UC Law Environmental Journal


Alex Sauerwein


Glyphosate is a toxic pesticide heavily used in food production. As a result, glyphosate ends up in the air we breathe and the water we drink. The increasing spread and use of glyphosate have many negative impacts on public and environmental health. Researchers are finding links between the use of glyphosate and cancer, Parkinson disease, and lower IQ rates in humans. Researchers have also linked glyphosate to environmental harms, like decreased biodiversity and unintended killing of fish near farms. International law has attempted to limit the use of toxic chemicals through hard law principles like the Rotterdam Convention and soft law techniques like organic labeling. Unfortunately, while some jurisdictions have banned these chemicals, they are still widely used. This paper focuses on the policies that have led to successful bans on toxic chemicals and how California and the international community can implement these techniques. Specifically, Mals, Italy has placed a complete ban on glyphosate, and many other European Union (“EU”) countries also face political pressure from activist groups to ban the pesticide. Advocates for the ban cite international law principles, such as the obligation not to cause environmental harm. In California, humans now have a right to clean water, which is threatened by the use of glyphosate. Based on the principles and guidelines set forth in this paper, I will advocate why glyphosate should be the next chemical banned.