Monsanto Defended Potentially Cancer-Causing Weed Killer with Phony Study

Court documents show Monsanto got help from within the EPA to halt a federal inquiry into its flagship product, Roundup.

According to several recently unsealed court documents, chemical giant Monsanto had fabricated a false study which was later signed by academicians ahead of federal inquiry into its flagship weed killer, Roundup.

Plaintiffs Claim Monsanto’s Product Gave them Cancer

The company’s herbicide and similar products are used worldwide on a wide range of plants from crops to home vegetables. Industry studies had shown that the popular weed killer is safe for use. Yet, a federal case shows that the conclusion might be false.

The plaintiffs are a group of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients who claim that they developed the condition because of the weed killer’s main ingredient – glyphosate. They based their assumption on a study published by an international panel of experts in 2015.

The court recently unsealed multiple documents which include Monsanto’s internal email exchanges along with the company’s communications with federal regulators. The files suggest the biotech giant paid academics to take credit for a ghostwritten research on the issue.

Moreover, a senior employee at the Environmental Protection Agency helped the company dodge a United States Department of Health and Human Services inquiry into Roundup’s alleged cancer risk. The court documents also revealed that the EPA itself was divided over the safety of the herbicide.

Judge Vince Chhabria unsealed the records Tuesday at the request of plaintiffs who claimed they got cancer after exposure to glyphosate.

Roundup Contains Potentially Cancer-Causing Ingredient

The patients argued that a couple of years ago, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer found that the chemical is probable cancer-causing. The documents show that Monsanto was informed beforehand about a federal inquiry by EPA division director Jess Rowland.

The tip enabled the company prepare the said study to counter any negative findings before they were even published. According to email exchanges, Rowland promised that he would derail a DHHS review on the matter.

In a 2015 email, a Monsanto executive said the EPA officer had told him that if he could “kill” the DHHS review, he should get a medal. Apparently, Rowland was successful as the review never happened. Another executive said Rowland told her that he could be useful to the company in its “glyphosate defense” efforts long after his retirement.

Science is divided over the safety of the said chemical. While the WHO’s cancer research arm suggests it could cause cancer, the EPA, the European Food Safety Agency, and Monsanto say it is relatively safe.
Image Source: Pixabay

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