In 1977, EPA received a letter from a woman who worked at Stanford Research Institute, which tested pesticides for the giant British oil and chemical company, Shell. This important letter carefully documents corrupt scientific practices favoring the approval of Shell pesticides in the United States. The letter makes Stanford Research Institute and Shell responsible for these unethical practices.
Stanford University created SRI in 1946. SRI worked like a lab for tobacco and petroleum companies. In 1970, it became independent.
Labs have been a permanent mechanism of the infrastructure of pesticides and agribusiness. They keep chemical companies and industrialized farmers in business.
This letter highlights the corruption enveloping Shell and SRI preparing pesticides for government approval. It did not matter that their pesticides would poison our food and the natural world.
I quote the 1977 letter. Its language may be awkward but its message is razor-sharp. I only changed the names of the persons appearing in the letter:
“From 1966-68 I was executive secretary to Dr. John Bart, director of the Toxicology Department, Life Sciences Division, Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California….
“Although the information herein dates back to 1968 I feel it is still pertinent because the pesticides referred to are still on the market in copious quantities, and the same people are testing and selling the pesticides today. Shell Development and Shell Chemical produce a large quantity of the pesticides on the market. In order for them to put a pesticide on the market they must have a PRIVATE research firm test the pesticides for effects on animals. The pesticides are fed to the animals (dogs, rats, rabbits, etc.) in varying amounts for varying lengths of time…
“In order to market the pesticides the private research group sends reports to the Federal Government. These reports go through the hands of Shell and then are submitted to the government…“I contend that because of the way the research was conducted… the testing of Shell pesticides by SRI is INVALID… Bart… changed the data arbitrarily more than once… and the data wasn’t even accurate to begin with… Bart was held in contempt by other scientists, by people in his labs, and also by Shell… Bart did not seem to care what went on in the labs just so he could send a glowing report to the government on how harmless Shell’s pesticides were."