Monsanto is reeling after a recent ruling that the state of California can label its best-selling Roundup product with a label indicating it may cause cancer.
Now, more information is coming out about the company’s alleged role in squashing opposing views and further research on the cancer risks of its flagship product, according to a new report in The New York Times and several other outlets.
According to unsealed documents, Monsanto has gone above and beyond to prevent the truth from coming out about its signature weedkiller: including a possible collusion attempt with a former EPA official.
“If I Can Kill This, I Should Get a Medal”
According to the article Jess Rowland, a former deputy division director at the EPA, told Monsanto executive Dan Jenkins in a 2015 email the following in response to a secretive proposal that may have put the health of millions in jeopardy: “If I can kill this, I should get a medal.”
Rowland was referring to the Department of Health and Human Service’s pending review of glyphosate and its possible carcinogenic effects, a review that never took place.
The records also suggested that ghostwritten research had been commissioned by Monsanto that was later attributed to academics as part of the effort to derail and ultimately sabotage the review process.
The files were unsealed by Vince Chhabria, the judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by multiple plaintiffs claiming to have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of exposure to glyphosate, the active chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller.
According to the World Health Organization’s ruling in 2015, glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen;” the ruling is what led to the aforementioned lawsuit that led to the unsealed documents.
The Times article continues, detailing how Monsanto was tipped off to the WHO’s pending ruling by the EPA, allowing them to coordinate an attack on the research in order to defend glyphosate:
Court records show that Monsanto was tipped off to the determination by a deputy division director at the E.P.A., Jess Rowland, months beforehand. That led the company to prepare a public relations assault on the finding well in advance of its publication. Monsanto executives, in their internal email traffic, also said Mr. Rowland had promised to beat back an effort by the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct its own review.
Monsanto denied ghostwriting the paper in question, but the documents contradict that assertion, or at least show the company’s original intent was to do just that, according to the Times:
In one email unsealed Tuesday, William F. Heydens, a Monsanto executive, told other company officials that they could ghostwrite research on glyphosate by hiring academics to put their names on papers that were actually written by Monsanto. “We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak,” Mr. Heydens wrote, citing a previous instance in which he said the company had done this.
For more on Monsanto’s latest public relations nightmare and the case against glyphosate, check out the full article by clicking on this link.