Monsanto wins support from 11 US states in California cancer dispute
Monsanto Co has won support from eleven US states in its attempt to stop California from requiring cancer warnings on products containing glyphosate, ratcheting up a legal fight over the company’s popular weed killer.
Missouri, home to Monsanto’s headquarters, along with other farm states including Iowa and Indiana, said in court documents on Tuesday that the warnings would be misleading because there is no definite link between glyphosate and cancer.
Midwest businesses would need to include warnings on glyphosate products if California requires them or stop selling such goods because they may end up in the Golden State, according to the states’ filing.
California added glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, to its list of cancer-causing chemicals in July 2017 and will require products containing the chemical to carry warnings by July 2018.
The state acted after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded in 2015 that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic.”
“The mandate imposes confusing and potentially inconsistent obligations on non-resident businesses, creating a strong incentive to abandon glyphosate markets altogether,” the states’ filing said.
For more than 40 years, farmers have applied glyphosate to crops, most recently on soybeans that Monsanto genetically engineered to resist the herbicide. Roundup is also sprayed on residential lawns and golf courses.
The controversy in California is a headache for the company as it faces a crisis around another herbicide based on a chemical known as dicamba that has been linked to US crop damage.