A federal judge on Monday halted California’s plan to require Monsanto to place warning labels on its Roundup products, saying scientists haven’t shown a clear connection between glyphosate and cancer.
U.S. District Judge William Shubb sided with the St. Louis-based chemical giant in its First Amendment lawsuit, ruling that warning labels, which would have been required as of July, could confuse and mislead customers.
“The required warning for glyphosate does not appear to be factually accurate and uncontroversial because it conveys the message that glyphosate’s carcinogenicity is an undisputed fact, when almost all other regulators have concluded that there is insufficient evidence that it causes cancer,” the ruling issued late Monday states.
California’s decision to list glyphosate under Proposition 65 was spurred by the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s 2015 conclusion that the chemical was a “probable” human carcinogen.
But Shubb said the state regulator overly-relied on the IARC and ignored studies from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization among others that conclude there is “insufficient evidence” that the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular weed killer causes cancer.
While he froze the warning label requirement, Shubb said California can continue listing glyphosate as a chemical known to cause cancer in its health and safety codes.
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