California To Add Monsanto's RoundUp To List Of "Cancer-Causing" Herbicides

Back in March, we highlighted official evidence divulged in unsealed court documents which seemingly revealed collusion between senior executives at the $60 billion ag-chemicals powerhouse, Monsanto, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to kill "inconvenient" research which suggested that Monsanto's key herbicidal product, RoundUp, might be literally killing people. 

We've shared the entire sordid tale below but here is one of the key emails from Jess Rowland, the EPA's Deputy Division Director for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, to a Monsanto executive regarding a piece of damaging research that was pending release:

"If I can kill this I should get a medal." 

Apparently those rather unsettling court documents were all that California needed for the state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to add RoundUp's key ingredient, Glyphosate, to a list of chemicals known to cause cancer.  Per Reuters:

Glyphosate, an herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto Co's (MON.N) popular Roundup weed killer, will be added to California's list of chemicals known to cause cancer effective July 7, the state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said on Monday.


Environmental groups cheered OEHHA's move to list the chemical.


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

And while agriculture may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of California, many would be shocked to learn that over half of the United States' vegetables, fruits and nuts are grown in the Golden State.


Of course, California's decision doesn't mean that Monsanto has to stop selling their carcinogenic products, they just have to add a tiny label to the bottom of canisters letting consumers know that the product they're holding could kill them.

Listing glyphosate as a known carcinogen under California's Proposition 65 would require companies selling the chemical in the state to add warning labels to packaging. Warnings would also be required if glyphosate is being sprayed at levels deemed unsafe by regulators.


Users of the chemical include landscapers, golf courses, orchards, vineyards and farms.


Monsanto and other glyphosate producers would have roughly a year from the listing date to re-label products or remove them from store shelves if further legal challenges are lost.

Meanwhile, Monsanto has vowed to fight on...because colluding with the EPA to corrupt/kill 'independent' studies simply wasn't a strong enough effort.

Monsanto's appeal of the trial court's ruling is pending.


"This is not the final step in the process, and it has no bearing on the merits of the case. We will continue to aggressively challenge this improper decision," Scott Partridge, Monsanto's vice president of global strategy, said.

That said, we're quite certain that California's well trained and licensed Agricultural Pest Control Advisors (PCA's) would never allow herbicides to be applied in an unsafe manner, right?  Afterall, they're 'licensed' and we hear the process to obtain that license is quite 'rigorous'. They would never, for example, spray toxic chemicals during high winds which would allow them to float 4.5 miles and strike a bunch of unsuspecting workers with sudden vomiting attacks and bloody noses...oh wait, that actually did happen

Whatever, it's probably fine.

* * *

For those who missed it, here is our original note from back in March:

If we had a dime for every kooky, left-wing theory we've heard alleging some vast corporate conspiracy to exploit the treasures of the earth, destroy the environment and poison people with unknown carcinogens all while buying off politicians to cover their tracks, we would be rich.  The problem, of course, is that sometimes the kooky conspiracy theories prove to be completely accurate.   

Lets take the case of the $60 billion ag-chemicals powerhouse, Monsanto,  and their controversial herbicide, Roundup as an example.  For those who aren't familiar, Roundup Ready is Monsanto’s blockbuster weedkiller, credited with transforming U.S. agriculture, with a majority of farm production now using genetically modified seeds resistant to the chemical. 

For years the company has assured farmers that their weed killing product was absolutely safe to use.  As proof, Monsanto touted the approval of the chemical by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

That said, newly unsealed court documents released earlier today seemingly reveal a startling effort on the part of both Monsanto and the EPA to work in concert to kill and/or discredit independent, albeit inconvenient, cancer research conducted by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)....more on this later.

But, before we get into the competing studies, here is a brief look at the 'extensive' work that Monsanto and the EPA did prior to originally declaring Roundup safe for use (hint: not much).  As the excerpt below reveals, the EPA effectively declared Roundup safe for use without even conducting tests on the actual formulation, but instead relying on industry research on just one of the product's active ingredients.

"EPA's minimal standards do not require human health data submissions related to the formulated product - here, Roundup.  Instead, EPA regulations require only studies and data that relate to the active ingredient, which in the case of Roundup is glyphosate.  As a result, the body of scientific literature EPA has reviewed is not only primarily provided by the industry, but it also only considers one part of the chemical ingredients that make up Roundup." 

Meanwhile, if that's not enough for you, Donna Farmer, Monsanto's lead toxicologist, even admitted in her deposition that she "cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer" because "[w]e [Monsanto] have not done the carcinogenicity studies with Roundup."



And just in case you're the super skeptical type, here is Farmer's actual email, from back in 2009, which seems pretty clear:

"you cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer..we have not done carcinogenicity studies with "Roundup".



And while the revelations above are quite damning by themselves, this is where things get really interesting. 

In early 2015, once it became clear that the World Health Organization's IARC was working on their own independent study of Roundup, Monsanto immediately launched their own efforts to preemptively discredit any results that might be deemed 'inconvenient'.

That said, Monsanto, the $60 billion behemoth, couldn't possibly afford the $250,000 bill that would come with conducting a legitimate scientific study led by accredited scientists.  Instead, they decided to "ghost-write" key sections of their report themselves and plotted to then have the independent scientists just "sign their names so to speak."

"A less expensive/more palatable approach might be to involve experts only for the areas of contention, epidemiology and possibly MOA (depending on what comes out of the IARC meeting), and we ghost-write the Exposure Tox & Genetox sections...but we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak."



Finally, when all else fails, you call in those "special favors" in Washington D.C. that you've paid handsomely for over the years. 

And that's where Jess Rowland, the EPA's Deputy Division Director for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and chair of the Agency's Cancer Assessment Review Committee, comes in to assure you that he's fully exploiting his role as the "chair of the CARC" to kill any potentially damaging research..."if I can kill this I should get a medal." 



All of which begs the question of whether the D.C. swamp is just too large to be drained.


French Bloke Took Red Pill Tue, 06/27/2017 - 19:30 Permalink

"...they just have to add a tiny label to the bottom of canisters letting consumers know that the product they're holding could kill them...."As though that would make any difference at all. People don't read the small print and a high % probably can't even read. FFS sake, I really don't think this will make much difference. Anyone with half an ounce of intelligence already knows the danger.I do agree with the stand of California in this instance, but I doubt it will change anything...

In reply to by Took Red Pill

TwelveOhOne GUS100CORRINA Tue, 06/27/2017 - 18:15 Permalink

I read a few days ago that someone is suing Home Depot (I think) because they advertise '2" x 4" boards' but they're in actuality shorter.I think that's a great idea -- regardless of what the "standards" are, if it's called 2" x 4" and its dimension are less than that, then it is false advertising.Reminds me of the hard drive manufacturers, who decided to use SI-prefixes instead of binary ones, so "giga" was a billion, rather than a power of 2, which made the resulting "500 GB hard drive" appear larger since it's really only around 450 GB in binary terms.  Slimy, that move, which resulted in stupid terms like "gibibyte" to describe the actual power-of-two value.Am considering my own lawsuit, against gasoline vendors.  At least here in my state (MA), the lower two tiers of gasoline have some ethanol in them.  I'm pretty sure it's 10% in the 87 octane version, none in the 93 version, and the 89 is generally a blend of the two (so they only need two tanks in the ground), which would then have around 5%.This is sold as "gasoline" but it is not!  Seems someone should be quicker than me, the 2" x 4" issue bothered me for quite some time but I never thought to file suit against anyone.  The gasoline issue causes many small engines to break!  Cars can deal with it, but if you're using an old chainsaw or lawnmower, you'll want to "splurge" for the 93 octane, "real gas" version.  (There's a "broken window fallacy" in here as well; repair shops' business increased after the ethanol was added, but it in no way improved the overall economy!)If you want to sell "gas+10% ethanol" then change your fucking signage to indicate that.  Don't continue to say "we sell gas here" when it should really be called raw, unboned, real dead frog if you want to avoid prosecution!  (Sorry, slipped into Constable Clitoris mode just then.)

In reply to by GUS100CORRINA

general ambivalent TwelveOhOne Tue, 06/27/2017 - 19:42 Permalink

Hmm, don't know if this could work. It's 2x4 because that is the rough dimensions, and they are selling the planed version. There is supposed to be a standard and Home Depot takes off an extra 1/2" or so on 2x10s, but I think it'd be a difficult suit.What's interesting though is that it is almost impossible to buy the rough versions any more. My father built his house using trees he cut and the local mill turned them into rough lumber. But this is illegal now because you need stamped wood. And, of course, all the stamped wood is trash surfaced down and supplied by the major mills.Will be interesting though if they can show that the lumber is being planed down beyond the standards (and this is widely known) and they actually win the suit. That's a lot of lumber from that shithole over the years.

In reply to by TwelveOhOne

general ambivalent TwelveOhOne Tue, 06/27/2017 - 19:44 Permalink

Hmm, don't know if this could work. It's 2x4 because that is the rough dimensions, and they are selling the planed version. There is supposed to be a standard and Home Depot takes off an extra 1/2" or so on 2x10s, but I think it'd be a difficult suit.What's interesting though is that it is almost impossible to buy the rough versions any more. My father built his house using trees he cut and the local mill turned them into rough lumber. But this is illegal now because you need stamped wood. And, of course, all the stamped wood is trash surfaced down and supplied by the major mills.Will be interesting though if they can show that the lumber is being planed down beyond the standards (and this is widely known) and they actually win the suit. That's a lot of lumber from that shithole over the years.

In reply to by TwelveOhOne

Krungle Mr. Universe Tue, 06/27/2017 - 18:17 Permalink

Kills bees? Check. Destroys gut microbiome leading to a whole range of chronic health problems? Check. Causes cancer in mammals? Check. Lets not forget the recent study demonstrating that pesticides and herbicides can effect epigenetic information, leading to persistent health problems for at least three generations AFTER the orignal ancestor was exposed. Even if glysophate was eliminated totally tomorrow, the health effects would linger in human populations for at least 3 more generations. If we had a government that worked for the people they'd have bombed Monsanto yesterday and hunted down anyone who works there like they are ISIS scum. 

In reply to by Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe Krungle Tue, 06/27/2017 - 23:46 Permalink

Then add in all the anti-biotics that you get from consuming factory farmed Beef. This also destroys gut bacteria, which allows the the sugar loving germs to take over causing obesity, inflamation and other disorders. All together, do you really wonder why so many have Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, MS and other neurological disorders now? Some people are either very sensitive, or received an above threshold dose. However it's good enough for Monsanto that it only affects some people...

In reply to by Krungle

TBT or not TBT Mr. Universe Tue, 06/27/2017 - 21:28 Permalink

There's a health nerd in Silicon Valley saying glyphosate changes the balance of microorganisms in the soil in favor of molds, which then produce tons of mycotoxins, which the crops take up, delivering these poisons to our mitochondria. Molds and bacteria evolved in warfare with each other with the primary weapon of molds being toxins. But our mitochondria are, the story goes, ancient bacteria basically, and so are easily damaged by mycotoxins.

In reply to by Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe TBT or not TBT Tue, 06/27/2017 - 23:40 Permalink

Soil, dirt, whatever you call it is a living colony of microorganisms and other fauna that is a world unto it's own. Modern farming has destroyed that balance and treats the land as a base for it's chemical engineering based on fertilizers, which we never needed until after WW2 when the MIC needed to unload it's excess chemicals. Instead of working with the land they wanted to dominate it into submission. Instead they killed the land and the denizens that destroy are all that is left. It's a deadly spiral and just shows how far we have fallen.

In reply to by TBT or not TBT

Mr. Universe BeanusCountus Tue, 06/27/2017 - 23:31 Permalink

I have a decent garden, many fruit trees and lotsa chickens, all on a 10K ft lot. Out here on county land things are a bit looser. Chickens are huge here now, but alas you need a permit to sell eggs, but to tell you the truth the cost for a small producer can never compete with the factory farms, yet my organic bug fed chicken eggs are better than Costco's.

In reply to by BeanusCountus

decon NoDebt Tue, 06/27/2017 - 15:58 Permalink

California's Proposition 65 is a joke.  The threshold is so low to add a chemical to the list it's often meaningless. I'm a small farmer (6 acres irrigated) in a subtropical area.  I grow a very large variety of crops. I must deal with a year-round weed season, many of which are very pernicious.  I use glyphosate carefully and very judiciously.  A huge increase in the use of machinery and fuel would be only a marginally viable option for even modest acreages such as mine. I advertise as conventionally grown and when customers ask about my chemical use I tell them exactly what and how I use it and I rarely have anyone decline to buy.

In reply to by NoDebt

BarbaricRelic decon Tue, 06/27/2017 - 16:28 Permalink

As with all pesticides, if you follow the label correctly the risk to people drops tremendously. Glyphosate constitutes nearly half of all herbicides used in the entire world and the reason for that is it's highly effective. Glyphosate toxicity, acute and long-term, is extremely low. It's carcinogenicity is also extremely low or non-existant based on a lot of independent studies. A healthy suspicious of these sorts of things is fine, but when it turns to legislation, I would encourage people to not ask their politicians to pass laws based on unsound science and hysteria. 

In reply to by decon

Farmerz BarbaricRelic Tue, 06/27/2017 - 17:28 Permalink

I'm 55 and have been using Roundup for 30ish years now. As you stated, if you follow directions, which some people don't, you will be fine. I don't like spraying chemicals anymore than you do. However, roundup is a great product for killing weeds, that otherwise suck  the moisture and fertilizer from the product you are trying to grow. ( I'm in one of the 99% catagories listed above) While you can pick the weeds out of a small place, perhaps a handful of  acres. The larger places have to rely on sprays. You just can't pay an army of people 15 bucks an hour to pull weeds every couple weeks. What I'm talking about in my case, is spraying the small strip a few feet either side of the tree row that the mower can't get close enough to mow .We are monitored by the county to follow product rules as best as possible. They do drive around and do inspections and are mostly watching that you are dressed with the required by label attire. ( Rubber gloves, spray suit, safety glasses, etc.)   

In reply to by BarbaricRelic

Miffed Microbi… Farmerz Tue, 06/27/2017 - 19:01 Permalink

If it is so safe why are you using so much personal protective equipment?Doesn't this seem strange to you? I use PPE in my job when I am dealing with dangerous pathogens. When I'm working with yeast cultures I do so on the counter using my bare hands because they are not infectious. This chemical is absorbed by the plant which is then eaten. Don't you not question the possible dangers of this?

Many things had the government seal as safe and were later found to be anything but. For my families health I will not gamble or wait for assurances because the risk is too great. They do not have your wellbeing in mind, it's all about money.


In reply to by Farmerz

Farmerz Miffed Microbi… Tue, 06/27/2017 - 22:17 Permalink

Go take a look in your kitchen and read a can of drano under your sink, NO PPE required and the label has crossbones and Poison warning. Round up is the lowest level at Caution.  I would be much more worried about getting Drano on me or in my eyes  than Round-up.  I am simply following the directions on the label as required, and to keep from getting fined, and or my spray license revoked.My above post listing PPE was in general terms, (including pesticides, much more strict than herbicides)  to be more specific for Roundup PowerMAX the label states "Applicators and other handlers must wear: long sleeve shirt and long pants, socks, shoes, and chemical resistant gloves made of any waterproof material." Thats it, same as I would wear changing the oil in my car. This PPE requirement is at a very minimum level in the farming world. 

In reply to by Miffed Microbi…

Miffed Microbi… Farmerz Wed, 06/28/2017 - 00:06 Permalink

I have no Drano under my sink. Why would I keep such a noxious chemical in my kitchen? When we have trouble with our dranes Mr uses a snake. All my cleaners and laundry detergents are homemade. Primarily vinegar, borax and baking soda. I have a well and a septic tank. What goes down the drain can contaminate my own water supply. The only chemical I have that is dangerous is bleach and I use that sparingly.

If you want to live with these chemicals that's fine by me. I don't want anything to do with them and that cancer has now surpassed heart disease in this country to me points to an environmental source. I don't think I wish to gamble what a label says is safe when so many independent studies show otherwise.


In reply to by Farmerz

Miffed Microbi… Farmerz Wed, 06/28/2017 - 10:20 Permalink

Nope, just cynical. I was raised in a family to question things.

I once used conventional cleaning chemicals and bought the narrative margarine was more healthful then butter. I was obese and had terrible health including using an inhaler for asthma every four hours around the clock for 20 years and had high blood pressure. I told my doctor I wanted to be well and not patch symptoms. He got in my face and told me to accept reality. I had a chronic disease with no cure and I should be damn thankful pharmaceutical companies come out with new drugs for asthma all the time. Well, that did it. I told him to fuck off and fired him. I got rid of everything in my home that could be irritating me. I went 100% organic. My husband was hysterical because it was costing a fortune. Two years later I had no asthma, lost 40 lbs and was jogging 3 miles a day when before walking a half mile would have killed me. I was off all pharmaceuticals. I returned to asshole dr. He told me I was in remission and the asthma would return. It's been 10 years now and he has nothing to say to me but he admitted he had no patient reverse their health as drastically as I had.

I deal with patients all the time now in worse health then I ever had been. I wish I could help them better but that isn't my job as a microbiologist. I see young people with leukemia and other cancers far more common than before. I know there must be an environmental reason but what exactly is unknown. Perhaps a combination of many things. All I know is I got my health back giving up wheat, soy, all conventionally grown processed food and went organic. If your family is in wonderful health not doing so, then I'm happy for you.


In reply to by Farmerz

Farmerz Miffed Microbi… Wed, 06/28/2017 - 14:27 Permalink

A big part of this countries problem is obesity. Many eat way too much sugar and salt on a daily basis. Me included. This leads to many diseases that go away when weight and chemical balance of the body go  back to normal.  When I go mostly vegan for a few months and lose 50 lbs I feel great. The problem is discipline to maintain healthy eating habbits and weight.  Nothing more to it than that.

In reply to by Miffed Microbi…

BarbaricRelic Miffed Microbi… Tue, 06/27/2017 - 22:31 Permalink

It's a matter of concentration - that's mainly why people wear PPE when making pesticide applications. The same reason that people working in a chemical factory do or any other place where the concentration of a hazardous material is greater than would be safe. When you are handling an herbicide and potentially splash it on yourself the concentration would be 1,000,000 x more concentrated than you would experience out in an agricultural setting. The same amount of herbicide that came in contact with your skin may have been sprayed over 10 acres with a surface area FAR greater than the point of contact. Also, when applied to a fied, virtually all pesticides begin to break down immediately thanks to UV light, hydrolysis, microbial degradation, etc. Even rain washes away a large portion of the sprayed pesticides from plants to the point of indetectibility (<ppb). So, people who work with pesticide and other hazardous chemicals need protection simply because of the potential for exposure (eyes, skin, etc.) would be at concentrations that are unsafe. Heck, even cocoa powder dust is a hazardous substance in a concentrated setting.

In reply to by Miffed Microbi…

BarkingCat Miffed Microbi… Tue, 06/27/2017 - 16:40 Permalink

 there is a YouTube video showing a French TV program with a Monsanto representative.The Monsanto rep claims that the chemical is perfectly safe and you could drink a glass of it and be okay. I guess the TV producer or the host seen him make that claim before because he was ready. He had someone come out from backstage with a glass of Roundup and asked the Monsanto rep to drink it. The Monsanto rep refused and said that he was not stupid.

In reply to by Miffed Microbi…