California regulators are facing a possible challenge to the Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”) classification of the weedkiller glyphosate, best known as Monsanto’s Roundup.
Under California’s Prop 65 regulation, products that include any chemicals known as carcinogens must bear blatant label warnings about the ingredient inclusion and the health risk.
California ruled to include glyphosate under Prop 65 after the World Health Organization’s 2015 announcement that the chemical was likely a possible carcinogen.
But the Environmental Protection Agency says the best-selling weedkiller is not likely to cause cancer, the agency announced Monday, in a stark contrast to conclusions made by scientific panels and agencies in Europe. The EPA is looking to extend registration for the product into 2019.
“Environmentalists worldwide have fought to encourage governments to ban or strictly limit use of the [herbicide],” the Los Angeles times noted.
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“The controversy over the chemical is tied to opposition to genetically modified crops,” notes the Times. “Monsanto (which is merging with agrochemical giant Bayer) has patented versions of several major commodity crops that have been altered to resist its patented Roundup weed killer.”
The move to challenge the carcinogen categorization is motivated by pressure from Monsanto, says the Center for Biological Diversity.
“The only way the EPA could conclude that glyphosate poses no significant risks to human health was to only analyze industry studies and ignore its own guidelines when estimating cancer risk,” Nathan Donley, a senior scientist for the group, told the Times.
Now the best-selling herbicide in the world, glyphosate is used on more than 200 crops spanning more than four million acres just in California. The chemical is considered to be an endocrine disruptor, causing metabolic and reproductive issues. It's also recently been linked to an increased number of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
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