There are countless chemicals with which we come into contact in our daily lives. While some of these are open and obvious, like hand soap, others are more difficult to identify. California’s Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, prevents businesses from exposing consumers to chemicals that are “known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity” through drinking water. They are also prohibited from exposing consumers to these chemicals without providing warnings on the product that meet a “clear and reasonable” standard.
Recently, the agency tasked with enforcing Prop 65, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), announced that it intended to list glyphosate as a chemical subject to Prop 65’s warnings. Glyphosate is sold under the brand name Roundup for household use and used as a common pesticide in agriculture.
The agency based its decision on a report produced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in March 2015. The report concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” IARC uses this designation for chemicals when there is inadequate or limited research demonstrating that the product causes cancer in humans, but there is enough evidence to show that the chemical causes cancer in animals.