California Lists Roundup Ingredient as Chemical Linked to Cancer; Monsanto Vows to Fight

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This picture taken on June 15, 2015, shows a bottle of Monsanto's Roundup pesticide in a gardening store in Lille, France. (Credit: Philippe Huguen / AFP / Getty Images)

The main ingredient of the pesticide Roundup will be added to a list of chemicals that California believes are linked to cancer, and products that contain the compound will have to carry a warning label by next year.

That designation under the state’s Proposition 65 rules won’t keep the chemical, glyphosate, off fields or garden store shelves. That’s because the proposition does not set rules on how chemicals are used. It just requires a warning that ingredients are “known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm.”

Federal and state officials who can restrict or ban pesticides so far have said the chemical, one of the most widely used weed killers, has low toxicity and can safely be sprayed on food crops, gardens, parks and golf courses if users follow instructions.

Last year the federal Environmental Protection Agency decided glyphosate was not a carcinogen, setting off howls of protest from advocacy groups, and shifting their long-running battle with Monsanto to California.

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