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California to List Herbicide as Cancer-Causing; Monsanto Vows Fight

California’s Proposition 65 was passed in 1986 and requires that products containing compounds that can cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm are clearly labeled. The list of cancerous compounds covered by Prop 65 is about to receive a long overdue addition. Reuters reports that California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) will add glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular Roundup, starting July 7. 

This is just the latest in a string of setbacks suffered by the GMO giant. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), determined glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, to be a "probable carcinogen" (Class 2A). This determination was based on evidence showing the popular weed killer can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and lung cancer in humans, along with "convincing evidence" it can also cause cancer in animals.

Monsanto has maintained that the classification as a carcinogen is wrong and continues to tout glyphosate (and Roundup) as one of the safest pesticides on the planet. Glyphosate is certainly one of the most used agricultural chemicals of all time. Since 1974, 1.8 million tons of glyphosate have been applied to U.S. fields; two-thirds of that volume has been sprayed in the last 10 years. Farmers sprayed enough glyphosate in 2014 to apply 0.8 pounds of the chemical to every acre of cultivated cropland in the U.S.

It would be easier to believe Monsanto’s claims about glyphosate’s safety if they did not have such a lengthy and suspect track record. Monsanto (and Monsanto-related entities) is now facing at least 700 lawsuits on behalf of people who claim their exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which Monsanto manufactured until the 1970s, caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The company claimed the PCBs it produced were "singularly free of difficulties," yet the U.S. government banned PCBs in 1976 due to their carcinogenic potential.

In 2002, Monsanto was found guilty of decades of "outrageous acts of pollution" in the town of Anniston, Alabama, where it dumped PCBs into the local river and secretly buried the toxic chemical in a landfill. Internal documents revealed Monsanto had full knowledge of the severity of the pollution problem it caused for at least three decades, and decided to ignore it. San Diego has sued Monsanto for polluting the Coronado Bay with PCBs, and Seattle recently became the sixth city to file a lawsuit against the company for PCB pollution.

Then there is the fact that more than 800 people with cancer are suing Monsanto over claims that glyphosate may be responsible. Monsanto will certainly fight both this lawsuit and California’s effort to label glyphosate as cancer-causing with every weapon in their arsenal. For now, new labels will be appearing in California that include a cancer warning on glyphosate-containing weed killers, including Roundup, Ortho Groundclear, KleenUp, Aquamaster, Sharpshooter, StartUp,Touchdown, Total Traxion, Vector and Vantage Plus Max II, and others.

Eating organic as much as possible and investing in a good water filtration system for your home are among the best ways to lower your exposure to glyphosate and other pesticides. In the case of glyphosate, it’s also wise to avoid crops like wheat and oats, which may be sprayed with glyphosate for drying purposes prior to harvest. If you are looking to optimize your health and avoid dangerous chemicals like glyphosate, my nutrition plan is an excellent starting point. It contains leading edge information that can benefit beginners and experts alike. 
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