killer has faced nearly 125,000 lawsuits by plaintiffs who claim their non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other forms of blood cancer were caused by repeated exposure to Monsanto's signature product, which is now owned by the German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG.

Since Bayer bought Monsanto, the spate of lawsuits and their legal fees have weighed on Bayer and made the company lose 40 percent of its value. To try to contain the damage, Bayer made a verbal agreement to settle 50,000 to 85,000 cases in May, awarding plaintiffs anywhere from a few thousand dollars to a few million, according to Fortune.

Those lawsuits have been aided by a 2015 finding by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which said that glyphosate, the chemical in Roundup, is a probable human carcinogen.

Despite that categorization, U.S. District Judge William Shubb called California's cancer warning misleading and said the state's label is not backed up by regulatory findings, according to Reuters.

Regulators around the world have determined Roundup, or glyphosate, to be safe, even though the IARC labeled it a probable carcinogen. That includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Late last year, when a judge reduced an $80 million jury award, the EPA filed papers in court that fully and unequivocally supported Bayer's claim that glyphosate does not cause cancer, as EcoWatch reported.

Since the EPA and its European counterparts have not found a connection between glyphosate and cancer, the judge said the state could not require the company to put a cancer warning on its label, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Shubb said the state, under Supreme Court rulings, cannot require a private company to change its label or say anything about its products unless the statement is "purely factual and non-controversial," as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The ruling, which permanently bars California from affixing a cancer label to Roundup, is completely separate from the ongoing civil suits that claim glyphosate caused blood cancers, according to Reuters.

So far, juries in three trials have ordered the company to pay billions after concluding that the product did cause cancer. Plaintiffs alleged that Bayer manipulated studies and deceived the scientific community to make glyphosate seem safer than it actually is, according to Reuters.

Bayer has consistently denied those claims and has insisted that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and it got help on Monday when Shubb said, "the great weight of evidence indicates that glyphosate is not known to cause cancer," as The Associated Press reported.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the jury trials that have awarded cancer patients over $200 million argued that the EPA's insistence that Roundup does not cause cancer is spurious since there was evidence the company had unduly influenced the federal agency and had "ghost-written" purported research studies on the product's safety.

In the case, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra proposed to reword the label warnings to include both the IARC and EPA findings and a reference to a website for further discussion, but the judge unequivocally rejected that compromise, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Becerra's office said it would review the ruling and plan its next step.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The 2006 oil spill was the largest incident in Philippine history and damaged 1,600 acres of mangrove forests. Shubert Ciencia / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jun N. Aguirre

An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.

Read More Show Less
People visit Jacksonville Beach on July 4, 2020 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Public health experts have attributed Florida's growing coronavirus caseload to people gathering in crowds. Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

Florida broke the national record for the most new coronavirus cases reported in a single day on Sunday, with a total of 15,299.

Read More Show Less
Marco Bottigelli / Moment / Getty Images

By James Shulmeister

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz

Read More Show Less
Luxy Images / Getty Images

By Jo Harper

Investment in U.S. offshore wind projects are set to hit $78 billion (€69 billion) this decade, in contrast with an estimated $82 billion for U.S. offshore oil and gasoline projects, Wood Mackenzie data shows. This would be a remarkable feat only four years after the first offshore wind plant — the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island — started operating in U.S. waters.

Read More Show Less
Giacomo Berardi / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Joe Leech

The human body comprises around 60% water.

It's commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).

Read More Show Less

Trending

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less