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."

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 need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Sanders Says Congress Must Combat GOP Attacks on Voting Rights in 'Any and Every Way'

"What Republican legislatures and governors are doing in the most disgraceful way imaginable is to try to deny people of color, young people, poor people the right to vote."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


Advocates Cheer VA Move to Offer Trans Vets Gender Confirmation Surgery

"Every veteran deserves to have access to the health care that they need, and the VA is working to make sure that includes transgender veterans as well."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


'Bolsonaro Out!': Massive Protests as Brazil's Covid-19 Death Toll Tops 500,000

"We are on the street to defend our country, our people, our lives, our culture, our education, our economy. We can no longer die of Covid."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Summit Participants Embrace 'Vaccine Internationalism' to End Pandemic

"Our goal is simple: to end the pandemic as quickly as possible by securing Covid-19 vaccines for all," says the coordinator of Progressive International's four-day virtual summit.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


As Iran Elects New President, Experts Urge Biden to Rejoin Nuclear Deal, Lift Sanctions

"The Biden administration must remain resolute and seek a break from the disastrous conditions that helped contribute to this result."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·