Undue Influence Used to Cease Official Release of Damaging Scientific Data”
Documents that have been released in a lawsuit brought against Monsanto over its weed killer, Roundup, have raised some issues concerning if Monsanto attempted to influence public opinion via collusion and the way in which it guided data published by mainstream media, various authors, and scientific research publications. Also, it appears that an internal debate at Monsanto took place over the safety of Roundup. The multidistrict litigation is Roundup (Monsanto) MDL 2741, United States District Court, Northern District, California.
The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, which is the most common weed killer in the world and which is used globally on farm crops and by home gardeners. Roundup’s largest market is the United States.
The federal mass tort litigation against Monsanto and Roundup that is pending in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, California continues to raise questions about Monsanto’s business practices and Roundup. Thousands of nationwide have filed lawsuits 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 cases are expected to continue mounting.
Documented evidence introduced into the litigation reveals that Monsanto influenced high-level U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) executives to contain both data and the release of reports revealing that glyphosate—the main ingredient in Roundup is dangerous and a potential carcinogen. Jess Rowland, EPA Regulatory Affairs Manager, stopped the release of a government study that was critical in an investigation into the cancer causing effects of glyphosate by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Rowland left the EPA in early 2017 and is now a highly paid consultant for Monsanto.
An array of documents and media articles strengthen the lengths to which Monsanto has taken to protect its image and the dangers of Roundup. Documents reveal that Henry I. Miller, an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that essentially copied a piece that appeared with his byline on the Forbes website in 2015. After disclosure of the story’s origin, Forbes removed the piece from its website and indicated 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.”
Another, similar issue took place in academic research when John Acquavella, a former Monsanto employee and an academic involved in writing research funded by Monsanto, seemed to express concern with the process in a 2015 email to a Monsanto executive that read: “I can’t be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication.” He also indicated of that the way Monsanto attempting to present the authorship that, “We call that ghost writing and it is unethical.” For its part, a Monsanto official responded that the comments were due to “a complete misunderstanding” that had been “worked out,” while Mr. Acquavella wrote in another email that “there was no ghostwriting” and that his comments had concerned an earlier draft and a question over authorship that was resolved. Other documents exist that refute this version of Monsanto’s so-called “official” statement.
Monsanto has been shown to maintain active ghostwritten who drafted and offered direction on formal EPA studies, press releases, and other “official” documents that were introduced in the pending Roundup federal litigation. Oyet, other documents reveal internal discussions concerning 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 a 2001 internal email.
In a 2002 email, a Monsanto executive wrote, “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.” Another Monsanto executive wrote to others via e-mail, “You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen … we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.”
Documents also reveal that A. Wallace Hayes, former editor of the journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, has had a contractual relationship with Monsanto. In 2013, while he was still editor, Mr. Hayes retracted a key study that was damaging to Monsanto and that revealed that Roundup, and genetically modified corn, might cause cancer and early death in rats. Mr. Hayes made a statement that he was not under contract with Monsanto at the time of the retraction; however, he received compensation by Monsanto for the article after he left the journal.
The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits over allegedly defective or dangerous products. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a lawsuit against Monsanto.
Monsanto Tied to Serious Adverse Health Effects
Independent, peer-reviewed studies have associated glyphosate with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, digestive problems, gluten intolerance, increased sensitivity to other food-borne toxins, liver damage, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, Organic Authority reported.
A 2011 report published in the journal Parkinsonism Related Disorders, discussed a tie between Monsanto’s Roundup to cancer and Parkinson’s disease. In fact, in one case discussed, a 44-year-old woman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease symptoms just three years after glyphosate exposure when she worked in a chemical factory.
In 2014, Rodale Wellness wrote about a large increase in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases in the prior 30 years. A review, published in a 2014 issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health investigated 44 scientific papers to understand how 80 active ingredients in 21 different chemical classes affected farm workers’ risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The IARC found that exposure to glyphosate doubled a person’s risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Also, a 2014 Norwegian study discovered very high levels of Roundup in U.S. genetically engineered soy crops.
“Data has been emerging that point to various health and environmental consequences resulting from glyphosate and Roundup use. These include an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” among others, said Warren Porter, PhD, professor of environmental toxicology and former chair of zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In 2015, France banned Monsanto’s Roundup after the United Nations classified Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, as a probable carcinogen. According to The Independent, French Ecology Minister, Segolene Royal, said, “France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides…. I have asked garden centers to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale.”
Filing a Monsanto Herbicide Lawsuit
Parker Waichman has spent years representing clients in lawsuits over alleged environmental health risks. If you or someone you know is interested in filing a Monsanto Roundup Herbicide lawsuit, speak with one of our environmental attorneys today. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).