Litigation is mounting against multinational agrochemical manufacturer Monsanto Co. alleging that an ingredient in its Roundup herbicide increases the risk of cancer. Madison Record reports that a growing litigation in Illinois could become a class action lawsuit. Plaintiff’s lawsuits have sprung up more frequently ever since the World Health Organization classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen to humans. After this designation, Roundup was banned at garden centers in France.
The mounting litigation in Illinois is interesting in light of agriculture’s vital role in the state’s economy, Madison record reports. Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis are located within 20 miles of the southwestern border.
Monsanto contests the World Health Organization’s decision to classify glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, and insists that the ingredient is safe. 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.
This is not the first time Monsanto has faced allegations over its products. The company came under fire for using polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) produced in the 1970’s. PCBs were also classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. The issue resulted in over 700 lawsuits being filed against the company alleging that PCB caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Monsanto is still fighting these suits.
Monsanto sued California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment this year in an effort to stop glyphosate from being listed 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.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to begin testing for glyphosate residues in food. In a report, the Government Accountability Office criticized the FDA for failing to disclose the lack of glyphosate testing in its annual pesticide residue report.