Is Monsanto’s flagship herbicide Roundup, with its main ingredient glyphosate, truly a cancer-causing substance?
The World Health Organizaiton believes so according to a spring 2015 ruling and ever since the company has faced nightmarish problems both in the PR and legal departments. Other studies including this one from the EPA archives have shown similar concerns.
While the company continues to fight the distinction, more evidence is coming to light, including the potential role of a former EPA employee in a what could be a cover-up of epic proportions.
Plaintiffs Say EPA Employee Covered Up Cancer Link
More than 60 plaintiffs are currently accusing Monsanto of covering up a Roundup-cancer link in a recent federal court case, Ecowatch reported, and all of them have a personal history to share.
The plaintiffs are all either suffering from lymphoma of the non-Hodgkin’s variety or have lost a loved one to the disease, the report stated. They also have charged in recent court filings that Monsanto had cozy ties with the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, thanks in large part to their connection to one particular employee.
The employee in question is Jesse Rowland, who served as deputy division director in the health effects division of the OPP until last year. Rowland’s role will be highly scrutinized in the coming weeks: the report stated that he may be forced to testify over the Roundup-cancer link on claims that he covered up evidence that glyphosate could in fact cause cancer.
The lawsuits allege that Monsanto failed to warn about those risks in regards to glyhposate exposure, and Rowland’s testimony could be a game changer.
A “Highly Suspicious” Relationship With Monsanto
According to a report from Bloomberg, the plaintiffs’ lawyers are arguing that Rowland had a “highly suspicious” relationship with Monsanto that may have influenced the organizaiton’s assessment of the controversial chemical glyphosate.
Rowland was the chairman of the agency’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee, which declared the chemical was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans,” which differs from the 2015 WHO ruling. He left the agency days after the CARC report was leaked to the press in May 2016, the Ecowatch report said.
Monsanto responded by saying that the chemical and Roundup are safe.
“While we empathize with anyone facing these terrible illnesses, there is no evidence that glyphosate is the cause,” Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s Vice President of Global Strategy, said to Bloomberg in a statement. “The very long and well-established history of safe glyphosate use—over 40 years in more than 160 countries—shows clearly that these claims are supported neither by the science nor the facts.”
But the court filing for the case from Feb. 10 includes a correspondence from former 30-year EPA scientist Marion Copley accusing the former EPA official Rowland of playing “political conniving games with the science” in order to stack the deck in favor of Monsanto.
This sort of alleged political manuvering is eerily similar to past cases of political favoritism involving a “revolving door” between Monsanto and regulatory agencies, particularly in recent years.