Monsanto lost its battle to prevent California from requiring the biotech giant to put a cancer warning label on its Roundup Ready weed killer. The corporation insists the primary ingredient in the chemical spray, glyphosate, is safe. European studies indicate the active ingredient could pose harm to both humans and essential pollinator, honeybees.
Superior Court Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan dismissed all of Monsanto’s challenges to her earlier ruling about cancer labels being placed on Roundup Ready, the Los Angeles Times reports. The biotech chemical corporation was suing the largest agriculture producing state in the union to prevent the warning label mandate from being approved.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) March 15, 2017
Glyphosate was introduced as a chemical in weed killers by Monsanto in 1974. The odorless and colorless chemical is used in Monsanto products in more than 160 countries. Farmers and citrus growers in California use Roundup Ready on more than 250 different crops. Monsanto also produced the now banned substance known as DDT and Agent Orange. In 1983, Monsanto and lead scientist, Robert Fraley, created the first genetically modified plants for use in agriculture.
California regulators cited the glyphosate findings issued by the French-based International Agency for Research on Cancer in its Monsanto lawsuit. The highly regarded World Health Organization-affiliated research agency reclassified the glyphosate found Monsanto’s Roundup Ready as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” the Genetic Research Project notes. The researchers reviewed incidents of exposure to Roundup Ready from primarily agricultural studies conducted in the United States, Canada, and Sweden since 2001.
Two years ago Monsanto lost a lawsuit related to the poisoning French farmer, Paul Francois. An appeals court in Lyon, France upheld an earlier ruling from 2012 where a lower court judge found Monsanto responsible for poisoning the French farmer. Francois reportedly suffered from neurological problems after using the Lasso brand weed killer, Fox News reports. The farmer inhaled the chemical herbicide after it was sprayed on crops.
Monsanto phased out its Lasso product in America several years before the lawsuit filed by the French farmer. Lasso was first manufactured by the biotech company during the 1960s. It was created to kill broadleaf weeds and other weeds typically found on farms. France, Great Britain, and Canada have all banned the sale of the Monsanto product.
Glyphosate has also been blamed for the alarming and massive reductions in the bee population since 2005. Many studies have been conducted to research the reasons behind colony collapse disorder. Honeybee populations have dropped more than 30 percent in the past decade. Approximately 85 percent of the food humans eat or feed livestock, is pollinated by honeybees.
An Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) report from the United Kingdom states insecticide chemicals commonly used in the United States are killing honeybees. The chemical, which includes Monsanto’s glyphosate, are routinely sprayed on rapeseed (canola), corn, sugar beets, and various other high-yield crops.
The Environmental Protection Agency has placed no restrictions on glyphosate, but organic growers and environmental groups have long pushed for a ban on the Monsanto chemical. The EPA claims glyphosate has a “low toxicity” level but still advises individuals to wait 12 hours before entering an area where it has been sprayed.
An EPA official in charge of reviewing the cancer risk possibly posed by Monsanto’s Roundup Ready has been accused of helping the biotech giant kill the study, Bloomberg reports. Since leaving a post as the manager of the Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide division last year, Jess Rowland has become a key figure in more than 20 lawsuits. The legal filings claim the EPA official helped Monsanto prevent warnings being issued to both customers and regulators about glyphosate possibly causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
During a phone call with a Monsanto official in April of 2015, Jess Rowland reportedly bragged about the prowess it would take to prevent the glyphosate warnings from being issued.
“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland said. A federal judge from San Francisco who is overseeing the glyphosate lawsuits said the EPA official had a “highly suspicious” relationship with Monsanto.
At the time of the phone conversation, Monsanto’s glyphosate products were being investigated by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The agency is part of the U.S. Health and Human Service Department. The EPA committee Rowland was in charge of ultimately found insufficient evidence to prove glyphosate causes cancer.
Trenton Norris, Monsanto’s attorney, said the California cancer warnings on Roundup Ready might hurt the company financially and drive away customers.
What you think about the concerns being raised about Monsanto’s allegedly cozy relationship with the EPA and the glyphosate cancer warnings?
[Featured Image by Defotoberg/Shutterstock]