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Glyphosate (RoundUp) Update
Suit Filed against Monsanto in California


Glyphosate was first synthesized in 1950 as a potential pharmaceutical compound, but its herbicidal activity was not discovered until it was resynthesized and tested in 1970 by Mansato, who brought it to market in 1974. Glyphosate C3H8NO5P kills plants by interfering with the synthesis of the phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan amino acids. Glyphosate products are sold worldwide under numerous trade names:
Abundit Extra; Credit; Xtreme; Glifonox; Glyphogan; Ground-Up; Rodeo; Roundup; Touchdown; Tragli; Wipe Out; and Yerbimat.

Monsanto is suing California to try to keep the state from adding Roundup to the Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive damage.

Meanwhile, on Jan. 28, 2016, attorneys from Miller Firm announced the filing of a lawsuit against Monsanto in the Superior Court of California for Riverside County "on behalf of California residents who developed the cancer linked to RoundUp following significant exposure."

On Sept. 4, 2015, the California's Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) issued a notice of intent to list glyphosate as a carcinogen, the first state to do so. That decision was prompted by the March 2015 research findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on a group of insecticides and herbicides, including glyphosate.* The report on glyphosate alone runs 92 pages In that monograph, IARC states:

"There is limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. A positive association has been observed for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

"There is sufficient evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. Glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans."

The IARC reached these conclusions based on the view of 17 experts from 11 countries who met in Lyon, France, to assess the carcinogenicity of 5 organophosphate pesticides. IARC estimates that Roundup generates $6 billion in annual sales, and that over 80% of GM crops worldwide are engineered to be grown with the herbicide.

The EPA declared glyphosate a carcinogen back in 1985, but later reversed that decision. The chemical is up for review by EPA this year.

IARC notes it has no regulatory role, but is using the report to put pressure on regulators and the biotech industries that profit from the pesticides. IARC says that since its report, a number of countries have been looking at possible bans on glyphosate-based herbicides. Sri Lanka announced a complete ban, and "supermarkets across Europe have removed glyphosate-based herbicides from their shelves," according to IARC.

Monsanto disputes the IARC findings and claims "numerous regulatory agencies and independent scientists have evaluated glyphosate over the course of its more than 40 years of use and have concluded that glyphosate does not present a carcinogenic risk to humans." Monsanto says the California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment tested glyphosate in 1997 and 2007 and found it did not present a cancer risk to humans.

The California lawsuit is filed on behalf of residents Brenda and James Huerta. The couple have lived on a commercial sod farm in Riverside County for several years, "which exposed them frequently to RoundUp." Brenda was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2013.

* 21 December 2015. Volume 112: Some Organophosphate Insecticides and Herbicides: Diazinon, Glyphosate, Malathion, Parathion, and Tetrachlorvinphos.

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July 22, 2019, 8:46 pm PDT

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