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Monsanto, EPA colluded to kill cancer findings

The chemical powerhouse Monsanto's controversial herbicide, Roundup is carcinogenic, court documents revealed.

Published: March 15, 2017, 8:02 am

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    Some 17 cancer experts from 11 countries reviewed the evidence and already unanimously came to this conclusion in 2015 about the blockbuster weedkiller. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had called for the review.

    Monsanto has touted the approval of the chemical by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but newly unsealed court documents released this week, show a startling effort on the part of both Monsanto and the EPA to work in concert to discredit independent cancer research conducted by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency the IARC.

    Excerpts from the document show how the EPA effectively declared Roundup safe for use without conducting tests on the actual formulation, but instead relying on industry research on just one of the product’s active ingredients.

    “EPA’s minimal standards do not require human health data submissions related to the formulated product – here, Roundup. Instead, EPA regulations require only studies and data that relate to the active ingredient, which in the case of Roundup is glyphosate. As a result, the body of scientific literature EPA has reviewed is not only primarily provided by the industry, but it also only considers one part of the chemical ingredients that make up Roundup.”

    Glyphosate, the main ingredient in the Monsanto’s flagship product Roundup, the most widely applied pesticide worldwide.

    Donna Farmer, Monsanto’s lead toxicologist, however admitted in her deposition that she “cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer” because “[w]e [Monsanto] have not done the carcinogenicity studies with Roundup.”

    Farmer’s actual email, from back in 2009, states: “You cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer.. we have not done carcinogenicity studies with “Roundup”.

    And while the revelations above are quite damning by themselves, other related issues have also come to the fore: In early 2015, once it became clear that the World Health Organisation’s IARC was working on their own independent study of Roundup, Monsanto immediately launched their own efforts to preemptively discredit any results that might be deemed “inconvenient”.

    Monsanto decided to “ghost-write” key sections of their report themselves and plotted to have the independent scientists “sign their names so to speak” to these sections.

    “A less expensive/more palatable approach might be to involve experts only for the areas of contention, epidemiology and possibly MOA (depending on what comes out of the IARC meeting), and we ghost-write the Exposure Tox & Genetox sections…but we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak.”

    Jess Rowland, the EPA’s Deputy Division Director for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and chair of the Agency’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee, assured the company that he would kill any potentially damaging research. “If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland boasted.

    The US. Department of Agriculture does not monitor American food for glyphosate residues, reportedly because testing is “extremely expensive”.

    Research in 18 European countries found that 44 percent of tested city-dwellers had glyphosate residue in their urine and testing of 35 urine samples from US women found glyphosate levels 10 times higher than those in the European report. The testing, done by Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse, also found glyphosate in three of 10 samples of breast milk from US women.

    Samples tested by the US Geological Survey show that glyphosate contaminates air and water in agricultural areas.

    Glyphosate is also used as a desiccant to dry wheat before harvest. Government testing in Britain showed that more than 60 percent of nearly 3 000 bread samples contained pesticide residues, with glyphosate being one of the most frequently detected chemicals.

    But Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant denied the link: “Roundup is not a carcinogen. It’s 40 years old, it’s been studied,” he told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson in an interview last year a month after 94 scientists from around the world came out in defense of the IARC’s original findings.

    The scientists published their findings in an article for the peer-reviewed Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The paper argues that the authors of the EFSA’s Renewal Assessment Report (RAR) dismissed incidences of glyphosate-induced cancer in lab animals as chance occurrences and also ignored important laboratory and human mechanistic evidence of genotoxicity.

    Government officials in France, The Netherlands, Sweden and Italy are pushing firmly against the herbicide’s relicensing in the European Union over health and safety risks.

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