Court Blocks Calif. Glyphosate Warning

9th Circuit Upholds Permanent Injunction on California Glyphosate Warning

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
Connect with Todd:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled it was unconstitutional for the state of California to require warning labels on products containing glyphosate. (DTN file photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- A federal appeals court has ruled the state of California cannot require a cancer warning label on Roundup products containing glyphosate. The ruling on Tuesday upheld a lower court's permanent injunction against the state and said it was unconstitutional to require such labels.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic" to humans. A consensus of the scientific community does not share that determination.

Still, under California's Proposition 65 passed by voters in 1986, the state required businesses whose products exposed consumers to glyphosate to provide warnings that glyphosate is a carcinogen.

A cadre of agriculture interest groups and businesses, including the National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, Agriculture Retailers Association and Monsanto Company among others, took legal action that ended up at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.

The plaintiffs alleged the warning label requirements violated their First Amendment rights to free speech.

"The panel concluded that the government's proposed Prop 65 warnings as applied to glyphosate were not purely factual and uncontroversial, and thus were subject to intermediate scrutiny," a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit said in its ruling.

"The proposed warning that 'glyphosate is known to cause cancer' was not purely factual because the word 'known' carries a complex legal meaning that consumers would not glean from the warning without context and thus the word was misleading. Moreover, saying that something is carcinogenic or has serious deleterious health effects -- without a strong scientific consensus that it does -- is controversial."

The Ninth Circuit judges said the warning on glyphosate products "still conveys the overall message that glyphosate is unsafe, which is, at best disputed. The warning therefore requires plaintiffs to convey a controversial, fiercely contested message that they fundamentally disagree with."

Brent Cheyne, an Oregon wheat farmer and National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) president, said the court's ruling was a long time coming.

"NAWG members knew we had a strong case and the decisions were based on the facts and science surrounding the safety of the product," Cheyne said in a statement.

"NAWG has been engaged in this legal battle as lead plaintiff challenging the California requirement for six years. California's Proposition 65 requirement threatened the use of glyphosate by requiring false and misleading labels on products that may contain glyphosate. We are pleased to see this action taken today by the court."

Bayer announced in July 2021 that it planned to stop selling Roundup containing glyphosate in the U.S. residential market beginning in 2023.

Read more on DTN:

"Future Without Glyphosate?"…

"Bayer Makes Case on Roundup Labels,"…

Todd Neeley can be reached at

Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @DTNeeley

Todd Neeley

Todd Neeley
Connect with Todd: