Monsanto Files Lawsuit to Stop California From Listing Glyphosate as Known Carcinogen
Last September, California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) issued plans to add glyphosate to the state's list of chemicals known to cause cancer, making it the first state in the country to do so. The state agency's decision came after the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC), the World Health Organization's cancer research arm, infamously declared that glyphosate was a "possible carcinogen" in March 2015.
Monsanto has long maintained the safety of their flagship product and has vehemently denied glyphosate's link to cancer. The agribusiness giant has also demanded a retraction of the IARC's report.
Monsanto is now suing OEHHA and the agency's acting director, Lauren Zeise, in California state court, citing a 2007 study by OEHHA that concluded the chemical was unlikely to cause cancer, Reuters reported.
"The IARC classification of glyphosate is inconsistent with the findings of regulatory bodies in the United States and around the world, and it is not a sound basis for any regulatory action," Phil Miller, Monsanto's vice president of regulatory affairs, told Reuters.
@MonsantoCo just sued @California for trying to protect people from #glyphosate https://t.co/yfcO8VXGlC https://t.co/swEP8IfedX— Nathan Donley (@Nathan Donley)1453426449.0
OEHHA's effort to list glyphosate as a known carcinogen 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 IARC be listed as known to cause cancer.
The case, known as Monsanto Company v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, et al, case number 16-CECG-00183, was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Fresno.
According to the lawsuit, the St. Louis-based company is accusing OEHHA of delegating law-making authority to "an unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable, and foreign body without providing intelligible principles or procedural safeguards to define the boundaries of that authority or prevent its arbitrary exercise."
Monsanto claims that OEHHA has violated the company's right to procedural due process under the California and United States Constitutions.
The lawsuit claims that listing glyphosate under Proposition 65 would violate Monsanto's right to free speech and compel it to affix "false and/or misleading" statements to its products: "If glyphosate is added to the Proposition 65 list, Monsanto will be required to provide a 'clear and reasonable warning' on its glyphosate-based products that states that the products contain a chemical 'known to the state to cause cancer.'" Monsanto argues that this label would damage its reputation and violate its First Amendment rights.
Listing glyphosate as a carcinogen would cause irreparable injury to Monsanto and the public, and would require Monsanto to spend significant sums of money to re-label and re-shelf its products, the lawsuit said.
OEHHA has yet to issue a response to the lawsuit. Scientists and advocacy groups, however, have spoken out against the litigation.
Monsanto's grounds for suing California over its cancer warning for #glyphosate include that it violates Monsanto's First Amendment rights!— GMWatch (@GMWatch)1453476399.0
“Monsanto's decision to sue California and attack the most well-respected cancer research agency in the world, the IARC, is absurd," Dr. Nathan Donley, scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, told EcoWatch via email. “Why would California use anything other than the gold standard to inform its public health decisions?"
Roundup, which generated Monsanto $4.8 billion in 2015 revenue, is the world's most popular herbicide. The chemical is applied onto "Roundup Ready" crops that are genetically modified to resist applications of the spray.
In September, two separate U.S. agricultural workers slapped Monsanto with lawsuits, alleging that the company caused their cancers. They also argued that the company “falsified data" and “led a prolonged campaign of misinformation" to convince the public, farm workers and government agencies about the safety of the Roundup.
#Monsanto Sued by Farm Workers Claiming #Roundup Caused Their Cancers http://t.co/NRhlrUScrR @GMOjournal #GMO http://t.co/l0qMxc5qaW— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1443625562.0
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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