By Miriam Raftery
March 14, 2017 (San Francisco) – In a victory for consumers, a Superior Judge has blocked a constitutional challenge that Monsanto filed against the state of California. The state has proposed to add glyphosate to the list of chemicals known to cause cancer, as required b Proposition 65. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, an herbicide manufactured by Monsanto.
Glyphosate, a broad-spectrum herbicide, is the most heavily used herbicide in the world, in large part due to the proliferation of Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops that are resistant to its proprietary herbicide Roundup.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, formed by the World Health Organization and funded by the governments of 25 different countries, concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic.” California subsequently issued the notice of intent to list glyphosate as a Proposition 65 chemical based on the IARC finding.
Under Proposition 65, no person doing business may knowingly expose any individual to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without first giving a clear and reasonable warning, and the discharge of such chemical into a source of drinking water is prohibited.
Monsanto filed the lawsuit against California, arguing that it was unconstitutional for California to list glyphosate based on the expert international agency’s conclusion. The Court rejected this, noting that the voters determined that there should be a list of cancer-causing chemicals.
Center for Food Safety intervened in the case last year in order to defend the listing of glyphosate under Proposition 65 and protect the public’s right to know when it is being exposed to cancer-causing chemicals.
Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety, hailed the ruling as a “huge victory for the health and well-being of Californians. Citizens deserve to know when they are being exposed to cancer-causing chemicals, and no corporation should be able to keep it a secret,” she adds.
The court’s ruling is significant for setting precedent for other similar cases that seek to safeguard citizens. The judge held that it is indeed constitutional for the State of California to rely on an independent expert agency to help guide its policy decisions that protect Californians and the environment.
Adam Keats, senior attorney at Center for Food Safety, issued this statement: “Especially at a time when many of those in charge of protecting our food, water and environment are the same people who used to represent the interests of mega-corporations, state and local measures like Prop 65 are the best legal tools we have to protect ourselves, our families, and our environment from harmful chemicals like Monsanto’s glyphosate.”