EPA Refuses to Approve Glyphosate Labels with Proposition 65 Cancer Warning
In a direct rebuke of Proposition 65’s listing of glyphosate as a carcinogen, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release on August 8, 2019 announcing that it would no longer approve glyphosate labels with the Proposition 65 warning for cancer. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is quoted in the press release as stating, “It is irresponsible to require labels on products that are inaccurate when EPA knows the product does not pose a cancer risk. We will not allow California’s flawed program to dictate federal policy.”
On August 12, 2019, the California agency that administers Proposition 65, the Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment (OEHHA), released a statement responding to EPA’s press release, highlighting that glyphosate was added to Proposition 65 based on findings by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). OEHHA stated, “It is disrespectful of the scientific process for US EPA to categorically dismiss any warnings based on IARC’s determinations as false.”
The exchange between EPA and OEHHA is the latest chapter in the ongoing controversy concerning the safety of glyphosate, which was listed as a carcinogen under Proposition 65 in 2017, subject to a safe harbor level of 1,100 micrograms per day. It is unclear how EPA’s announcement will impact Proposition 65 liability for glyphosate in California.