More questions regarding Monsanto’s integrity and business ethics were raised by the release of company emails and other court documents. The Monsanto “secret” documents suggest that Monsanto executives debated the safety of its leading herbicide Roundup, while simultaneously attempting to boost its reputation in the media.
In an article published by the New York Times, the emails and other Monsanto “secret” documents are part of a case in Federal Court in San Francisco. Plaintiff’s lawyers, who claim Monsanto neglected to file a motion that would have kept the records sealed, released the documents.
“Now the world gets to see these documents, that would have otherwise remained secret,” One of the lawyers stated in an interview with the New York Times.
Included in the records are email exchanges between Henry Miller, an academic advocate of genetically modified crops and Monsanto executives. Miller allegedly permitted Monsanto staff to ghostwrite an article under his name that was published in Forbes. The article assailed the determination of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Heath Organization (WHO) that had categorized glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen
“Forbes removed the story from it’s website,” according to the New York Times, “and said that it ended it’s relationship with Mr. Miller amid the revelations.”
Another academic involved in writing research for Monsanto, John Aquavella, declined a request to write for the company in an email to a Monsanto executive.
“I can’t be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication,” Aquavella said in the email. “We call that ghostwriting and it is unethical.”
Other internal correspondence suggests that some of the Monsanto executives expressed concern regarding the safety of Roundup. One Monsanto scientist wrote: “If someone came to me and said they wanted to test Roundup I know how I would react-with serious concern.”
Comments made by another Monsanto executive indicate that the active ingredient may be harmless on it’s own but when mixed with other ingredients, becomes toxic. “Glyphosate is OK but the formulated problem does the damage,” the executive wrote in an email.
Another Monsanto official cautions others within the company.
“You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen,” the official says in an email. “We have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.”
What is Roundup and How is it Harmful?
Roundup is an herbicide that has been the preferred product for many farmers, landscapers and homeowners since it was first commercialized in 1976. Since that time it has been promoted as safe for both people and pets. Monsanto, the maker of Roundup denies that the product is harmful to human health despite studies to the contrary. As recently as 2015 it was deemed as a “probable carcinogenic”, defined as a substance that causes cancer in humans.
Roundup uses an active ingredient called Glyphosate along with unknown inert ingredients. It is believed that Glyphosate combined with the ‘inert’ ingredients make Roundup more harmful than the ingredients would be if used separately. A French study in 2008 determined that, “Roundup formulations are not inert. Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death around residual levels to be expected…”
A causal link between Roundup and an increased risk of various forms of cancer in people who work with the herbicide has been shown in scientific studies. The occurrence of serious illnesses such as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma seem to increase in people who are exposed to the glyphosate blend in Roundup. Other types of cancer with increased potential by Roundup user include:
¨ Bone Cancer
¨ Liver Cancer
¨ Kidney Cancer
¨ Colon Cancer
¨ Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
¨ Multiple Myeloma
¨ Pancreatic Cancer
¨ Thyroid Cancer
If you know that you have been exposed to Roundup, see your doctor frequently. Prevention is better than a seeking cure. However, if you have developed cancer or any other serious illness, you should seek the counsel of a law firm with experience in litigation with large corporations like Monsanto. At Vititoe Law Group we have a proven track record in standing up to corporate giants like Monsanto. I you have used Roundup and became ill, reach out to Vititoe Law Group today for a free evaluation of your case.