Proof of Monsanto Collusion to Stop Release of Cancer Link to Roundup Weed Killer

“Another Example of Corporate America and Undue Influence on Official Release of Damaging Scientific Data”

Proof of Monsanto Collusion to Stop Release of Cancer Link to Roundup Weed Killer

Documents released in a lawsuit against Monsanto, see Roundup (Monsanto) MDL 2741 USDC ND California, raised new questions about the company’s efforts to influence public opinion by collusion and steering of data published by mainstream media, various authors and scientific research publications and revealed an internal debate over the safety of the Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup.

The active ingredient is glyphosate, the most common weed killer in the world, used around the world on farm crops and by home gardeners, with the largest market being the USA. While Roundup’s relative safety has been upheld by most US regulators, the Federal Mass Tort Litigation against Monsanto and Roundup,  pending in US District Court in San Francisco continues to raise questions about the company’s practices and the product itself. Thousands of plaintiffs from across the USA have filed suit against Monsanto-Roundup and as details of Monsanto’s attempt to suppress and influence the release of damaging scientific data are released, the number of filed cases will only increase. There has been documented evidence introduced that shows Monsanto influenced high level US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) executives to suppress data and the release of reports that showed Roundup (glyphosate) was dangerous and suspected of causing cancer. Jess Rowland, EPA Regulatory Affairs Manager, stopped the release of a government study that was key in the investigation into the carcinogenic effects of Roundup’s primary ingredient glyphosate by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, see EPA’s Jess Rowland Stops Release of Report on Glyphosate as Cancer Agent. Rowland left the EPA in early 2017 and went on to become a highly paid consultant for Monsanto.

There are numerous documents and media articles that underscore the lengths to which the agrochemical company has taken to protect its image, and the dangers of Roundup.  Documents show that Henry I. Miller, an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes’s website in 2015. Mr. Miller could not be reached for comment.

A similar issue appeared in academic research, when an academic involved in writing research funded by Monsanto, John Acquavella, a former Monsanto employee, appeared to express concern with the process, see Monsanto internal e-mail expressing concern over Roundup , in the 2015 email to a Monsanto executive, “I can’t be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication.” He also said of the way the company was trying to present the authorship: “We call that ghost writing and it is unethical.”

A Monsanto official said the comments were the result of “a complete misunderstanding” that had been “worked out,” while Mr. Acquavella stated via mail that “there was no ghostwriting” and that his comments had been related to an early draft and a question over authorship that was resolved. Even though there are other documents that refute this version of Monsanto’s “official” statement.

Monsanto has been shown to have actively ghostwritten, drafted and offered direction on formal EPA studies, press releases and other “official” documents, introduced in the pending Roundup federal litigation.

The documents also show internal discussions about Roundup’s safety. “If somebody came to me and said they wanted to test Roundup I know how I would react — with serious concern,” one Monsanto scientist wrote in an internal email in 2001.

Monsanto said it was outraged by the documents’ release by a law firm involved in the litigation, although the documents are now public court records, which Monsanto attempted to suppress being introduced into the litigation again and again since the start of the Roundup lawsuits. Brent Wisner, a partner at Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, the firm that released the documents, said Monsanto had erred by not filing a required motion seeking continued protection of the documents. Monsanto said no such filing was necessary.

“Now the world gets to see these documents that would otherwise remain secret”, per Mr. Wisner.

To reflect “official corporate collusion and influence”  see Mr. Miller’s 2015 article on Forbes’s website which was an attack on the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization that had labeled glyphosate a probable carcinogen, a finding disputed by other regulatory bodies. In the email traffic, Monsanto asked Mr. Miller if he would be interested in writing an article on the topic, and he said, “I would be if I could start from a high-quality draft.”

The article was authored by Mr. Miller and with the assertion that “opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.” The magazine did not mention any involvement by Monsanto in preparing the article, as most co-authored articles provide.

“That was a collaborative effort, a function of the outrage we were hearing from many people on the attacks on glyphosate,” Mr. Partridge of Monsanto said. “This is not a scientific, peer-reviewed journal. It’s an op-ed we collaborated with him on.”

After disclosure of the stories origin, Forbes removed the story from its website and said that it ended its relationship with Mr. Miller amid the revelations.

“All contributors to Forbes sign an agreement requiring them to disclose any potential conflicts of interest and only publish content that is their own original writing,” stated a Forbes representative. “When it came to our attention that Mr. Miller violated these terms, we removed his blog from Forbes.com and ended our relationship with him.”

Mr. Miller’s work has also appeared in the opinion pages of The New York Times, which reflects the long reach of Monsanto’s attempts to influence public opinion.

“We have never paid Dr. Miller,” said Sam Murphey, a spokesman for Monsanto. “Our scientists have never collaborated with Dr. Miller on his submissions to The New York Times. Our scientists have on occasion collaborated with Dr. Miller on other pieces.” This statement alone reflects the formal relationship between Miller and Monsanto.

James Dao, the Op-Ed editor of The Times, said in a statement, “Op-Ed contributors to The Times must sign a contract requiring them to avoid any conflict of interest, and to disclose any financial interest in the subject matter of their piece.” Miller and Monsanto did not comment on the apparent violation of this Times policy.

The documents also show that the ongoing debate outside Monsanto about glyphosate safety and Roundup, was also taking place within the company.

In a 2002 email, a Monsanto executive said, “What I’ve been hearing from you is that this continues to be the case with these studies — Glyphosate is O.K. but the formulated product (and thus the surfactant) does the damage.”

As to the internal Monsanto views of a causation relationship between cancer and Roundup, where a different Monsanto executive tells others via e-mail see 2003 Monsanto email, “You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen … we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.”

She adds, however, that “we can make that statement about glyphosate and can infer that there is no reason to believe that Roundup would cause cancer.”

The documents also show that A. Wallace Hayes, the former editor of a journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, has had a contractual relationship with Monsanto. In a further example of Monsanto collusion and influence in 2013, while he was still editor, Mr. Hayes retracted a key study damaging to Monsanto that found that Roundup, and genetically modified corn, could cause cancer and early death in rats.

Mr. Hayes made a statement that he wasn’t under contract with Monsanto at the time of the retraction, however he was compensated by Monsanto for the article after he left the journal. This seems to be a very indirect method of exerting influence on the public opinion via a direct method of paying for favorable treatment and influence by Monsanto.

“Monsanto played no role whatsoever in the decision that was made to retract,” he said. “It was based on input that I got from some very well-respected people, and also my own evaluation.” If this statement is accurate, why would Monsanto pay Mr. Hayes for an article determined to be inaccurate or misleading other than the retraction was of some benefit to Monsanto.

Monsanto has been proven time and time again to be directly responsible for corporate sponsored  collusion, influence peddling in both the public and private sectors and manipulation of data released to the public regarding the now known carcinogenic links of exposure to Monsanto’s primary product, Roundup and the main ingredient glyphosate.

 

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Roundup Causes Cancer, California Says

Spraying glyphosate on a stubble field | Photo: Chafer Machinery, some rights reserved
Spraying glyphosate on a field. Photo: Chafer Machinery

California is free to declare officially that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller causes cancer after a state court stopped a lawsuit by Monsanto.

There are 100 lawsuits in MDL 2741 supervised by US District Judge Vince Chhabria (Northern District of California), Roundup Products Liability Litigation.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced in 2015 that it would add glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

Monsanto sued in January 2016 to block the listing, claiming that the state acted unconstitutionally in listing glyphosate. The company also argued that the value of its Roundup trademark would be irreparably damaged that its First Amendment right to free speech was threatened if the state required warning labels on the company’s glyphosate products.

Glyphosate on carcinogen list

State Superior Court Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan ruled March 10 that California may add glyphosate to its carcinogen list.

Farm workers suffer significant health effects from glyphosate exposure, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).

Use of Roundup has skyrocketed in recent decades because of Roundup’s bogus reputation as “safer than table salt.” Also, Monsanto’s sells “Roundup-ready” crops such as soy, corn, alfalfa, and cotton. Farmers spray Roundup on crops, killing the weeds but leaving their crops unharmed.

As a result of the spread of glyphosate-resistant crops, use of the herbicide has increased more than tenfold since 1995.

America’s farming belt, where most of the food in the US is grown, is hit the hardest:

  • West: California, Washington, Montana, and Texas
  • Midwest: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota
  • Mississippi River: Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee
  • Atlantic seaboard: New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina

This article is a part of KCET and Link TV’s “Summer of the Environment.

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New Research Shows that Roundup Herbicide Causes Liver Disease in Rats

Dr. Michael Antoniou, Head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College London in the United Kingdom, led the ground-breaking research.
Dr. Michael Antoniou, Head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College London.

New research published at Nature.com shows that an ultra-low dose of Roundup herbicide causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats.

“For the very first time we have established a causative link between an environmentally relevant level of daily ingestion of Roundup and a serious disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” Dr. Michael Antoniou, Head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College London in the United Kingdom, led the ground-breaking research, told The Organic & Non-GMO Report.

“Overall, metabolome and proteome disturbances showed a substantial overlap with biomarkers of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its progression to steatohepatosis and thus confirm liver functional dysfunction resulting from chronic ultra-low dose GBH (glyphosate-based herbicides) exposure,” states the research Multiomics reveal non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats following chronic exposure to an ultra-low dose of Roundup herbicide published by Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 39328 (2017).

Plaintiffs allege that Roundup causes non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) in multidistrict litigation before US District Judge Vince Chhabria in In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Herbicide detected in food and water

“Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH), such as Roundup, are the major pesticides used worldwide. Residues of GBH are routinely detected in foodstuffs and drinking water. Epidemiological data on the human body burden of GBH residues is very limited but evidence suggests that glyphosate and its metabolites are widespread,” the research states.

“A number of toxicity studies have shown that glyphosate and its commercial formulations have non-target effects on mammalian metabolism and provoke toxic effects, especially with respect to liver and kidney structure and function,” it states.

Antoniou said that the rats consumed a glyphosate-equivalent level of Roundup that is 75,000 times lower than what is permitted in Europe and 437,500 times lower than that allowed in the U.S.

“We used cutting-edge compositional analytical methods to determine the health status of rats’ livers. Protein and metabolite profiles are a direct measure of the composition of organs and give a direct readout of the health or disease status of organs. We found that these organs weren’t healthy. There were clear hallmarks of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which correlated with previous observations of an increased incidence of tissue necrosis or liver tissue replaced with scars.

Roundup causes disease

“We were able to make a direct statement that Roundup caused disease,” he told The Organic & Non-GMO Report.

  • Roundup is a previously unknown and unsuspected potential risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that calls for further investigation.
  • Twenty-five percent of the U.S. population suffers from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Risk factors include obesity, diabetes, and high blood fat levels.
  • But there are risk factors for the disease that have not yet been identified, and it’s possible that exposure to Roundup could be one such missing risk factor.

“Our study results suggest that the permitted safety intake level of glyphosate-based herbicides needs to be revisited as they may have been set way too high,” he said. “The second point that this is a new risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and needs to be taken into account by the medical establishment.”

In March 2015, leading cancer experts from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” IARC reached its decision based on the research of 17 top cancer experts from 11 countries, who met to assess the carcinogenicity of 5 pesticides. The IARC review of glyphosate has led to the European Parliament calling for a complete ban on non-commercial public use of glyphosate and serious restrictions on agricultural use.

In contrast, on Sept. 12, 2016, the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (“OPP”) issued a 227-page evaluation of glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential, concluding that “[t]he strongest support is for [the description] ‘not likely to be carcinogenic to humans’ at doses relevant to human health risk assessment.” See Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evaluation of Carcinogenic Potential.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan ruled that California can require Monsanto to label its herbicide Roundup as a possible cancer threat.

California would be the first state to order such labeling for the weed-killer, which is used by farmers and home gardeners worldwide.

For further reading:

Corrupt EPA Official Bragged About Killing Study into Roundup Causing Cancer

Monsanto Colluded To “Ghost-Write” Studies on the Pesticide Roundup

Monsanto’s Deadly Harvest

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Corrupt EPA Official Bragged About Killing Study into Roundup Causing Cancer

"If I can kill this I should get a medal," said Jess Rowland, former EPA Deputy Division Director
“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” said Jess Rowland, former EPA Deputy Division Director told Monsanto.

The federal judge overseeing the MDL for Roundup litigation released records exposing how a corrupt Environmental Protection Agency official bragged to Monsanto that he deserved a medal if he could kill an investigation of whether the company’s Roundup herbicide causes cancer.

The shocking boast was released by US District Judge Vince Chhabria in In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Monsanto was seeking Rowland’s help in stopping an investigation of glyphosate, the poison in Roundup, by a separate office, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland told a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager, who recounted the boast in an email to his colleagues.

Click here to see the actual unsealed documents with Rowland’s shocking boast.

 

Rowland’s bragging shows the regulator who was supposed to be policing the company was corruptly working on its behalf. He apparently succeeded. The ATSDR announced in the Federal Register in February 2015 that it would publish a toxicological profile of glyphosate by October, but it never did.

Deposing Rowland

Now retired, Rowland was the Deputy Division Director in the EPA’s Health Effects Division of the Office of Pesticide Programs. He joined the EPA in 1990 and as the Senior Science advisor, he could have a sweeping impact by providing expert advice on complex or novel scientific or policy issues. His branch was responsible for assessing the human health effects from pesticide exposure on food, water, working conditions and home life.

Judge Chhabria stated in Pretrial Order No. 15 that he tentatively would allow plaintiffs to take Rowland’s deposition and to compel production of documents about his work. He said he would consider further arguments before making a final decision.

The court denied Monsanto’s motion to seal documents concerning Rowland’s depositions. “Potential embarrassment to Monsanto (or to Jess Rowland) is not enough” to seal the information, according to the judge.

“Although the documents contain communications about Monsanto’s efforts to influence agencies, there is no credible argument that they reveal some sort of ‘trade secret’ about how to do so,” the judge wrote sarcastically.

Also read: Monsanto Colluded To “Ghost-Write” Studies on the Pesticide Roundup

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Monsanto Colluded To “Ghost-Write” Studies on the Pesticide Roundup

Monsanto executive William Heydens had his staff to ghostwrite portions of a phony scientific article.
Monsanto executive William Heydens had his staff to ghostwrite portions of a phony scientific article.

Newly-released emails written by executives at Monsanto Co. show that Monsanto employees ghostwrote articles for independent scientists. Leading up to a regulatory hearing on the safety of glyphosate, Monsanto employees were looking for scientific studies showing that Roundup is safe.

Monsanto executive William “Bill” Heydens, Regulatory Product Safety Assessment Lead, instructed his staff to ghostwrite portions of a scientific article, planning to have scientists “just sign their names” to the study.

“Monsanto tells us that Roundup is safe because scientists say it is safe.  But apparently scientists sign their names, while Monsanto signs the checks,” says Kara Cook-Schultz, Toxics Director at U.S. PIRG. “This calls into question multiple studies written, or possibly ghostwritten, by agricultural scientists.”

Click here to see the actual unsealed documents with Heyden’s brazen ghost-writing plan.

 

Also included in the email chain is evidence showing that Monsanto regularly works together with other international chemical companies—such as Syngenta and Dow—to publish scientific papers. Christophe Gustin, Monsanto’s Crop Protection Regulatory Affairs Lead at Monsanto Europe, asked for Syngenta and Dow’s sign-off prior to hiring a scientist to publish the results of internal, unpublished studies on Roundup.

The emails were released in a court case where plaintiffs allege that Monsanto’s product Roundup causes cancer.  The case is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Roundup is the most-used weed killer in the country. Nearly 300 million pounds of Roundup are applied in the U.S. every year. Recent studies have found glyphosate in infant formula, beer, wine, and breast milk.

U.S. PIRG’s Ban Roundup Now campaign has been fighting to get the EPA to ban Roundup, and is working with local communities across the country to limit the use of Roundup.

“It’s more important than ever to stand up for independent science,” said Cook-Schultz.

For more, read the New York Times article Monsanto Weed Killer Roundup Faces New Doubts on Safety in Unsealed Documents.

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The EPA’s Ties to Monsanto Could Be Disastrous

WHO-says-Roundup-probably-causes-cancerBy Thom Hartmann. This article is reprinted from the Summer 2016 issue of The Trial Lawyer magazine.

Conservative politicians love to talk about how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only issues “job-killing regulations,” especially if they’re taking campaign contributions from fossil fuel billionaires like the Koch brothers or from agrochemical giants like Monsanto.

Republican Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee Lamar Smith, for example, has spent years trying to stop the EPA from conducting any real research about climate change or passing any real regulations in general. But apparently it’s true that every once in a while, even a blind mouse finds cheese; it seems like Lamar Smith might actually have a legitimate complaint about an EPA report.

In May 2016, Smith wrote a letter to the EPA, demanding to know why a risk report marked “Final Report” about glyphosate was retracted just three days after it was published.

Glyphosate is “probable carcinogen”

The EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee issued the “Final Report” on glyphosate on April 29, 2016, and 13 members of the review committee had signed their name to the report’s findings that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

The findings should raise eyebrows to begin with, because they directly contradict a report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which found last year that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen.” But what’s really caused a stir from environmentalists and conservatives alike, and why Lamar Smith has started overseeing the matter, is that the EPA pulled the report after just three days, and claimed that the report was published “inadvertently.”

Smith wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on May 4, 2016, that “the subsequent backtracking on [this report’s] finality raises questions about the agency’s motivation in providing a fair assessment of glyphosate.” But Lamar Smith was a few days late to the party condemning the EPA’s research, because the Center for Biological Diversity had already issued a press release condemning the EPA finding as “disappointing, but not terribly surprising [because] industry has been manipulating this research for years.”

This shouldn’t come as any surprise though, because using industry research is part of the EPA’s scheme of “cooperative regulation” — something that’s been in place ever since President Ronald Reagan appointed Anne Gorsuch to head the EPA in the early 1980s.

During her tenure as head of the EPA, Gorsuch cut the EPA’s budget by 22 percent; she handed many of the duties of the EPA down to states and contractors; and she made a cascade of appointments at lower levels in the agency that led to a fundamental shift in how the EPA regulated industry.

“Cooperative regulation”

You see, in the world of Reaganism, regulators shouldn’t challenge industry. Instead, under “cooperative regulation,” regulators are supposed to work together with industry to establish regulations that protect public safety without hurting corporate profits.

“Cooperative regulation” is why regulators in the United States need to prove that a product is unsafe before a corporation will pull that product from store shelves, because corporate profits are at least as valuable as public safety.

It’s why over 750 products containing glyphosate are still for sale in the United States nearly a year after the World Health Organization found that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic.”

“Cooperative regulation” is also why our regulatory agencies take research from privately funded think-tanks and from industry lobbying groups.

And that’s exactly what seems to be at the core of what’s going on with this retracted glyphosate report.

Dozens of papers cited in the retracted EPA report on glyphosate are “unpublished regulatory studies,” meaning that they weren’t peer-reviewed and it’s unclear how the data was collected or tested. As Nathan Donley with the Center for Biological Diversity wrote in a press release, “The EPA’s analysis relied heavily on industry-funded studies that have not undergone public scrutiny, while the WHO used publicly available research for its analysis.”

And this is a huge problem, because the EPA was established by the Nixon administration “because arresting environmental deterioration is of great importance to the quality of life in our country and the world.”

When Nixon authorized the creation of the EPA, there was bipartisan consensus that this country needs a single, streamlined regulatory agency dedicated to protecting our air and water. Now, we’re approaching a bipartisan consensus that the EPA is broken. And the fact is, it’s been broken for more than 30 years, ever since the Reagan administration turned it into a partner of industry, rather than a regulator.

It’s time to get federal regulators out of bed from the industries that they’re supposed to be overseeing.

It’s time for the EPA and other regulatory agencies to adopt the precautionary principle that says that techniques like fracking and products like glyphosate have to be proven safe before consumers are exposed to them.

We need to strengthen the EPA and other regulatory agencies so that they can conduct independent research about environmental threats and public health concerns, and so that they don’t need to solicit biased, industry-funded research from multinational corporations.

And it’s time to end the revolving door between the private sector and government agencies like the EPA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission, because the American people deserve government regulators that put public safety ahead of corporate profits.

This article was first published on Truthout.

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Monsanto’s Deadly Harvest

Monsanto cover - Trial LawyerBy KJ MAcElrath. This article is reprinted from the Summer 2016 issue of The Trial Lawyer magazine.

In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, published a report on glyphosate — the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship herbicide product, Roundup — classifying the substance as “probably carcinogenic.” The IARC also found “strong” evidence for genotoxicity (meaning that the substance can cause cellular damage and mutations at the DNA level, which can lead to the formation of cancerous tumors).

These conclusions were supported by 1000 studies. Then, in May 2016, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the WHO released their own report. Suddenly, it was determined that glysophate was “unlikely to be genotoxic at anticipated dietary exposures.” Why this sudden switch? And more importantly, what did the executives at Monsanto have to do with it?

Two things are becoming patently clear: (1) scientific evidence increasingly shows a direct connection between glyphosate and a range of health issues — particularly the form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and (2) executives at Monsanto have been aware of this connection for at least thirty years.

A BRIEF HISTORY

Glysophate was first discovered in 1950 by a chemist working at a Swiss pharmaceutical firm. However, the new substance had no practical pharmacological use. It was two decades later that a chemist at Monsanto, Dr. John Franz, discovered its potential as an herbicide. The company developed and patented its own version of glyphosate under the brand name Roundup®, and the new herbicide went on the market in 1974. Initially, it was primarily used on non-food agricultural products, such as rubber plants and cotton. However, before long, it was approved as a “broad- spectrum” herbicide. Today, it is the most widely-used method for controlling pestilential weeds among the world’s farmers as well as gardeners.

Chemically, glyphosate is classified as an “organophosphorous compound,” which simply means it is a carbon-based compound containing phosphorus. Such compounds have long been used as insecticides, and have been employed in chemical weapons, such as nerve gas. It can be fatal to humans even at small doses. According to Lewis’ Dictionary of Toxicology, such compounds are among the deadliest poisons ever developed.

Roundup is absorbed by plants primarily through the leaves, though small amounts can be absorbed by the root system. Once in the plant’s system, it works by inhibiting the production of an enzyme that is key to the synthesis of important amino acids. Of course, what kills noxious weeds is none too good for food crops. In response, Monsanto has developed a number of genetically- modified crops, designed to tolerate glysophate — known as “Roundup Ready.”

Today, Monsanto and its sycophants in government and industry continue to insist that glyphosate is virtually harmless to humans, as well as a cost-effective and efficient method of weed control. According to a paper published in the February 2016 issue of Environmental Sciences Europe, nearly 19 billion tons of glysophate has been used on the the world’s crops.

More significantly, even though Monsanto’s patent on glysophate expired in 2000, sales of Roundup® still generate approximately $5 billion in revenue for the company. That fact alone speaks volumes.

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE?

Not surprisingly, Monsanto dismisses the IARC’s report as “erroneous.” A statement on the company’s website says:

“Glyphosate has a long history of safe use. In evaluations spanning four decades, the overwhelming conclusion of experts worldwide has been that glyphosate, when used according to label directions, does not present an unreasonable risk of adverse effects to humans, wildlife or the environment.”

That statement goes on to attack the IARC report. Monsanto even hired a consulting firm (Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy) to “review” the agency’s conclusions and the methods employed in reaching
them.

Admittedly, the IARC’s findings are based primarily on laboratory tests more than they are real-world situations. Additionally, the IARC includes many common substances in its “2A” classification of potential carcinogens, including nitrates (used to cure bacon), hot oil used for frying and wood smoke. But that agency was not the first to draw such conclusions about glysophate. In fact, many in the scientific community have been sounding the alarms for years.

Why have regulators been deaf to these alarms? Part of the reason is that the health effects of glyphosate do not affect everyone, nor are they immediately apparent. Like asbestos and other industrial toxins, damage occurs at the cellular level. It can be years, even decades before a victim begins to show symptoms. A peer-reviewed report, published in the journal Entropy in April 2013, found that residues of glyphosate remaining in produce long after harvest and packing adds to the toxic effects of other toxic substances in the environment. In the study, the authors wrote: “Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.” The study found that glyphosate
residues in common foods such as wheat, soy, maize and sugar act to inhibit the action of an particular protein molecule (CYP 450) that plays a role in protecting the body from toxic substances. The authors state:

“Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.”

A year later, another paper was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. This paper was a meta-analysis of nearly three decades of epidemiological research on the connection between the “striking increase” of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) among agricultural workers and exposure to 80 different chemicals used in pesticides and herbicides — including glysophate. Specifically, the meta-analysis found solid evidence of an association between glyposphate and a specific type of NHL, known as B-cell lymphoma, a form of cancer that attacks immune cells.

Meanwhile, researchers in other countries were coming to similar conclusions. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research discovered that even at low concentrations, exposure to glyphosate had the potential to cause cancer in human skin cells. The report was published in the July 2013 issue of ISRN Dermatology.

These were only three of dozens of research studies, and they were not among the earliest. In November 2003, French researchers found that glysophate was a cause of “cell-cycle dysregulation,” a precursor to the development of cancer. That report appeared in Biology of the Cell six months later.

In May 2002, the journal Leukemia and Lymphoma published an analysis of two Swedish studies, demonstrating an elevated risk between NHL and pesticides. A decade prior to that, another paper, published in Cancer Research, noted a 50% increase in NHL over the previous 15 years. Researchers discovered that exposure to organophosphates (of which glyphosate is a compound) was a contributing factor to the dramatic rise in cases of NHL.

The case against glysophate has been building for years — yet government regulatory agencies have continued to defend it. That is the other part of the equation: corporate power, itself grown into a malignant tumor on the body politic.

MONSANTO STRIKES BACK

Not content to simply attack the IARC report, Monsanto was quick to hire its own “biostitutes” to carry out their own research in order to refute evidence of their flagship product’s carcinogenicity. Monsanto continues to insist that “The overwhelming consensus by regulatory bodies and science organizations around the world, like the U.S. EPA, which have found no evidence of carcinogenicity. Further, the 2A classification does not establish a link between glyphosate and an increase in cancer.”

Note that the only regulatory body or science organization mentioned in the above statement is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. What corporate “person” Monsanto doesn’t mention is that most of the studies” showing little or no evidence of glysophate’s toxicicity were funded by the herbicide industry itself — and it was these studies that the EPA used in its own evaluation of Roundup®.

Should it come as any surprise that the EPA found “no convincing evidence” of connections between the use of glysophate and human health hazards? The agency posted its own report earlier this year, concluding that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” Yet, on May 2nd, the EPA removed the report from its website, stating that it had been published “inadvertently,” and its review of the product had yet to be completed. In response, Monsanto emailed its own statement to Reuters, declaring that the EPA report had been “clearly labeled and signed as the final report of EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee.”

Monsanto is continuing to strike back at glyphosate’s critics. Presently, the company is pressuring the IARC to remove glysphosate from its 2A classification. Earlier this year, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against the State of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) in order to stop the agency from listing glysophate as a known carcinogen.

Monsanto also has its allies in the mainstream corporate media, which receives millions of advertising dollars every year from the agribusiness juggernaut. True to the prostituted institution it has become, the corporate media has taken a recent WHO document, cherry-picked the document and put its own spin on it. The report actually says, “Overall, there is some evidence of a positive association between glyphosate exposure and risk of NHL from the case — control studies and the overall meta-analysis.” Then, it goes on to say that “…glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic at anticipated dietary exposures … the Meeting concluded that glyphosate is not carcinogenic in rats but could not exclude the possibility that it is carcinogenic in mice at very high doses.”

Note that it doesn’t say glysophate isn’t carcinogenic. And yet, that is exactly what mainstream corporate media outlets are trumpeting to the heavens. And of course, the WHO panel conducted no independent research of its own, but relied on research provided to them.

Would the reader care to take a guess at who bought and paid for that “research?”

Monsanto has other friends in high places. This month, the European Union’s parliament passed a “non- binding resolution” that could give glysophate-containing herbicides market approval for another seven years. It is not as much as Monsanto was hoping for, but company representatives are confident that the government body will vote to extend its license — despite the fact that more than two-thirds of Europeans want the substance banned. And even though the resolution passed by a sizable majority, the EU Parliament still notes “concerns about the carcinogenicity and endocrine disruptive properties of the herbicide glyphosate.”

Monsanto isn’t terribly worried. In the wake of that resolution, a company spokesperson said, “Due to positive safety assessments … an extension for another fifteen years should technically not pose any problems.” Of course, those “safety assessments” were bought and paid for by Monsanto and the herbicide industry.

It is also worth noting that Monsanto has been able to hide the toxicity of its product from regulators’ scrutiny by using different formulas. Regulations require herbicide manufacturers to disclose the chemical structures of “active ingredients,” but other chemical additives can be declared “proprietary” — and therefore, remain confidential. It is entirely possible that other ingredients in Roundup® and similar herbicides interact with glysophate, exacerbating its effects. They may even have harmful effects of their own. Unfortunately, this is an area that scientists are only now beginning to investigate, and the
process is slow and cumbersome.

“THE TRUTH WILL OUT”

Despite its immense power, corporate “person” Monsanto’s day of reckoning may not be far off. On May 20th, the European Commission, bowing to pressure from member states and environmental activists, delayed a decision that would have extended approval for glysophate for nine more years. Here in the US, three farmers in Nebraska, along with an agronomist, have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, alleging their cancer was the result of exposure to Roundup®. According to the complaint, “Monsanto championed falsified data and has
attacked legitimate studies that revealed Roundup’s dangers. Monsanto led a campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup is safe. Its continuing denial
extends to the date of this Complaint.”

Two additional lawsuits on behalf of a farm worker and a landscape designer suffering from cancer have been filed in California. Meanwhile, environmental activists in Scotland are engaging in a “brandalism” campaign, relabeling bottles of Roundup® on store shelves with look-alike labels containing information about the health
dangers of the product.

As people’s voices become louder and more scientific evidence comes to light in the coming months, it’s a sure bet that (to quote the Bard of Avon) “at length, the truth will out” — and Monsanto will be held accountable for poisoning millions and destroying countless lives in the name of profit.

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Court: California Can Label Roundup as Cancer Threat

WHO-says-Roundup-probably-causes-cancerFresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan ruled that California can require Monsanto to label its herbicide Roundup as a possible cancer threat.

California would be the first state to order such labeling for the weed-killer, which is used by farmers and home gardeners worldwide.

Separately, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria is supervising Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741 in San Francisco. Since the MDL was created in October, it has attracted 46 lawsuits, Case No. Case 3:16-md-02741-VC.

Herbicide found in popular foods

Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, has no color or smell. Recently, the independent food safety testing done by Food Democracy found extremely high levels of the herbicide glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — in America’s most popular food products.

Monsanto introduced the chemical in 1974 as an effective way of killing weeds while leaving crops and plants intact. It’s sold in more than 160 countries, and farmers in California use it on 250 types of crops.

  • The chemical is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which says it has ‘low toxicity’ and recommends people avoid entering a field for 12 hours after it has been applied.
  • But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a Lyon, France-based branch of the U.N. World Health Organization, classified the chemical as a ‘probable human carcinogen.’

Shortly afterward, California took its first step in 2015 to require the warning labels.

Attorneys for California consider the International Agency for Research on Cancer the ‘gold standard’ for identifying carcinogens, and they rely on its findings along with several states, the federal government and other countries, court papers say.

 

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Court in Roundup MDL Orders Briefs on Cancer Studies

roundup-cancerU.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ordered the parties in Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741 to submit briefs on alleged flaws and biases in federal and United Nations research linking the herbicide to cancer.

Since the MDL was created in October, it has attracted 46 lawsuits, Case No. Case 3:16-md-02741-VC.

In March 2015, leading cancer experts from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” IARC reached its decision based on the research of 17 top cancer experts from 11 countries, who met to assess the carcinogenicity of 5 pesticides. The IARC review of glyphosate has led to the European Parliament calling for a complete ban on non-commercial public use of glyphosate and serious restrictions on agricultural use.

In contrast, on Sept. 12, 2016, the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (“OPP”) issued a 227-page evaluation of glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential, concluding that “[t]he strongest support is for [the description] ‘not likely to be carcinogenic to humans’ at doses relevant to human health risk assessment.” See Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evaluation of Carcinogenic Potential.

EPA vs. IARC

In pretrial order No. 8, the judge wrote, “It appears the plaintiffs are preparing to argue that the EPA’s conclusions about the carcinogenicity of glyphosate are flawed and/or biased. It appears Monsanto is preparing to argue the same with respect to IARC. It’s not obvious how directly relevant these arguments are to the questions the Court must consider during the general-causation phase of this case.”

Briefs must be filed by February 8.

An Illinois plaintiff who contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) after using the herbicide Roundup, charges in a new lawsuit filed in federal court that Monsanto knew of the cancer risks since the 1980s, but covered it up.

John Cushman of Effingham County, IL, sprayed Roundup on a regular basis for decades. He filed suit in US District Count for the Southern District of Illinois, alleging that the maker, Monsanto Company of St. Louis, MO, pressured the EPA not to label the herbicide as carcinogenic, and aggressively marketed it as “safer than table salt.” Cushman v. Monsanto, Case No. 16 cv 1042.\

“Any firm would be wise to get younger lawyers involved because this will be a long, hard fight,” said John Ray, a mass tort expert speaking in a recent webinar. Click to see the Slides & Recording for NTL Webinar: Mass Torts Update for Plaintiff Attorneys.

“This chemical interferes with the metabolic process, as a method for killing plants. There is no reason to believe it wouldn’t have the same effect on people,” Ray said. “The question is how much exposure is necessary to cause problems. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the tip of the iceberg. This chemical could affect the future of our species. It will be decades before we know everything that it did.”

 

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Monsanto RoundUp Herbicide Found in Cheerios, Ritz Crackers and Doritos

roundup-cancerIndependent food safety testing done by Food Democracy found extremely high levels of the herbicide glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — in America’s most popular food products.

Roundup is the most heavily used chemical weedkiller in food and agricultural production in human history, as a result of the widespread adoption of genetically engineered crops now grown on more than 175 million acres in the U.S. and more than 440 million acres around the globe.

Roundup is used on crops, lawns, home gardens, parks, roadsides and forests. So far 38 actions have been filed against Monsanto in Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, Case 3:16-md-02741-VC.

These lawsuits allege that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, particularly its active ingredient, glyphosate, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). Plaintiffs each allege that they or their decedents developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup over the course of several or more years.

Plaintiffs also allege that the use of glyphosate with other ingredients, in particular the surfactant polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), renders Roundup even more toxic than glyphosate on its own. Also read Court Appoints Leadership In Roundup Cancer MDL.

Harm to human health

New scientific evidence shows that probable harm to human health could begin at ultra-low levels of glyphosate e.g. 0.1 parts per billions (ppb). Popular foods tested for glyphosate measured between 289.47 ppb and at levels as high as 1,125.3 ppb.

The testing and analysis were performed by Anresco Laboratories, San Francisco, an FDA-registered laboratory that has performed expert food safety testing since 1943. The laboratory found that well-known products tested for glyphosate, Original Cheerios, for example, measured levels as high as 1,125.3 ppb. Other high levels of glyphosate were found in familiar products such as Oreos, Doritos, and Ritz Crackers, among 29 foods tested.

Currently, U.S. regulators allow a very high level of daily glyphosate residue in America’s food. The acceptable daily intake (ADI) limit is set at 1.75 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day (written 1.75 mg/kg bw/day) in the U.S., versus a more cautious 0.3 mg/kg bw/day in the European Union. Tolerances have been set based on corporate-sponsored studies and industry influence on the regulatory process.

New research shows that Roundup causes liver and kidney damage in rats as reflected in changes in the functions of 4,000 genes at only 0.05 parts per billion (ppb) glyphosate equivalent indicating damage. Credible independent, peer-reviewed scientific evidence now shows that the levels of harm to human health could begin at the ultra-low levels of 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) of glyphosate.

“It’s important for individuals and parents to understand that glyphosate contamination cannot be removed by washing and is not broken down by cooking or baking. Glyphosate residues can remain stable in food for a year or more, even if the foods are frozen or processed,” the report says.

Lobbying Backlash from Monsanto

In March 2015, leading cancer experts from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” IARC reached its decision based on the research of 17 top cancer experts from 11 countries, who met to assess the carcinogenicity of 5 pesticides. The IARC review of glyphosate has led to the European Parliament calling for a complete ban on non-commercial public use of glyphosate and serious restrictions on agricultural use.

Monsanto’s furious response includes:

  • Working with CropLife America to drive efforts to cut off U.S. funding for the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
  • The EPA had planned to hold four days of public meetings – over industry objections– to examine scientific research on glyphosate. But the industry, which deemed the meetings “unnecessary” and “inappropriate,” successfully derailed those Oct. 18-21 public meetings by challenging certain scientists appointed by EPA to an advisory panel.

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