In an important step toward paving the way toward GMO-labeling in the United States, California's Office of the Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced on September 4th its "intent to list" glyphosate - the main ingredient in chemical giant Monsanto's flagship product Roundup – as known to "cause cancer under the [criteria of the] Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986."
If you drill down into the language and look at the fine print, after many years of industry claims that glyphosate was harmless to human or animal health, this action by the OEHHA warrants a sea of change and may be the first step in establishing legal precedent for protecting the health of the public and the environment.
California's Safe Drinking Water Act, or Proposition 65, made it a law for any persons - business or company - using carcinogenic substances identified by the IARC, must provide warnings of the associated risks. Back in March of 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer-research of arm of the World Health Organization based in Lyon, France, published its findings on glyphosate. To quote that groundbreaking reports
"IARC concludes that malathion and glyphosate are classified in Group 2A (“probably carcinogenic to humans”) and that tetrachlorvinphos and parathion are classified in Group 2B (“possibly carcinogenic to humans”). IARC concludes that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals for tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, and glyphosate (Guyton et al., 2015.)
That's great news for California, but what exactly is glyphosate? Stay tuned for our next article on why we should care about the use of this dangerous substance.