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California Becomes First State To List Popular Weed Pesticide As Carcinogen

REUTERS/Charles Platiau

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Thomas Phippen Associate Editor
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California will list the main ingredient in the weed-killing pesticide Roundup as a chemical that causes cancer, a state office announced Monday.

It will be the first time a state has officially listed the chemical as carcinogenic.

California will add glyphosate, the main ingredient in agro-chemical giant Monsanto’s weed spray, to a “list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer,” the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced Monday.

The glyphosate listing will take effect July 7, delayed from the OEHHA’s initial March 28 date due to a legal challenge from the company Monsanto, and will require Monsanto and any company selling glyphosate to put warning labels on packages.

Monsanto will continue to fight the listing, calling California’s decision “unwarranted on the basis of science and the law,” Reuters reports.

Roundup is used by farmers on orchards, crops and vineyards, and is widely available for domestic and commercial landscaping use.

Since the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization called glyphosate “probably carcinogenic” in 2015, Monsanto has struggled against environmentalist groups and regulatory agencies to keep the product on the market.

The science is all but settled on the issue. The Environmental Protection Agency recently published, then removed a report which claimed glyphosate posed no risk to humans. (RELATED: EPA Quickly Takes Study Offline Showing No Evidence Weed Killer Causes Cancer)

Monsanto is fighting to keep glyphosate off European lists of possibly carcinogenic chemicals, with some success. The European Chemical Agency (ECHA), which regulates chemicals on the market in Europe and recommends policy to the European Union, ruled in March that “the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen.”

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