Mike Rogge

Prop. 65 listing challenged

By Mike Rogge

Capitol Update, Feb. 19, 2016 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On January 21st, Monsanto sued the CalEPA’s Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to halt the listing of the herbicide glyphosphate as a carcinogen. The supplier of products and services to agriculture claims that OEHHA used an illegal listing mechanism and erroneous scientific research that actually contradicts existing assessments by the U.S. EPA, regulators around the world and even its own scientists’ review of the very same animal carcinogenic studies.

Proposition 65 listing requires the obligation to warn consumers and workers that exposure may cause cancer and creates an exposure to potential third party litigation if all of the specific requirements are not closely followed. The company states that the listing would cause, “irreparable injury to Monsanto and the public” adversely affecting the company’s reputation for manufacturing safe and reliable herbicides, lost sales and requiring the company to “spend significant sums of money to re-label and re-shelf its products.” The listing would also create unfounded consumer fear, causing farmers and other governmental agencies and users to switch to other products or processes for vegetation management that may not provide the same degree of safety effectiveness or reliability.

OEHHA based its listing on the fact that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) listed the chemical based on the same studies that earlier OEHHA scientists determined did not justify listing. Monsanto states that the listing violates the office’s recently amended Labor Code listing mechanism and the California Constitution. OEHHA essentially elevated the determination of an unelected, undemocratic foreign body, which answers to no U.S. official (let alone California official) over the conclusion of its own scientific experts. The mechanism violates Monsanto’s right to procedural due process and free speech under both the state and federal constitutions, per the lawsuit.

Monsanto is asking for a permanent injunction enjoining OEHHA from listing or taking any further action. An OEHHA spokesman says that the office has no comment on the lawsuit at this time and that there is no timetable for a final listing decision.

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