Monsanto herbicide listed as "known to cause cancer"
California Environmental Protection Agency proposes new labelling
The California Environmental Protection Agency announced earlier in the month that it will label a chemical used by Monsanto in its Roundup weedkiller as "known to cause cancer."
The herbicide Glyphosate — the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup —
has been re-classified after research from The World Health Organization
recently found that the chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans.
“Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the USA, Canada, and Sweden reported increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustment for other pesticides,” the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—the World Health Organization said about the herbicide. There is also “convincing evidence” that it can cause cancer in laboratory animals.
Recent research has also linked glyphosate to the steep decline of monarch butterflies and another study found that exposure to tiny amounts of the chemical could lead to liver and kidney problems.
The announcement from the EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is officially a "notice of intent" to list this pesticide as carcinogenic, giving the public an opportunity to comment on the proposal by October 5. However the listing does not automatically lead to a ban on the chemical or restrict its use.
Environmental activists still celebrated the announcement, with environmental activist Erin Brockovich writing in a Facebook post:
“Monsanto had a bad day ...… It’s finally the beginning of the end.”
More than 250 millions pounds of glyphosate are used annually in the US alone. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, world usage of glyphosate is at an all-time high tied to the proliferation of genetically engineered crops, such as soy and corn. The Center says glyphosate residues are now on 90 percent of soybean crops, for example.
“It’s nearly impossible for people to limit exposure to this toxin because it is just so widespread. That’s why we need much tighter controls on its use." said Nathan Donley, staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation nonprofit based in San Francisco, in a statement reported on the East Bay express website.
“California’s taking an important step toward protecting people and
wildlife from this toxic pesticide,” Donley added.
Monsanto spokesperson Charla Lord told online news-site Agri-Pulse that:
“glyphosate is an effective and valuable tool for farmers and other users, including many in the State of California. During the upcoming comment period, we will provide detailed scientific information about the safety of glyphosate and work to ensure that any potential listing will not affect glyphosate use or sales in California.”
Read more about Monsanto and its dark past >