Related: Roundup Cancer Lawsuits
The judge rejected all of Monsanto’s claims. Lawyers for the biotech giant from Missouri had alleged that the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment violated the state’s Constitution by acknowledging that the International Agency for Research on Cancer listed glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Several environmental groups sided with California, while several chemical agriculture industry front groups funded by Monsanto backed…Monsanto.
Glyphosate makes Cancer List, says Judge
Judge Kapetan cited the California Supreme Court’s 1968 decision in Kugler v. Yocum. The judge in that case ruled that a proposed ordinance which would have required one city to match another’s minimum wage for firefighters was not an unconstitutional delegation of its authority.
Judge Kapetan said, “Likewise, in the present case, the … listing mechanism does not constitute an unconstitutional delegation of authority to an outside agency, since the voters and the Legislature have established the basic legislative scheme and made the fundamental policy decision with regard to listing possible carcinogens under Proposition 65, and then allowed the IARC to make the highly technical fact-finding decisions with regard to which specific chemicals would be added to the list.”
Proposition 65 snares Monsanto & Glyphosate
Proposition 65, a state safety initiative approved in 1986, requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive damage. Monsanto fears that listing glyphosate as carcinogenic will erode their market for this powerful chemical and lead to increasing regulation. Besides causing cancer, Roundup with glyphosate has been linked to kidney and liver damage, and more.
Monsanto Loses Quasi-Legislative Act Argument
Monsanto had also alleged that California’s listing mechanism violates due process clauses of both the state and federal constitutions, because Monsanto’s property interest in the Roundup trademark and its reputation will be damaged if glyphosate is listed. Judge Kapetan again disagreed, ruling that the state office’s decision is not subject to due process claims because it’s a quasi-legislative act.
Monsanto Argues Free Speech Violation
The judge also denied Monsanto’s claim that listing glyphosate as carcinogenic would violate the company’s right to free speech under the state and federal constitutions. In this failed argument, Monsanto lawyers claimed that a cancer listing would force Monsanto to include a warning label regarding the possible cancerous effects of glyphosate. Monsanto claimed that such a warning would be “false and misleading,” and would not advance any legitimate or substantial government interest, while ignoring citizen’s right to not be exposed to a carcinogen.
Judge Kapetan agreed with the state office that Monsanto’s First Amendment claim is not ripe for adjudication, because the mere listing of glyphosate does not require Monsanto to provide a warning. Indeed, even with a carcinogenic listing for glyphosate, Monsanto may never be required to give such a warning.
Monsanto Gets an Out
The judge also noted that the hazard assessment office has the discretion to determine that glyphosate poses no significant risk of causing cancer even if glyphosate is placed on the Proposition 65 list.
Monsanto spokesman Cole Waggoner argued that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the European Food Safety Authority and the State of California have determined that glyphosate does not cause cancer.
Said Mr. Waggoner: “The agency’s flawed and baseless proposal to list glyphosate under Proposition 65 not only contradicts California’s own scientific assessment, but it also violates the California and U.S. Constitutions. We disagree with the court’s ruling, and we will continue to fight the decision on the basis of sound science and the law.”
Environmentalists and others opposed to glyphosate point out that the entities Mr. Waggoner cites as sources are compromised by Monsanto and the biotech industry, and the studies used to support glyphosate safety were funded by Monsanto.
Glyphosate makes Cancer List, says Court
The case is Monsanto Co. v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment et al., case number 16 CE CG 00183, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Fresno.
- Roundup More Toxic Than Glyphosate
- Roundup Cancer Lawsuit
- Monsanto Lawsuit
- Monsanto loses $47 Million Verdict
by Matthews & Associates