There are countless chemicals with which we come into contact in our daily lives. While some of these are open and obvious, like hand soap, others are more difficult to identify. California’s Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, prevents businesses from exposing consumers to chemicals that are “known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity” through drinking water. They are also prohibited from exposing consumers to these chemicals without providing warnings on the product that meet a “clear and reasonable” standard.
Recently, the agency tasked with enforcing Prop 65, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), announced that it intended to list glyphosate as a chemical subject to Prop 65’s warnings. Glyphosate is sold under the brand name Roundup for household use and used as a common pesticide in agriculture.
The agency based its decision on a report produced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in March 2015. The report concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” IARC uses this designation for chemicals when there is inadequate or limited research demonstrating that the product causes cancer in humans, but there is enough evidence to show that the chemical causes cancer in animals.
In response to the announcement from OEHHA, Monsanto, the creator and manufacturer of glyphosate, filed a lawsuit seeking to stop OEHHA from listing glyphosate as a Prop 65 substance. Monsanto based at least six of its arguments on constitutional claims. For example, Monsanto alleged that the process OEHHA uses to add substances to the Prop 65 list violates due process because it does not include sufficient safeguards to protect against an arbitrary agency decision. As another example, Monsanto argued that OEHHA’s reliance on the report from IARC gave law-making authority to IARC and constituted a “radical change” to governance in California that could only be accomplished through a constitutional amendment.
In February 2017, the trial court overseeing this litigation issued a tentative ruling dismissing Monsanto’s claims as baseless. The court tentatively ruled that OEHHA’s listing of glyphosate as a Prop 65 substance does not violate Monsanto’s due process rights. This ruling may also be significant for agricultural workers and other industrial professionals who routinely come into contact with glyphosate as part of their occupation.
This litigation has important implications for consumers, who may rely on Prop 65 warnings to make educated decisions about whether to purchase and use products containing chemicals that may be carcinogenic. At Moll Law Group, our Roundup lawyers are actively investigating injuries linked to Roundup, including cancer and other health issues. We pride ourselves on giving each client and their family the personalized, dedicated, and vigorous legal counsel that they deserve. To help you understand your legal rights and how we may be able to assist you with seeking compensation, we offer a free consultation. We serve clients throughout the United States, including in Illinois, California, Texas, and Florida. Call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your appointment.