If you’re anybody but Monsanto, you’ll be happy to hear this news.
For the first time ever, glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s signature herbicide RoundUp, will likely be required to carry a warning label that lists it as a potential carcinogen in the state of California. It’s a huge blow against the agricultural giant, as agricultural companies and farms across California will begin to reduce or eliminate their usage of the weed killer altogether, similar to what has begun to happen in Europe already. That decline in usage could spread across the United States as a result, significantly cutting the market of one of the world’s most notorious toxins.
This label requirement is likely to occur following the final ruling of a judge in a lawsuit filed by Monsanto against the state of California after the state announced its intent to add glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer under Proposition 65 in 2015. The preliminary ruling, which ruled in favor of the state being able to list the chemical, was released recently by the ruling judge.
Monsanto filed the lawsuit in the first place because the company felt that California’s listing of glyphosate under Prop 65 was unconstitutional since it was based on findings founded by a respected international agency (International Agency for Research on Cancer, or the IARC) that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen.” By relying on an international body, Monsanto argues that California is “delegating its authority to an unelected body not accountable to the United States.”
However, the European Commission utilized the same report to reject a renewal of Monsanto’s license to use Roundup on crops in the EU, and may phase the herbicide out entirely within the next 18 months.
Glyphosate, of course, is the main ingredient of RoundUp, which Monsanto uses to spray all of its crops to kill weeds. It’s also well-known that glyphosate has many toxic effects in animals and humans. Considering Monsanto owns roughly 90 percent of the world’s soybean seed and supplies a ton of other agricultural products, chances are that you’ve probably consumed something sprayed by RoundUp recently.
By labeling RoundUp as a potential carcinogen, it could influence agricultural companies that use the herbicide to shift away from it, removing a possible cancer-causing agent from California’s food supply. California is the chief producer of over 66 different crops and accounts for about eleven percent of the nation’s agricultural supply, so removing glyphosate from those crops would be HUGE for the safety of our food supply.
This is a great first step by one of the nation’s leaders in agriculture, and it hopefully sets a precedent that the rest of the country will follow. It’ll be great to see glyphosate removed from our global food supply.