The California Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will list glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is a non-selective weed killer used on both food and non-food crops.
The announcement came from California EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. The action is required by Proposition 65, a bill California voters enacted in 1986 which requires the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer. California’s EPA announced its “notice of intent,” giving the public until October 5 to comment on the listing. The state regularly updates the list of probable carcinogens, which includes hundreds of chemicals.
“California’s taking an important step toward protecting people and wildlife from this toxic pesticide,” Nathan Donley, staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation nonprofit based in San Francisco, said in a statement. Donley noted that more than 250 millions pounds of glyphosate are used annually in the U.S., adding, “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.”
Under Proposition 65, businesses must provide clear warning before exposing people to chemicals on the list.
Last March, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the French-based cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) listed glyphosate, as a probable human carcinogen. What’s more, last week a new study found that being exposed to small amounts of Roundup weed killer—thousands of times lower than what’s permitted in U.S. drinking water—can damage the liver and kidneys. According to the report, Monsanto is likely to harshly criticize the action.
According to East Bay Express:
The proposed carcinogen label in California is likely to spark intense backlash from Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, which has continued to argue that the chemical is safe — and recently argued that the recent World Health Organization research was deeply flawed.
The Center for Biological Diversity reports that world usage of glyphosate is at an all time high. In the U.S. alone, 300 million pounds of it were sprayed on crops in 2012. And traces of it were found on 90 percent of 300 soybean samples, according to an article in National Geographic.
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Image of spraying pesticides from Shuttershock