Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Judge Blocks California From Putting Cancer Warning on Roundup

Health + Wellness
Judge Blocks California From Putting Cancer Warning on Roundup
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.

A group of climate activists that have been cycling from the North of the country in stages to draw attention to the climate case are arriving to the Court of Justice on the day that the climate lawsuit against Shell starts in The Hague, on December 1st, 2020. Romy Arroyo Fernandez / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Representing more than 17,000 claimants who support climate action, the international organization Friends of the Earth on Tuesday opened its case against fossil fuel giant Shell at The Hague by demanding that a judge order the corporation to significantly reduce its carbon emissions in the next decade.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Eat Just, Inc. announced that its cultured chicken has been approved for sale in Singapore as an ingredient in chicken bites. The company has developed other cultured chicken formats as well. Eat Just

As concern mounts over the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, Singapore has issued the world's first regulatory approval for lab-grown meat.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Wildfires are seen burning out of control on November 30, 2020 on Fraser Island, Australia. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services / Getty Images

The world's largest sand island has been on fire for the past six weeks due to a campfire, and Australia's firefighters have yet to prevent flames from destroying the fragile ecosystem.

Read More Show Less
A plane sprays pesticide over the Wynwood neighborhood in the hope of controlling and reducing the number of mosquitos, some of which may be capable of spreading the Zika virus on Aug. 6, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A national nonprofit revealed Tuesday that testing commissioned by the group as well as separate analysis conducted by Massachusetts officials show samples of an aerially sprayed pesticide used by the commonwealth and at least 25 other states to control mosquito-borne illnesses contain toxic substances that critics call "forever chemicals."

Read More Show Less
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plants a tree as part of Trees That Count, a project to help New Zealand make a positive impact on climate change, on June 30, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

The government of New Zealand declared a climate emergency on Wednesday, a symbolic step recognizing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predictions of substantial global warming if emissions do not fall.

Read More Show Less