Monsanto’s Roundup is America’s best selling weed killer. It obliterates weeds in golf courses, parks, carports and backyards across the country. The sobering news for anyone who has used it is, effective July 7, the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will add the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, to the list of chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer. The agency will require any product containing glyphosate to have a warning label by next year.
Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart on Flickr @CC
Monsanto Claims Roundup Is Safe
Monsanto insists that glyphosate is safe, but the agro-chemical giant is currently defending itself against thousands of plaintiffs who allege that exposure to Roundup caused their or their loved ones cancer. Monsanto has vowed to fight the CA EPA’s decision in court and an appeal is currently pending.
Should The Home Depot Sell & Promote It?
If the CA EPA is correct and Roundup does cause cancer, should garden stores like The Home Depot continue to sell and promote it? Should a carcinogen be so easily accessible to anyone who wants to use it? How close to schools, parks and other public places should it be sprayed? These are questions other countries around the world grappled with.
The Home Depot in Hollywood, California
World Leaders Ban Roundup in Public Areas
Two years before the CA EPA made its decision, the World Health Organization determined that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.” After the announcement in 2015, world leaders called for a ban.
French Environment and Energy Minister Segolene Royal:
“France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides. I have asked garden centers to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale.” – Newsweek
Christian Meyer, the chairman of Germany’s Consumer Protection Minister Conference:
“This pesticide should not be found in gardens, parks or on children’s playgrounds. I also do not think use in private gardens is appropriate.” – The Guardian
Germany’s largest DIY store, ‘toom Baumarkt DIY’ pulled Roundup from its stores after the WHO’s announcement.
Last year, Italy’s Ministry of Health banned the use of glyphosate in public places including,
“parks, gardens and courtyards, the edges of road and railways, urban areas, sports fields and recreational areas, playgrounds and green areas within the school buildings, and areas adjacent to health facilities.” – Food Democracy Now!
More Countries Ban Roundup
If these and other countries have acted to protect its citizen’s from a chemical that allegedly causes cancer, shouldn’t the United States do the same?
California is the first and only state in the nation to list glyphosate as a cancer-causing chemical. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that glyphosate is safe (however, there is some controversy about the decision–you can read about it here). The agency is in the process of reviewing glyphosate and its assessment is due sometime this year.
So for now, it’s up to individual states and local leaders to decide what limits, if any, should be put on where Roundup is used. According to the LA Times, several schools districts in Southern California including Burbank, Irvine and Glendale have already banned the use of Roundup from their campuses.
What You Can Do
If you have concerns about glyphosate or Roundup, contact your local and state representative.
German states call for ban on household pesticide
Feature image – StockSolutions – iStock