Los Angeles County has taken action in light of a court’s finding that Monsanto’s Roundup is linked to cancer. The county issued a moratorium on the use of the weed killer pending further investigation into the health and environmental dangers of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide worldwide. The Public Interest Research Group reported that 26 million pounds of Roundup is sprayed on public grounds each year, including playgrounds, school property and parks.
Los Angeles’s Department of Public Works will suspend the use of Roundup until experts can assess its impact. According to county officials, there is insufficient data to verify that glyphosate is safe for use. In addition, Los Angeles County will investigate the availability of other methods for keeping vegetation in good condition. Los Angeles County is not alone; more than 50 cities and counties in the United States have prohibited the use of products containing glyphosate, according to the Environmental Working Group. In California, more than 25 cities and counties have banned or restricted glyphosate or are reviewing a potential ban.
In March 2019, a federal jury in the US District Court for the Northern District of California determined that exposure to Roundup contributed to the development of plaintiff’s cancer. The plaintiff testified that he used the weed killer for over 25 years and that the product frequently made contact with his skin. In 2015, the plaintiff was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The first case alleging that Roundup causes cancer went to trial in August 2018. In that case, a California state court awarded the plaintiff, a former school groundskeeper, $289 million in damages after finding that the use of Monsanto caused the plaintiff’s cancer. The verdict was later reduced to $78.5 million and is being appealed. There are currently thousands of cases pending against Monsanto claiming that glyphosate contributes to cancer.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, glyphosate is not likely to cause cancer in humans. This contradicts the findings of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer which announced in 2015 that the weed killer is a “probable human carcinogen.”
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