Local agriculture professionals react to 'Roundup' labeled as carcinogen

Local agriculture professionals react...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - When it comes to killing weeds, farmers and homeowners have turned to the popular brand called "Roundup." 

"You know it has had some bad press in the last couple of years but we still have a good amount of sales on it, explains Salesman for Farm Supply Company in Santa Maria, Greg Flores. 

And more bad press is coming to parent company Monsanto as California health leaders see "Roundup" as potentially a different type of killer. 

There's now a push to put warning labels on the Roundup containers after studies and testing showed the weed killer's main chemical ingredient "Glyphosate" may cause cancer. 

For Flores - he's concerned what this change in labeling could mean, telling us: "Well my first thought is it's going to scare people because people say: "Oh, we gotta worry about that cancer thing - we're not gonna buy that." but the problem is is that the state of California has to list anything that's got a minute potential of causing cancer."

And these labels are on more home supplies than you may realize - things like everyday garden hoses and shovels. 

"Because again of the minute substance in here that could cause it - it's gotta be labeled but it's just a regular old shovel," Flores says while holding a shovel. 

One alternative to products like roundup is going the organic route, but even they have to be careful about their labeling.

"Our material - because it's a plant derived oil material it is exempt from EPA requirements but we do show that on the label so it's clear and truthful," says Joe Haslett, Sales Representative for Organic Ag Products. 

For farmers like Jerry Rutiz in Arroyo Grande, he doesn't use pesticides at all. Instead, he and his employees pull the weeds themselves.

"It's a lot of work - a lot of hand labor - instead of one little spray of the weeds to kill em, we have to get out there every few weeks and hoe out the areas where the weeds are sprouting," Rutiz tells us. 

Rutiz says he's pesticide free because that's what his customers were looking for. 

Customers like Maureen Kelly who come every week to Rutiz's farm stand to get fresh fruits and vegetables.

"That's very important to be able to eat a strawberry or anything else- any other vegetable - that hasn't been sprayed.. it's healthier," Kelly says. 

 According to CNN, Monsanto plans to fight the claims from the state. 

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