In a Milestone, California Lists Monsanto’s Glyphosate as a Carcinogen

EWG Applauds Action, But Says State Should Go Further to Protect Kids

SAN FRANCISCO –  In an action with national and global implications, today California officially listed glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, as a chemical known to cause cancer under the state’s Proposition 65 law. EWG applauded the action, but urged the state to go further and set much lower exposure limits to protect the health of children and fetuses.

Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world, must now carry a label warning California consumers that it can cause cancer in people. This marks the first time a governmental authority anywhere in the world has issued a regulation based on Roundup’s potential carcinogenicity.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment still must set a limit for acceptable daily exposure to the herbicide. Scientists at the agency have proposed a limit of 1.1 milligrams a day – 127 times less than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s legal allowance for the average-sized adult.

“With this action today listing glyphosate as a cancer-causing chemical, California continues to lead the nation in implementing laws to protect human health and the environment,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “This is a significant blow to Monsanto, but a victory on behalf of the public, which could set the stage for similar actions in other states across the nation.”

EWG believes the state should do more and set a much lower limit for glyphosate – no more than 0.01 milligrams per day – which would protect all Californians, including children.

“While we applaud today’s action, we do believe the state can take additional steps to further protect its most vulnerable populations from this dangerous chemical,” said Cook.

A new analysis by EWG scientists found the legal limit for glyphosate should be roughly 100 times lower than California’s proposed level to be effective in safeguarding children’s health. The analysis argues that the risk level for glyphosate should include a tenfold safety factor to account for glyphosate exposures to children and developing fetuses.  

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