Monday, March 20, 2017 by Vicki Batts
If there’s one thing to like about California, it’s the fact that Proposition 65 is ruffling Monsanto’s feathers quite a bit. Prop 65 first came into existence in 1986 — just over 30 years ago. Over 800 chemicals have been added to the list since its induction 1987. The primary intentions of the bill are to protect Californians and give them the ability to make informed purchasing choices, as well as to prevent California companies from discharging listed substances into the water supply.
Under Prop 65, the Golden State has set out to require all glyphosate-containing products (namely, Monsanto’s star herbicide, Roundup) to bear a label indicating that it is a probable carcinogen. (RELATED: Learn more about this toxic herbicide at Glyphosate.news)
Unsurprisingly, this effort has been met with staunch criticism and push-back from the agricultural giant. Two years ago, the UN and World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) authored a report that found glyphosate was a probable carcinogen. Soon after, Monsanto famously launched a campaign to discredit the IARC’s conclusion.
Their efforts did not get them very far, at least in the state of California. Soon after the IARC report was released, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) proposed that glyphosate should be added to the Prop 65 list of carcinogenic substances.
In September 2015, the state agency stated, “The law requires that certain substances identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) be listed as known to cause cancer under Proposition 65.”
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling weedkiller, Roundup. Roundup has grown to be one of the most heavily used herbicides in the world. It’s also designed to be used with “Roundup Ready” crops, which are also produced by Monsanto.
Monsanto has no intentions of going silently along with the OEHHA. Instead, they have claimed that adding glyphosate to the Prop 65 list based on the IARC’s findings is somehow “unconstitutional.” The biotech giant claims that the OEHHA had given law-making authority “to an unelected and non-transparent foreign body that is not under the oversight or control of any federal or state government entity.” But as California lawyers argued, the IARC’s scientific determinations are widely considered to be the “gold standard in carcinogen identification.”
Fortunately, the courts do not seem to agree with Monsanto and on March 10, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan ultimately ruled against Monsanto’s challenge. Kapetan reportedly wrote that none of the corporation’s challenges to the state’s provision were viable. While dismissing the case, the judge noted “there does not appear to be any chance that Monsanto or [its co-plaintiffs] can amend their complaints to state valid claims under any of the theories they can rely upon.”
In January, Monsanto pledged to fight tooth and nail and continue to challenge the proposed ruling, calling the proposal to add glyphosate to the Prop 65 list “flawed” and “baseless.” The corporate giant is surely not happy with the latest ruling from Judge Kapetan.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has spoken out on the topic as well, stating that Monsanto is not going to go out of business just because of a warning label. “Why does this company not want these farm workers to know that this chemical may endanger them and may endanger their families,” he questioned at a press conference.
That is a very good question indeed, especially as Monsanto’s unscrupulous efforts at keeping glyphosate on the market continue to come to light. Recently, it was revealed that the biotech firm had recruited scientists to author papers defending the safety of their flagship product, and even colluded with the EPA to keep the true toxicity of their product under wraps.
Now that is what one might call “unconstitutional.”