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Agrochemicals and the Cesspool of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes to the US EPA

In her recent open letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason documents what amounts to a cesspool of corruption surrounding sections of the agrochemicals industry and the regulation of glyphosate (as found in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup).

As with all her previous ‘open letters’ to officials, Mason cites ample sources to support her arguments and claims, not least those about the health- and environment-damaging impacts of glyphosate, a highly financially lucrative product for Monsanto. Readers may access these sources by consulting her original 15-page letter to the EPA here: open-letter-to-us-environmental-protection-agency-about-glyphosate-and-the-international-monsanto-tribunal

Mason notes that CropLife America, the agribusiness lobby association, put pressure on the EPA to exclude individuals who had in the past expressed a negative opinion of glyphosate from sitting on the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP). EPA immediately bowed to that request and delayed the date of the SAP to find further figures approved by industry. She documents in some detail how Croplife America pressured the FIFRA SAP to rely on assessments of glyphosate tainted by conflicts of interest and wanted to have excluded specific scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (whose negative evaluation of glyphosate had upset the industry) and the Consensus Statement on Glyphosate written by 16 scientists.

To keep the pressure on in support of glyphosate, Mason describes how Monsanto commissioned five reviews published in ‘Critical Reviews in Toxicology’ and also funded them. A stunt whereby science took a back seat to crass public relations.

PR masquerading as science published in questionable journals is part of the industry’s aim to create doubt. And it’s an endless activity. In the meantime, Mason argues that as powerful corporations attempt to muddy the waters, people die unnecessarily by being exposed to dangerous agrochemicals like glyphosate and the environment is degraded even further.

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