Weed Killer Roundup Contains Hazardous Chemical Under Prop 65

Monsanto is facing as slew of litigation over Roundup, the herbicide it touted for decades as safe for humans and animals.

In March 2016, the wife of a deceased farmer hit Monsanto with a Roundup lawsuit alleging that the herbicide they marketed as safe caused her husband to develop a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and die in late 2015. The plaintiff also says that their six-year-old dog got sick and died after her husband applied Roundup to their fields. The chemical company has been the subject of hundreds of other similar lawsuits alleging Roundup contains a chemical that presents a risk of cancer.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. The Roundup cancer lawsuits allege that Monsanto concealed the cancer risk of the chemical, but the use of glyphosate has exploded over the past 20 years. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that revealed glyphosate present in adults in Southern California rose by a huge amount from 1993 until 2016.

Further, pediatricians and other researchers say that Roundup and other glyphosate weed killers cause other health problems, particularly in children. Researchers have linked the chemical to autism, Celiac disease, intestinal problems, kidney disease and failure, and DNA damage.

Additionally, it is not only farmers and those in farming communities who are exposed to glyphosate. The chemical is commonly found in food where the farmer used Roundup or another glyphosate-based herbicide.

In response, California included glyphosate on its list of hazardous chemicals under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Prop 65. The federal Environmental Protection Agency regulates the chemical, but California’s law would dramatically lower the threshold of allowable glyphosate.

Starting in July of 2018, companies will be required to include a warning label for products, like Roundup, that contain glyphosate. Monsanto has attempted to stop the State from implementing the rule, but lost in court.

“To be clear,” stated Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy, “[t]he underlying science behind glyphosate is not at question…Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides have a long history of safe use and have been studied in real-world application, including the largest study ever of the actual use of pesticides by farmers.”

Monsanto contends that California and environmental protection and cancer advocacy organizations have “cherry picked” documents out of context to support the labeling of the hazardous chemical.

Hazardous Chemicals and Prop 65

Under Proposition 65, California publishes a list of chemicals known to cause health problems and updates the list each year. The list is updated by various committees who continually evaluate chemicals for their effect on human health, including links to cancer, reproductive health, and birth defects. There are currently more than 800 chemicals listed under Prop 65 as dangerous to human health.

Companies who use chemicals listed under Prop 65 are required to warn their consumers before the consumer is exposed. Companies can also remove or reduce the presence of the chemical to allowable levels under the law. If a company fails to do so, they can be held accountable by State agencies or members of the public.

If you are concerned about exposure to Roundup or other hazardous chemical, contact the attorneys at Bradley/Grombacher. They are currently investigating Prop 65 claims.