RSN Fundraising Banner
Court Docs: Monsanto Paid Chemical Industry Front Group to Claim Cancer-Causing Weedkiller 'Safe' and Attack Its Critics
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50882"><span class="small">Bill Walker, Environmental Working Group</span></a>   
Thursday, 30 May 2019 13:35

Walker writes: "Emails show that in February 2015, Monsanto was working with ACSH to prepare for the expected fallout from a pending report on the safety of glyphosate by the International Agency for Research on Cancer."

Farmer applies pesticides on his crops. (photo: Shutterstock)
Farmer applies pesticides on his crops. (photo: Shutterstock)


Court Docs: Monsanto Paid Chemical Industry Front Group to Claim Cancer-Causing Weedkiller 'Safe' and Attack Its Critics

By Bill Walker, Environmental Working Group

30 May 19

 

onsanto paid a shadowy chemical industry front group to help push back against the mounting scientific evidence that the company’s signature Roundup weedkiller causes cancer, court documents reveal. 

“If a company like [Monsanto] won’t support us, then who will?” the head of the American Council on Science and Health wrote to a Monsanto scientist in 2015. A day later came the reply: “[T]he answer is yes.... [D]efinitely count us in!!”

Emails between Monsanto and the American Council on Science and Health, or ACSH, and related internal Monsanto emails were first made public during the trial last July of a lawsuit by a former California school groundskeeper who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup. The jury awarded Dewayne “Lee” Johnson $289 million in punitive and compensatory damages, later reduced by the judge to $78 million.

The internal Monsanto/ACSH emails reappeared as evidence in the most recent lawsuit to go before a court, brought by a California couple who were both diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after decades of using the herbicide. In May, the jury ordered Bayer-Monsanto to pay Alva and Alberta Pilliod more than $2 billion in damages.

It was the third verdict in less than a year in which juries found that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, causes cancer and that Monsanto covered up evidence of its health risk for decades. Last year, Bayer bought Monsanto for $63 billion and is now facing tens of thousands of similar lawsuits.

The emails – here and here – show that in February 2015, Monsanto was working with ACSH to prepare for the expected fallout from a pending report on the safety of glyphosate by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC. The following month the IARC, part of the World Health Organization, would release a report that classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Anticipating the report, Gilbert Ross, then the acting head of ACSH, asked Monsanto for support, “particularly if ACSH’s commentary is needed to critique an adverse outcome.”

On Feb. 26, Dr. Daniel Goldstein, the head of medical sciences and outreach at Monsanto, wrote to several colleagues, urging them to support continued payment to ACSH for its work.


Later that day, after his colleagues expressed reservations, Goldstein wrote:


But on March 16, just days before the IARC’s report, the ACSH’s Ross wrote to Goldstein complaining the group has still not received payment for its work on glyphosate:


Goldstein replied “count us in!!,” and Ross wrote back: “Great news, thanks Dan.”

From the emails, it is unclear how much Monsanto paid ACSH to defend the company and its weedkiller. But since the IARC report, ACSH has posted dozens of blogs or releases attacking scientists or organizations that have raised concerns about the health risks of glyphosate exposure. ACSH officials have also been quoted in news media reports, accusing EWG – “an alarmist group” – and other glyphosate critics of scare tactics.  

According to ACSH’s website, the group is a “consumer advocacy organization” that does “not represent any industry.” But in 2013 Mother Jones reported that an internal ACSH document showed the organization received more than $390,000 in that year from corporations and large private foundations, including $30,000 from Bayer Cropscience, $22,5000 from the Chinese-owned pesticide and seed company Syngenta, and $30,000 from chemical giant 3M, among many others.

The ACSH document also lists Monsanto among “potential sources of support from previous donors.” As the recently released emails show, that potential was soon realized.

Email This Page

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+3 # chapdrum 2019-05-30 23:18
Too-big-to-fail , too-big-to-jail - in effect, helpless before the Monsantos of the country.
 
 
+7 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-05-31 08:40
MonSatano: perhaps the very worst of bad Capitalism. Poison, lies, hypocrisy, evasion, corruption, slander & proximate murder: such a fine record.
 
 
+1 # chemtex2611 2019-06-01 01:12
This is no surprise to folks in the chemical business. They long ago laid off all experienced engineers. Go check on DuPont on trial regarding fungicide contaminated with herbicide back in 1994. See any similarity? Check on DuPont allowing contamination to escape under a Texas river next to a Plant and under private property. The Hearing Examiner levied the largest fine ever in Texas in 1995, I believe.