A federal judge ruled Monday that California needed more evidence before requiring agriculture company Monsanto to label a popular weed-killer as a potential cause of cancer, Politico reports.
California listed the herbicide glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, as a carcinogen last year based on a 2015 study by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The study said the herbicide is “probably carcinogenic,” Reuters reported at the time.
California state regulators required the company add warning labels to products made with glyphosate. Monsanto sued the state on the grounds the regulation interfered with the company’s First Amendment right to free speech.
U.S. District Judge for California’s Eastern District William Shubb said the state had “insufficient evidence” to force Monsanto mark products made with glyphosate, and Shubb issued an injunction blocking California’s enforcement of the regulation until the lawsuit is decided, according to Politico.
When “California seeks to compel businesses to provide cancer warnings, the warnings must be factually accurate and not misleading. As applied to glyphosate, the required warnings are false and misleading,” the ruling states, according to Politico. “Plaintiffs have thus established a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the warning requirement violates their First Amendment rights.”
California was not required to remove glyphosate from a state list of chemical linked to cancer.
The IARC is the only major health organization to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, and more evidence exists both prior and since the IARC’s judgement that says any link between the herbicide and cancer is unclear.
The Environmental Protection Agency, other World Health Organization agencies and regulators have been unable to determine a reliable link between the chemical and cancer.
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