Monsanto’s Terrible Secrets Are Tumbling out as Company Faces Wave of Cancer Lawsuits
In 2015 the World Health Organization declared that glyphosate, the world’s most popular herbicide, is probably carcinogenic. That declaration has since become a serious chink in the armor of Monsanto. It was one of the first times that a reputable institution suggested that maybe, Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide could be bad for human health. In fact, the company’s first response to that claim was that every other regulatory agency in the world had seen the same data as the WHO, and none of them thought that glyphosate was harmful.
But it seems that was enough to turn up the heat on Monsanto. Two years later, 700 people across the US are now suing Monsanto because they believe glyphosate gave them non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It turns out these people were right to ignore the claims of all those regulatory agencies around the world, because these lawsuits have revealed evidence that may prove Monsanto has been colluding with government agencies, and manipulating scientific studies.
For instance, last week a judge in San Francisco unsealed documents that suggest Monsanto was scheming to ghostwrite scientific papers about glyphosate, and hire real scientists to publish them.
The debate over the safety of Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup has become more complicated, as newly released emails suggest the company had ghostwritten scientific research on glyphosate, the pesticide’s key ingredient.
Monsanto’s internal communications were unsealed Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria in California. Chhabria is presiding over litigation brought by farmers and other agricultural workers who claimed that exposure to glyphosate caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In one email, Monsanto executive William Heydens recommended company employees could write papers about glyphosate and hire scientists to publish studies under their names. He said that this had been done once before.
“We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak,” Heydens wrote.
The court has also found evidence that may show that Monsanto was working with the EPA to shut down studies that questioned the health effects of glyphosate.
“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland told a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager who recounted the conversation in an email to his colleagues, according to a court filing made public Tuesday. The company was seeking Rowland’s help stopping an investigation of glyphosate by a separate office, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, that is part of the U.S. Health and Human Service Department, according to the filing.
A federal judge overseeing the glyphosate litigation in San Francisco said last month he’s inclined to order Rowland to submit to questioning by lawyers for the plaintiffs, who contend he had a “highly suspicious” relationship with Monsanto. Rowland oversaw a committee that found insufficient evidence to conclude glyphosate causes cancer and quit last year shortly after his report was leaked to the press.
It would suffice to say that Monsanto is probably in big legal trouble for the first time in a long time. If Monsanto is found guilty, the whole world is going to know that they’ve been lying to us, colluding with the government to cover that up, and they did so without any regard to the health of agricultural workers and consumers.