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Shortly after a California court linked glyphosate, the herbicide in the popular weed killer Roundup, to a plaintiff’s cancer, Los Angeles County officials ordered a moratorium on that same weed killer, citing a need for further research on the herbicide’s safety risks.

“I am asking county departments to stop the use of this herbicide until public health and environmental professionals can determine if it’s safe for further use in L.A. County and explore alternative methods for vegetation management,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger stated.

More than 50 other U.S. cities and counties have already banned the use of glyphosate from schoolyards and playgrounds.

Courts and Counties Considering the Question of Whether Roundup Causes Cancer

Back in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a statement saying that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.” They based their conclusion on the review of the scientific literature at the time, though not all studies on the herbicide were included.

Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, disputed the findings, pointing to studies that have not found a link between glyphosate and cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies glyphosate as not likely to be carcinogenic, but a more recent review published in the scientific journal Environmental Sciences Europe shows that the EPA ignored many large peer-reviewed studies linking glyphosate to cancer.

A new study from researchers at the University of Washington published in the journal Mutation Research adds to the evidence showing that glyphosate may increase the risk of certain forms of cancer. Scientists analyzed the most recent update of the Agricultural Health Study cohort published in 2018, along with five case-control studies, and found that glyphosate does increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 41 percent.

Meanwhile, individuals who have used Roundup for years, particularly those using it in a professional capacity, have filed lawsuits against Monsanto, claiming that the company failed to warn about the dangerous risks associated with the product. Hundreds of those cases have been consolidated in San Francisco for pre-trial proceedings.

In the first case to go to trial in that litigation, the judge bifurcated the trial so that the jury had to first answer the question of whether the weed killer caused the plaintiff’s cancer. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff on that question, so now the court will consider the question of whether Monsanto will be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Los Angeles County Seeks Recommendations from Department of Public Works

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed the Department of Public Works to coordinate with public health and other experts to examine the evidence on glyphosate and cancer, explore alternatives to the product, and identify best practices used in other jurisdictions. The department is supposed to submit a report with its recommendations to the county within 30 days.

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