Roundup Weed Killer Added to California’s List of Cancer-Causing Chemicals
Residents of California may be thinking twice about the best way to deal with their weeds, as the state has added Roundup weed killer to its list of cancer-causing chemicals due to the active ingredient glyphosate.
California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (also known as Proposition 65) was enacted in 1986 to address the state’s growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. The list is updated annually to include new chemicals that are known to cause cancer, birth defects, or similar harm. Since its inception, the list has grown to include approximately 800 different harmful chemicals.
The state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assesment (OEHHA) announced earlier this year that Roundup would be added to the list. This addition to Proposition 65 follows an unsuccessful attempt to block the listing in court by Round Up’s manufacturer, Monsanto. Now that Roundup is listed as a known carcinogen under Proposition 65, companies selling the chemical will be required to add warning labels to the packaging. In addition, if glyphosate is being sprayed at levels deemed “unsafe” by the OEHHA, additional warnings must be issued. Monsanto is currently appealing the court’s ruling.
Glyphosate has earned something of an infamous reputation in recent years, due to its inclusion in popular herbicides like Roundup weed killer. The chemical can saturate crops prior to harvest, and detectable levels often remain once the products reach store shelves. Even products labeled as “all natural” have been found to be contaminated by glyphosate.
Consumers and others who have been exposed to Roundup are understandably worried for their health and safety, with numerous liability lawsuits currently pending in California and St. Louis. This concern reached a head in March 2017, when unsealed court documents revealed internal Monsanto emails suggesting that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that would later be attributed to neutral, third party academics.
These unsealed documents also showed that a senior official within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offered to suppress an independent review of glyphosate that would have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Another document exposed internal disagreements within the EPA over its own safety assessment.
California’s decision to include Roundup weed killer on its list of cancer-causing chemicals may help to keep its residents informed, but pesticides and herbicides containing glyphosate are heavily used throughout the country without such warnings. Wexler Wallace is currently investigating claims that glyphosate can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and that manufacturers failed to warn consumers about the alleged risks.