LA County bans Monsanto’s Roundup over health concerns

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The same day that a second jury in seven months found that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, causes cancer, Los Angeles County banned any further use of the toxic weedkiller by all county departments.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ordered a moratorium on applications of glyphosate on county property until public health and environmental experts can determine whether it’s safe. More than 50 U.S. cities and counties have banned the use of glyphosate on parks, playgrounds and schoolyards.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, classified the chemical as probably carcinogenic to humans. In 2017, California listed glyphosate in its Proposition 65 registry of chemicals known to cause cancer. Bayer AG, which bought Monsanto last year, faces more than 11,000 U.S. lawsuits alleging that glyphosate causes cancer.

“Kicking Bayer-Monsanto and its cancer-causing weedkiller off L.A. County property was absolutely the right call,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “We know glyphosate causes cancer in people and shouldn’t be sprayed anywhere – period. We don’t know how many Angelenos have been exposed to this dangerous chemical through its use by the county, but we can keep others from being exposed.”

The county’s decision came the same day a jury in a federal court in San Francisco delivered a verdict in favor of Edward Hardeman, who said his cancer was caused by exposure to Roundup. Last year, another California jury awarded Dewayne Lee Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who has non-Hodgkin lymphoma and regularly handled Roundup, $289 million in his case against Monsanto.

Glyphosate is the most heavily used herbicide in the world. People who are not farm workers or city or county groundskeepers are being exposed to the cancer-causing chemical through food.

Two separate rounds of laboratory tests commissioned last year by EWG found glyphosate in nearly every sample of popular oat-based cereals and other oat-based food marketed to children. The brands in which glyphosate was detected included several cereals and breakfast bars made by General Mills and Quaker.