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Monsanto Bullies EPA on Glyphosate Ruling

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Monsanto Bullies EPA on Glyphosate Ruling
Environmental Working Group

By Violet Batcha

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) is seeking public input on the health impacts of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. But despite mounting evidence, the EPA continues to ignore glyphosate's hazards, and it looks like Monsanto's under-the-table influence may be a reason why.

Monsanto has launched a campaign to pressure the EPA into declaring glyphosate safe. It is terrified of losing the profits from selling this ubiquitous herbicide.


The use of glyphosate on U.S. farmland has exploded in recent years. A recent study found that Americans' exposure to the pesticide has increased fivefold since it was first introduced more than 20 years ago.

As use of glyphosate has increased, so have concerns about its health hazards.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Earlier this year, California added glyphosate to the state's Proposition 65 registry as a chemical known to cause cancer. A 2018 study out of Indiana University linked glyphosate to shorter pregnancy, which can increase a child's risk of chronic diseases later in life.

California's Proposition 65 listing would require cancer warning labels on Roundup. A group of Big Ag lobbyists, backed by Monsanto, has taken action to stop the labeling rule from taking effect.

Meanwhile, unsealed court documents have revealed Monsanto's efforts to collude with the EPA to cover up glyphosate's cancer risks. In lawsuits against Monsanto by cancer victims, an EPA official who was in charge of evaluating the herbicide's cancer risk has been accused of aiding the company's efforts to kill the agency's investigation.

But now we have a chance to make our voices heard. We can urge the EPA not to cave to Monsanto's pressure and to review all the science linking glyphosate to cancer. But we only have until April 30 to flood the EPA with comments.

Make sure EPA chief Scott Pruitt knows you're watching. Tell him to stand up to Monsanto and protect public health.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Environmental Working Group.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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