Monsanto Gains Support of 11 States in California Cancer Dispute

Monsanto Co (NYSE:MON) has gained the support of 11 states in its fight to stop California from requiring the company to place cancer warnings on products containing glyphosate.

Monsanto, the National Association of Wheat Growers and several other agricultural groups have filed a federal lawsuit with the support of these 11 states.

Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and several other farming states said in court documents that adding such labels would be misleading because there is no definite link between cancer and glyphosate.

If California requires Monsanto to include cancer labels on their glyphosate products, businesses in the Midwest would also have to include the warnings (or stop selling their products), as their goods may wind up in California.

The Golden State added glyphosate, the main ingredient in the Roundup herbicide, to their list of cancer-causing chemicals in July 2017. Products containing this chemical will need to carry warnings by July 2018.

News of the state support for Monsanto was disappointing for health and environmental advocates.

California’s move to add glyphosate to its list of cancer-causing chemicals came after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer found that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic.”

Farmers have been spraying Roundup on crops for more than four decades, and the product is also used on lawns and golf courses.

Recently, Roundup has been used on more prevalently on soybean crops genetically engineered by Monsanto to resist its herbicide.

The controversy with Roundup comes as the state is facing a major crisis surrounding another herbicide: dicamba. Dicamba has been linked to significant U.S. crop damage.

Monsanto developed the dicamba product after weeds developed resistance to glyphosate.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment said previously that it stands by its decision to include glyphosate on its list of cancer-causing agents under Proposition 65.

David Roe, primary author of Proposition 65, said the rule “is 30 years old and for every one of those years there have been strenuous attempts to kill it on the ground that it’s different from other states.” Roe says those attempts have always failed.