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Mounting Lawsuits Allege Monsanto's Roundup Caused Cancer

Aug 9, 2016

Monsanto is facing a number of lawsuits alleging that an ingredient in its Roundup herbicide causes cancer. According to the Madison Record, growing litigation in Illinois could turn into a class action lawsuit against Monsanto Co., a multinational agrochemical manufacturer. Lawsuits have been on the rise ever since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen to humans.

Monsanto maintains that glyphosate is safe and disagrees with the WHO's classification. Vice president of global strategy, Scott Partridge, cited the organization's own recent report stating that glyphosate is unlikely to increase the risk of cancer through food exposure.

Madison Record reports that litigation mounting in Illinois is particularly interesting, considering the fact that agriculture is an important part of the state's economy. Monsanto's headquarters in St. Louis are located within 20 miles of the southwestern border.

In the past, Monsanto was criticized for its use of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) produced in the 1970s. PCBs were also classified as a carcinogen by WHO. More than 700 lawsuits were filed against the company alleging that PCB caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The company is still fighting the litigation to this day.

Following the IARC's designation on glyphosate, France banned the sale of Roundup at garden centers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also announced plans to begin testing for glyphosate residues in food. In a report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticized the FDA for failing to disclose the lack of glyphosate testing in its annual pesticide residue report.

Earlier this year, Monsanto filed a lawsuit in an effort to stop California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment from listing glyphosate under California's Proposition 65, which requires retailers to post a warning when their operations or products will expose people to chemicals on the list.

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