In a Major Victory for Public Health, a California Appellate Court Rules Against Monsanto, Upholding the State’s Listing of Glyphosate as a Chemical Known to Cause Cancer
April 19, 2018 – Fresno, California – A California Appellate Court handed Monsanto Co. a legal defeat today, affirming that the State of California is within its legal bounds to list glyphosate as a chemical known to cause cancer in accordance with Proposition 65. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.
California is now permitted to move forward with warning labels on products that contain glyphosate and prohibit businesses from discharging glyphosate into public waterways.
“Fundamentally, appellants’ argument is that a state’s delegation of its lawmaking authority is an inappropriate violation of the republican form of government when that delegation is to a foreign agency,” the judicial panel wrote in its 43-page ruling. “Yet there is no question, given the extensive analysis of the United States Constitution … that the state has authority to delegate legislative authority under long-settled principles consistent with republican forms of government.”
CA Glyphosate Prop 65 Ruling Upholds the State’s Reliance on Independent Science
In March of 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) performed a review of the available literature and concluded that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” Under the State of California’s Labor Code listing mechanism of Prop 65, chemicals, substances or agents identified by IARC as probable human carcinogens must be listed as known to cause cancer. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) decided to formally adopt IARC’s findings in September of 2015.
Monsanto and its allies filed a lawsuit challenging OEHHA’s decision to list glyphosate under Prop 65. According to the lawsuit, California illegally delegated legislative decision making to an unaccountable foreign agency (IARC).
In 2017, California Superior Court of Fresno County Judge Kristi Kapetan ruled against Monsanto, saying OEHHA was within the law in relying on IARC to list glyphosate under Prop 65. Monsanto filed an appeal in response.
Today, the Fifth District Court of Appeal of Fresno County maintained California has the authority to list glyphosate as a Prop 65 chemical known to the State to cause cancer. The three-judge panel was unanimous in the CA glyphosate prop 65 ruling.
“[IARC’s] reputation and authority on the world stage—and relatedly its funding—is dependent, in part, on its work being accepted as scientifically sound,” the CA glyphosate Prop 65 ruling said. That sentiment is shared by numerous other countries around the world that rely on IARC’s independent expertise.
“The IARC Monographs have made, and continue to make, major contributions to the scientific underpinning for societal actions to improve the public’s health.” – More than 100 that work on carcinogen identification, from Pierce et al., IARC Monographs: 40 Years of Evaluating Carcinogenic Hazards to Humans (June 2015)
Roundup Cancer Attorneys Applaud Appellate Court’s Decision
“Californians have the right to know that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen,” says Roundup cancer attorney R. Brent Wisner. “We are pleased the Appellate Court rejected Monsanto’s attempt to keep Californians in the dark.”
Wisner and the law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman represent hundreds of individuals from California and across the nation who are suing Monsanto, alleging exposure to Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). According to the IARC Monograph on glyphosate, the cancer most associated with glyphosate exposure is (NHL).
One of Baum Hedlund’s California clients, Teri McCall, lost her husband Jack to a rare and aggressive form of NHL in December of 2015. She filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Monsanto, alleging her husband Jack would never have used Roundup on the couple’s farm in Cambria, California if he would have known about the link between glyphosate and cancer.
“My husband was very conscious of the dangers of chemicals,” says McCall. “His misfortune was taking Monsanto’s word that Roundup was safe.”
“I don’t want to see any more unsuspecting people die from cancer because they didn’t know exposure to Roundup poses a danger to their health. Glyphosate needs to be on California’s Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer so that people can make informed decisions for themselves about the risks they are willing to take…I don’t believe my husband would have been willing to take that risk.” – Teri McCall