Oct 20 A plan by California environmental
officials to list a commonly used herbicide as cancer-causing
should be withdrawn, Monsanto Co told state regulators
on Tuesday, saying California's actions could be considered
illegal because they are not considering valid scientific
The formal comments were filed by Monsanto with the state's
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), part
of California's environmental regulatory office, on the final
day the state accepted public comments about its intention to
list glyphosate as a cause of cancer.
Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup
herbicide as well as many other herbicides.
The OEHHA gave notice in September that it intended to list
glyphosate under Proposition 65, a state initiative enacted in
1986 to inform residents about cancer-causing chemicals. State
officials said the action is required after the World Health
Organization's (WHO) cancer research committee in March
classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.
The WHO's research unit said it reviewed many scientific
studies, including two out of Sweden, one out of Canada and at
least three in the United States before making its
Roughly 8,000 comments were filed regarding the state
action, according to officials, including those from Monsanto.
Listing glyphosate as a cancer cause "has the potential to
deny farmers and public agencies the use of this highly
effective herbicide," Monsanto said in its public filing.
"Global regulatory authorities... agree that glyphosate is not
Others applauded California's effort to list glyphosate as a
cause of cancer. On Monday, several farming, public health and
environmental groups sent a letter to OEHHA supporting the
listing, and said that rising use of glyphosate presents a
danger to people and animals.
Glyphosate was introduced in 1974 and is the key ingredient
in Monsanto's branded Roundup line of herbicides, as well as
hundreds of other products. It is registered in more than 160
countries, and has been embraced by farmers, homeowners and
others because of its efficacy in killing tough weeds.
But many scientific studies have raised questions about the
health impacts of glyphosate and consumer and medical groups
have expressed worries about glyphosate residues on food.
Since the WHO classification, the New York-based mass-tort
firm of Weitz & Luxenberg and other firms representing U.S. farm
workers have filed lawsuits against Monsanto, accusing the
company of knowing of the dangers of glyphosate for decades.
Monsanto has said the claims are without merit.
(Reporting By Carey Gillam; Editing by Bernard Orr)