Thursday, November 16, 2017

Calif. requires warnings that glyphosate (Roundup) may cause cancer; Monsanto and farm groups sue

"Monsanto Co. and U.S. farm groups sued California on Wednesday to stop the state from requiring cancer warnings on products containing the widely used weed killer glyphosate, which the company sells to farmers to apply to its genetically engineered crops," Tom Polansek reports for Reuters.

Glyphosate, which has been used by farmers for more than 40 years, is the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup; Monsanto also sells "Roundup Ready" corn, wheat and soybean seeds that are genetically modified to live through direct spraying of the product. The lawsuit says required testing of crops for glyphosate could push up food prices, and Roundup Ready seeds would be less attractive to California farmers if the government requires warnings that it may cause cancer. It also protests the warnings because it says sellers of products containing glyphosate would be forced to spread false information.

A large-scale study published last week found no concrete link between glyphosate exposure and cancer, but said there was a possible, and worrisome, association between glyphosate use and acute myeloid leukemia.

"The controversy is an additional headache for Monsanto as it faces a crisis around another herbicide based on a chemical known as dicamba that was linked to widespread U.S. crop damage this summer," Polansek reports. "The company, which is being acquired by Bayer AG for $63.5 billion, developed the product as a replacement for glyphosate following an increase of weeds resistant to the chemical."

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