California is fighting in the courts to be the first state to require Monsanto to label its popular weed-killer Roundup as a possible cancer hazard.
Monsanto said California officials illegally based their decision for carrying the warnings on an international health organization based in France. The corporation's attorney Trenton Norris argued in court that the labels would have immediate financial consequences for the company stating many consumers would see the labels and stop buying Roundup. But the judge ruled against Monsanto's claim in January 2017.
The chemical is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which says it has “low toxicity” and recommends people avoid entering a field for 12 hours after it has been applied. But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a Lyon, France-based branch of the U.N. World Health Organization, classified the chemical as a “probable human carcinogen.”
Monsanto introduced it in 1974 as a way of killing weeds while leaving GMO crops and other plants intact. The glyphosate formula is sold in more than 160 countries and farmers in California use it on 250 types of crops.
After the hearing, St. Louis-based Monsanto issued a statement that it will challenge the tentative ruling contending that California is delegating its authority to an unelected foreign body with no accountability to U.S. or state officials in violation of the California Constitution.