Stunning new documents unsealed by a federal judge suggest that Monsanto worked directly with federal regulators to hide the health risks of and manipulate the science behind its best-selling herbicide, Roundup.
The documents reveal that Monsanto pressured Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials to not publicly release information on the cancer risks of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, ghostwrote research for the EPA and worked with a senior official at the agency to quash a federal review of the chemical.
These documents suggest an unprecedented level of collusion between the EPA and Monsanto to cover up evidence that Roundup is a likely carcinogen. The Office of Inspector General of the EPA, an independent office tasked with investigating fraud and abuse in the agency, must immediately launch an investigation to hold Monsanto and all EPA employees involved accountable.
In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared glyphosate a probable carcinogen, which spurred a class-action lawsuit brought by hundreds victims who developed cancer after being exposed to the chemical. These newly uncovered documents reveal that months before the WHO’s determination, an EPA official tipped off Monsanto to the upcoming ruling in an effort to aid the agricultural giant’s public relations campaign. The official promised the company that he would attempt to beat back an upcoming review of glyphosate by the Department of Health and Human Services, saying “If I can kill this, I should get a medal.” HHS subsequently never completed the review.
Unsealed documents also suggest that a Monsanto executive gave his employees the go-ahead to ghostwrite favorable research on glyphosate and later attribute the studies to academics by merely placing their names on the research.
Given Donald Trump’s appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, this is a crucial opportunity for the the Office of the Inspector General to prove that it will remain truly independent under a Trump administration determined to exert total control and suppress all dissent. The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services has recently launched an investigation into the Trump administration, so there is precedent for the EPA inspector general to follow suit.
Monsanto has a long and dark history covering up glyphosate’s dangers, but it’s simply unconscionable that the EPA would collude with Monsanto to conceal the serious threat the chemical poses to public health. The defeat of Trumpcare shows that our activism works. Now it’s time for the the Office of the Inspector General to do its job and hold Monsanto and EPA employees accountable.