Overruled: EPA Trumps California’s Cancerous Glyphosate Labeling

Brian German Agri-Business, Regulation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently updated regulations regarding glyphosate labeling requirements.  In an effort to provide label clarity, EPA will no longer be approving glyphosate products to indicate the product is a cancer risk.  The issuing guidance to registrants specifically highlights California’s Proposition 65 as creating a misunderstanding with the public as to what type of risks are involved with glyphosate.

glyphosate labeling“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,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a news release. “It is critical that federal regulatory agencies like EPA relay to consumers accurate, scientific-based information about risks that pesticides may pose to them. EPA’s notification to glyphosate registrants is an important step to ensuring the information shared with the public on a federal pesticide label is correct and not misleading.”

EPA notes that the claim that glyphosate is known to cause cancer does not meet the labeling requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  Furthermore, EPA highlights the agency’s extensive evaluation of glyphosate as including a more thorough and relevant dataset than the information Proposition 65 was based upon.

“This is a significant victory for science-based regulation,” Agricultural Retailers Association President and CEO Daren Coppock said in a press release. “It would be irresponsible and misleading to require or allow language on a label that conflicts with the conclusions of the scientific review.”

A preliminary injunction had previously been filed back in February 2018 to prevent California from enforcing the cancer warning requirements for glyphosate labeling.  The injunction has not been appealed and remains in place.  Glyphosate products containing Proposition 65 language will have 90 days from the issuing of the guidance notification to submit draft amended labeling to EPA that does not contain any mention of cancer risks.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West