CA EPA Becomes First U.S. Agency To Declare Roundup Causes Cancer

| Educate!

Above Photo: The yields of organic farms, particularly those growing multiple crops, compare well to those of chemically intensive agriculture, according to a new UC Berkeley analysis. (Photo by Kristin Stringfield)

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The state of California announced today that as of July 7 it will list glyphosate, the main ingredient in the pesticide Roundup and the most common pesticide in the world, as a known human carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65.

Today’s decision by the California Environmental Protection Agency was prompted by the World Health Organization’s finding that glyphosate is a “probable” human carcinogen. The WHO’s cancer research agency is widely considered to be the gold standard for research on cancer.

“California’s decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity and a former cancer researcher. “The U.S. EPA now needs to step up and acknowledge that the world’s most transparent and science-based assessment has linked glyphosate to cancer.”

The state was cleared to move forward with its decision earlier this year to list glyphosate after a court denied Monsanto’s efforts to postpone the listing pending the outcome of the pesticide company’s legal challenge of the decision.

Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in the United States as well as the world, and is the most widely used pesticide in California, as measured by area of treated land.

An analysis by the Center, available in English and Spanish, found that more than half of the glyphosate sprayed in California is applied in the state’s eight most-impoverished counties. The analysis also found that the populations in these counties are predominantly Hispanic or Latino, indicating that glyphosate use in California is distributed unequally along both socioeconomic and racial lines.

Earlier this year a report released by a federal scientific advisory panel concluded that the pesticides office at the U.S. EPA failed to follow its own guidelines when it found last year that glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship pesticide Roundup — is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.

Recent court documents revealed that the chair of the federal EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee on glyphosate was in contact with Monsanto, providing insider information on the potential carcinogen listing, allowing the company to launch a campaign against it.

The committee chair promised to thwart the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ review of glyphosate’s safety, saying that if he was successful he deserved a medal. The department never did review glyphosate’s safety, and the U.S. EPA continues to dispute the WHO’s cancer research agency’s findings.

“This is a remarkable day for California, which forged ahead and did the right thing on glyphosate even while special-interest politics hamstring our federal government from taking action to protect people from this dangerous pesticide,” Donley said.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


  • rkean

    Thank you California! Now on to Medicare for All. As Roseann DeMoro has proclaimed, the Dem Party is the obstacle. Dem arrogance and inability to identify with the 80% has to be overcome within the party or via a new party.

  • rgaura

    The toxic brew Roundup does not only cause cancers. It is implicated in 35 degenerative diseases, including diabetes, alzheimer´s, autism, and obesity. Glyphosate was first patented as a chelator (used to remove mineral buildup inside industrial pipes) and as an antibiotic. Consumed in even very small amounts, this chemical cocktail destroys the beneficial bacteria in the gut. It also blocks the shikomate pathway in the gut bacteria, so the body cannot produce aromatic amino acids, which do work essential for life. As so many hormones are produced in the gut wall, gut dysbiosis also causes depression, and mental disorders. We need a moratorium on any use of glyphosate based herbicides. This is just the beginning.

  • John Kretzschmar

    “[Tony] Mazzocchi believed that corporate capitalism could not contain, let alone solve, the occupational safety and health crisis. In his view there was a fundamental conflict between profits and productivity on the one hand, and health on the other. In fact, Mazzocchi believed that cancer and other workplace-related diseases were the unavoidable by-products of the drive for profits…” The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor: The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi by Les Leopold, 2008