Early in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), determined glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was to be listed a “probable carcinogen” (Class 2A). The recommendation was based on evidence showing the popular weed killer was linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and lung cancer in humans,as well as convincing evidence that the pesticide can also cause cancer in animals.
Monsanto maintains the classification is wrong and continues to claim glyphosate (and Roundup) is one of the safest pesticides on the planet. However, Reuters reported Monsanto has now been slapped with a growing number of lawsuits alleging they long knew that Roundup’s glyphosate could harm human health.
… ‘We can prove that Monsanto knew about the dangers of glyphosate,’ said Michael McDivitt, whose Colorado-based law firm is putting together cases for 50 individuals. ‘There are a lot of studies showing glyphosate causes these cancers.’” In fact, internal Monsanto documents reveal they knew over 30 years ago that glyphosate caused adenomas and carcinomas in rats.
Now California environmental officials intend to add glyphosate to their Proposition 65 list of cancer-causing chemicals. Established in California in 1986, Proposition 65 requires consumer products with potential cancer-causing ingredients to bear warning labels. Most companies reformulated their product ingredients to avoid warning labels altogether, and not just in California.
Monsanto, however, is trying a different strategy. They filed formal comments with the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment saying the plan to list glyphosate as a carcinogen should be withdrawn because the claims had no merit.
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 carcinogenic."
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.