Monsanto: Butterflies, Bees and You’re Next
Fake News is one thing; but “fake scientific research” is quite another.
The first we can heatedly argue; the latter will put an end to us.
Enter stage right, Monsanto.
It appears that Monsanto Corporation, a company that has cornered the world market in providing herbicides, insecticides, and questionable genetic modifications, has worked for decades to produce falsified “research papers” that were ghost written by executives and officials and then handed over to legitimate scientists for editing?
Why? In order later to affix their names on the documents as supportive of false findings; when in fact, they were only asked to edit a section or paragraph here and there for clarification, appropriate attributions, sentence construction, etc.
Despite all the “evidence” produced over the years by Monsanto, the state of California has decided to list glyphosate - the chief active ingredient in Roundup herbicide - as a likely carcinogen. This follows the same designation given by the World Health organization in March of 2015.
One trillion, four hundred million tons of Roundup are used on crops and lawns across the world annually; the United States consumes nearly 20% of the herbicide: 280 million pounds per year.
As the CEO Hugh Grant notes in his company’s letter to shareholders this last year, “From the Earth’s deepest roots to its highest satellites, we are more connected than ever to our planet and the food it produces. At Monsanto, we believe these connections hold the key to unlocking positive potential for growers and consumers.”
And a positive potential for profits as well. The company’s revenues exceed $15 billion annually.
In order to keep the lid on the downsides of our carefree consumption of herbicides by large Agra and even smaller family farms and gardeners, Monsanto was able to coerce the assistance of the EPA – or at least one of the EPA’s watchdog officials: Mr. Jess Rowland.
For some time, Jess Rowland had been running interference for the company by curtailing investigations from other EPA and investigative sub-agency groups like the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (part of Health and Human Services).
After the World Health Organization’s identification of glyphosate as a carcinogen in April of 2015, Rowland promised to find ways to kill any investigative scrutiny by HHS, and he quipped he should “get a medal,” for his successful efforts.
Rowland’s and the company’s ploy was to inform the HHS that a scientific review was already in process, and any duplicative investigation would be a waste of labor and government money.
While Rowland blocked or parried interests by other outside agencies, inner-company officials like the heads of toxicology and his manager Bill Heyden ghost wrote scientific reports promoting conclusions that glyphosate should not be classified as carcinogenic.
To make the falsified reports more “palatable” and “less expensive,” according to communications written by Heyden, they handed sections of the reports to scientists to review for accuracy, clarity, scientific argumentation, and other editing labors. After that, they would pay them minimally and sign their names to the documents. Thus, what was an in-house and slanted preparation appeared as research which was scientifically substantiated.
For years, Monsanto also conducted research indicating that toxic levels of Roundup’s glyphosate were much lower than suggested. While Monsanto argued that the chemical did not bio-accumulate, it in fact did. They covered over the report’s findings that “After only 24 hours, the toxic chemical was found in the lungs and all body fluids: lymph, blood, urine, and cerebral spinal fluid. Glyphosate also accumulated in the bone by 30 ppm and in the bone marrow by 4 ppm.”
|Mexican Political Street Art|
Monsanto avoided including the injurious interaction between the main chemical in Roundup and pancreas of its mammalian subjects. After review of the research collected, two researchers from MIT believe this oversight was intentional.
In the Monsanto Sustainability Report, CEO Hugh Grant reminds his shareholders, “Our mission is simple: Provide tools for farmers to help nourish the growing global population and help preserve the Earth for people, plants, wildlife and communities.”
In France, meanwhile, studies of rats and mice fed a Monsanto GM maize diet for an additional month, four months, just one month beyond the research distributed by Monsanto on the safety of their modified corn were disconcerting. Gilles-Eric Seralini and his French team looked beyond Monsanto’s 3-month studies and “observed profuse cancer and tumor development developed after the 4th month of the study.” Monsanto disregards these studies as inconclusive.
Europe has always been more cautious of our rush to genetically modify animals, plants, and produce. Much of the millions of pounds of Roundup used in the United States finds its way into our streams and rivers, thus the EPA (with Monsanto’s help and influence?) has developed guidelines for the amount that’s acceptable in our drinking water. The safe level for U.S. water is set at 0.7 ug/L, a level unchanged since 1994 despite the revelations of its actual toxicity. In Europe, the number has always been 0.1 ug/L. (micrograms per liter)
|Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant|
Meanwhile, Monsanto’s CEO also reminds his shareholders and all of us that the company’s authentic ethos can be found in its “longstanding commitment to people, planet, and our company.” Here’s what Hugh Grant promises they’ll do:
Act Ethically and Responsibly.
Advocate for Biodiversity.
Advance Product Stewardship.
Create a Great Work Environment.
Drive Modern Agricultural Innovation.
Engage Communities and Society.
Foster Collaboration and Transparency.
Improve Global Food and Nutrition Security.
Reduce Our Environmental Impact.
And, sadly, this kind of false and despicably twisted pontificating will be further stimulated in a Trump Presidency where funding for the EPA (not one bad character like Rowland) will be cut by nearly a third of its original budget to protect us from poisons like glyphosate.
*Above: My friend Hector Duarte, muralist and activist in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, invited me into his gallery one afternoon to show me a work in progress. Mr. Duarte; originally from Michoacán, Mexico; knows the insidious affects of corporate poisoning on his beloved Monarchs, the bees, and all of our peoples. The work is pictured in the banner. (Thank you TS)