With Monsanto making expansion moves in Arizona, the news that an Obama era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official is under investigation by the EPA’s inspector general, is making waves in the desert. The inspector general is investigating possible collusion between Monsanto and a top EPA pesticide official who recently retired.
Documents released by court order indicate that the possible collusion may have resulted in a biased review of cancer risks associated with glyphosate, the most commonly used pesticide in the world and the active ingredient in Roundup.
The official, Jess Rowland, was the chair of the EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee.
Specifically, the documents that spurred the investigation revealed that:
The chair of the EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee on glyphosate was in regular contact with Monsanto, providing insider information that guided Monsanto’s messaging;
The chair warned Monsanto that the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm had found glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen months before the 2015 determination became public, allowing the pesticide-maker to mount a public relations attack on the finding;
The chair promised to thwart the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ review of glyphosate’s safety, saying that if he was successful he deserved a medal. The department never did review glyphosate’s safety;
A Monsanto executive emailed other company officials that they could hire academics to put their names on glyphosate research papers written by Monsanto, citing a previous instance where this was done. The referenced paper was used in the EPA pesticide program’s own cancer analysis.
Also, in March a scientific advisory panel of independent top experts commissioned by the EPA to review its work concluded that the EPA’s pesticides office failed to follow its own guidelines when it found last year that glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship pesticide Roundup — is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.
Court documents also revealed that the EPA’s glyphosate cancer review committee came to its conclusion three months before the World Health Organization analysis was published, all the while maintaining that the WHO analysis was taken into consideration.
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