Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

California is required under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65, to publish a regularly updated list of chemicals thought to cause cancer or birth defects," Newsweek noted. (Photo: Die Grünen Kärnten)

In 'Remarkable' Rebuke to Monsanto, California Adds Roundup to Cancer Watchlist

"California's decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides."

Jake Johnson

In a move celebrated by scientists and activists, California on Monday announced it would add glyphosate—the active ingredient in the Monsanto-produced weed killer Roundup—to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

"California's decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides."
—Nathan Donley, Center for Biological Diversity

The decision, made by California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), was reportedly precipitated by the World Health Organization's classification of glyphosate as a "probable carcinogen" in May of 2015.

"California is required under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65, to publish a regularly updated list of chemicals thought to cause cancer or birth defects," Newsweek reported.

Monsanto has been quick to respond to the move; as USA Today's Emily Bohatch noted, Monsanto is appealing a ruling on a case it brought against California last year, when the OEHHA first attempted to add glyphosate to its list of cancer-causing agents. 

In response to the agrochemical giant's legal maneuvering, activists and scientists have insisted that Monsanto's motive is profit alone—not scientific accuracy or the health of the public—and hailed California's decision as a step in the direction of justice.

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) noted in a press release on Monday that a recent analysis "found more than half of the glyphosate sprayed in California is applied in the state's eight most-impoverished counties."

"The analysis also found that the populations in these counties are predominantly Hispanic or Latino," CBD continued, "indicating that glyphosate use in California is distributed unequally along both socioeconomic and racial lines."

Nathan Donley, a former cancer researcher and a senior scientist at the CBD, called California's move "remarkable" and congratulated the state for standing up to "special-interest politics [that] hamstring our federal government from taking action to protect people from this dangerous pesticide."

"California's decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides," Donley concluded. "The U.S. EPA now needs to step up and acknowledge that the world's most transparent and science-based assessment has linked glyphosate to cancer."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Congress Must Act': Bernie Sanders Demands End of Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

"We must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country. And if there aren't 60 votes to do it, and there are not, we must reform the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes."

Jon Queally ·


Human Rights Defenders Warn Biden Border Policy 'Quickly Transforming Into Trump 2.0'

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden now being accused of "using racist, xenophobic tropes about immigrants to weaponize Covid-19 against migrants and asylum-seekers."

Jon Queally ·


'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·


'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo