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Hearings This Week on Landmark Case Against Pesticide

Roundup is the most common pesticide in the world. Some studies have linked it to cancer, while many others have declared it safe. (Chris Thomas)
Roundup is the most common pesticide in the world. Some studies have linked it to cancer, while many others have declared it safe. (Chris Thomas)
March 6, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – A landmark series of hearings continue all this week, looking at claims that Roundup, the most common pesticide in the world, is linked to cancer.

A federal judge in San Francisco won't decide if that's true, however. Rather, he'll rule on whether the plaintiffs in a mega-suit against Roundup's manufacturer, Monsanto, can present that claim if the case goes to trial.

Angel Garcia is a community organizer in the farmworker communities of Tulare County with the Coalition Advocating for Pesticide Safety.

"It is my hope that health and community well-being is prioritized and protected," Garcia says. "It's not surprising to see a company like Monsanto leveraging what money and influence it has to discredit scientists who are willing to go on record and be on the side of the people."

More than 300 lawsuits have been combined for these hearings. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, as a "probable human carcinogen." But Monsanto says hundreds of studies have determined the product to be safe.

According to Scott Partridge, Vice President of Global Strategy for Monsanto, "No regulatory agency in the world has concluded that glyphosate is carcinogenic. Glyphosate-based herbicides have a 40-year history of safe use and have been transformative for environmentally sustainable agricultural practices."

But Garcia says the farmworker communities are worried about the health effects and want to see the large-scale spraying stopped, especially near schools and playgrounds.

"I would like to see a transition to alternatives that are not linked to cancer," he adds. "We don't necessarily have to be dependent on chemical use."

Many of the plaintiffs who are suing Monsanto suffer from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The state of California lists glyphosate as a carcinogen, but the EPA says it is safe when used according to the directions.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA