February 4, 2016

CA Regulators Target Glyphosate; Latest in Series of Actions Targeting Crop Protection Tools

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is proposing to make glyphosate, a common herbicide, a Prop. 65 listed material. This herbicide is a valuable part of the integrated pest management system and is used within a broad array of agricultural and urban settings. Western Growers (WG) has joined a large coalition expressing concerns with this proposal because the process and information OEHHA is using to incorporate glyphosate under Prop. 65 are seriously flawed.

OEHHA is utilizing the Labor Code provision of Prop. 65 to accept the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) classification of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. However, OEHHA appears to be discounting other scientific evidence or studies that reached different conclusions. The IARC classification itself has been criticized for overlooking decades of study indicating the non-carcinogenicity of glyphosate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has reviewed glyphosate numerous times and has concluded, as recently as 2014, that there is no evidence showing that glyphosate causes cancer. In fact, US EPA has already initiated another registration review and will be taking yet another look at the science.

This overreach by OEHHA is not new. This agency has a long history of using questionable science and discounting the scientific conclusions of other regulatory agencies that indicate the safety and non-carcinogenicity of chemicals when used or applied lawfully and in compliance with any label restrictions. WG has addressed this concern with state officials and legislators whose constituents depend on farming for their economic well-being.  State regulators too often use research selectively to impose Prop. 65 warnings and take other regulatory actions that only misinform and alarm Californians. It is no coincidence that OEHHA commonly finds itself as the only regulatory agency that views a chemical as posing a higher level of risk than has been found by other regulatory agencies and researchers. WG staff has engaged the Governor’s Office on this problem and will continue to be vocal advocates for restoring scientific balance in California’s regulatory process.

For more information, contact Matthew Allen at (916) 446-1435.