EPA Colluded with Monsanto to Slow Safety Review of the Herbicide Glyphosate

EPA Colluded with Monsanto to Slow Safety Review of the Herbicide Glyphosate
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Multiple EPA officials colluded with Monsanto to slow a safety review of the company’s glyphosate-based herbicide, Roundup, according to email communications obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests.

Monsanto officials first reached out to the EPA in early 2015 regarding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s planned toxicology review of the herbicide, which the CDC said would be published by October 2015. This review has yet to be published, something EcoWatch notes was “no accident, no bureaucratic delay, but rather was the result of a collaborative effort between Monsanto and a group of high-ranking EPA officials.”

The emails, sent just weeks after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer had declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen, show that shortly after Monsanto’s Michael Dykes reached out to the EPA’s Jim Jones regarding the CDC’s planned review, Jones contacted Dr. Patrick Breysse, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, noting that the EPA’s own risk assessment of glyphosate was nearly complete and might render the CDC’s assessment redundant. In his email, Jones questioned whether two separate assessments were “a good use of government resources.” After several months of correspondence, the CDC’s report was placed “on hold.”

“I think it’s very clear… that EPA officials and Monsanto employees worked together to accomplish a goal of stopping that analysis,” Brent Wisner, a lawyer representing many of the cancer victims who are suing Monsanto, told EcoWatch. “That is collusion. I don’t know what else you’d call that.”

The following year, the EPA released a cancer assessment report contradicting the findings of the IARC, declaring that glyphosate was not likely to cause cancer.

In late July of this year, a New Zealand Green Party report revealed local scientists were “highly critical” of the EPA’s review.

“It’s really unclear to me why the EPA decided to essentially ignore the IARC report, commission a report by a single author who is just not able to provide the same level of expertise as 17 experts across the globe and then come up with different conclusions,” Jeroen Douwes, director of Massey University’s centre for Public Health Research, told Radio New Zealand, adding that he wasn’t sure if the EPA was bowing to outside influence or  otherwise “incompetent.”

These are only the latest FOIA-obtained documents that show collusion between Monsanto and outside entities to hide the dangers of glyphosate. More than 75 documents released by the law firm Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman during the lawsuit against Monsanto on behalf of people who have become ill with non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a result of exposure to the company’s Roundup product show that Monsanto was aware of the dangers of Roundup and colluded with academics as well as with the news media to hide these dangers from the public.

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Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.