Monsanto dealt another blow as University of California suspends use of glyphosate

Just days after a third jury found in favor of plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against Bayer AG’s Roundup, which is manufactured by its Monsanto subsidiary, the University of California announced a suspension of the use of any weed killer product that contains the chemical glyphosate.

A jury awarded a couple $2 billion last week as compensation for the cancer both developed after years of using Roundup, which contains glyphosate, a chemical that the World Health Organization says is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

In response to the third such jury ruling against Bayer and Monsanto, University of California president Janet Napolitano issued a statement suspending the use of any glyphosate-containing product across all campuses because of “concerns about possible human health and ecological hazards, as well as potential legal and reputational risks associated with this category of herbicides.”

Activist group Herbicide-Free UC praised the decision, and urged more permanent action.

“We are thrilled that the UC President and Regents have made the decision to ban glyphosate, but feel that there is no need to wait for more research to make the ban permanent,” the group said. “The science is clear: a number of the chemicals utilized by the University of California or its subcontractors pose a serious health risk to students, faculty, and staff. The University of California’s own faculty were even involved in designating many of these chemicals as dangerous. We are asking for a permanent glyphosate ban, as well as a ban on all Proposition 65 pesticides and other herbicides that cause harm to human health and the environment.”

Co-founder of the group Mackenzie Feldman played a central role in the fight to ban glyphosate and even organized the group to help campus groundskeepers do without the weed killer.

“I just want students to know they can do anything that if they see a problem they can fix it,” she said.

“He was like, totally, I just don’t have the labor to pick the weeds,” she recounted of her discussion with groundskeepers about discontinuing use of the product. “And we said perfect, we have 20 girls on our team we’ll do it for you.”

So, these ladies volunteer to help weed the grounds so that groundskeepers don’t have to rely on poison to do it.

“We were worried that these were young women of reproductive age and they probably shouldn’t be exposed to any of this stuff,” coach Nicole Walthall told ABC 7. “They ended up coming out here and having weeding parties basically.”

The suspension is temporary for now, but could become an outright ban if other juries rule against Bayer and Monsanto as well. Thus far, all three cases have been decided in California courtrooms. A jury in St. Louis is next in line to hear a similar lawsuit against the company.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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