California judge blocks cancer warning labels on glyphosate

California judge blocks cancer warning labels on glyphosate
Feb 27, 2018

Glyphosate will still be listed under Proposition 65

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

A California judge has blocked a motion to list glyphosate as a possible carcinogen.

Judge William Shubb ruled in favor of an agricultural coalition, which includes Monsanto, the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America, by placing a preliminary injunction on California’s request to place cancer warning labels on glyphosate.

But glyphosate will still be listed on Proposition 65 (Prop 65), which requires the state to publish a list of chemicals that may cause cancer. Typically, any products containing even trace amounts of the carcinogen must have a warning label.

But Shubb denied the labeling request citing a lack of concrete evidence.

“The required warning for glyphosate does not appear to be factually accurate and uncontroversial because it conveys the message that glyphosate’s carcinogenicity is an undisputed fact, when almost all other regulators have concluded that there is insufficient evidence that glyphosate causes cancer,” he said in his ruling yesterday.

California’s movement to place glyphosate on Prop 65 dates back to July 2017 and is tied to a 2015 report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that concluded glyphosate is a possible carcinogen.

But placing the cancer warning labels on glyphosate based solely on one organization’s research could confuse consumers, Shubb said.

“It is inherently misleading for a warning to state that a chemical is known to the state of California to cause cancer based on the finding of one organization … when apparently all other regulatory and governmental bodies have found the opposite,” including the Environmental Protection Agency, he said in his ruling.

Agricultural groups are satisfied with Judge Shubb’s decision, but the fight to fully remove glyphosate from Prop 65 will continue, said Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers.

“We are pleased Judge Shubb granted our request, which is the first step in our efforts to prevent California from forcing farmers, growers and manufacturers to place false and misleading labels on agricultural products,” he said in a statement today. “California’s erroneous Prop 65 listing of glyphosate is not based on data, facts or science and we look forward to continuing to make our case to the court.”