What happens when Monsanto doesn’t like what the World Health Organization (WHO) has to say about its flagship product, Roundup weedkiller?
The chemical company convinces U.S. lawmakers to hold a “smoke and mirrors” Congressional hearing, under the guise of “defending scientific integrity,” but really to undermine the unanimous finding by 17 international scientists, based on their analysis of independent, peer-reviewed science, that Roundup is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
The hearing, which Monsanto asked Congress to hold, will be used to decide if WHO’s International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC)—an unbiased scientific agency charged with protecting public health by warning the public about cancer-causing chemicals—will continue to receive federal funding.
“In Defense of Scientific Integrity: Examining the IARC Monograph Programme and Glyphosate Review,” took place on February 6, in Washington, D.C. The hearing was held by the Science, Space and Technology (SST) Committee, and led by its chair, Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas. Smith was once described as “the most obnoxious climate change denier in Congress”—not exactly the ideal candidate to be passing judgment on the work of serious scientists.
The witness lineup was mostly stacked with chemical industry cheerleaders. Jennifer Sass, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, was one of the few who were allowed to testify in defense of IARC. Sass ended her testimony with this question:
“Are we willing to sell out the public’s right to know about harmful chemicals in the places we work, live, and play, just so that Monsanto Co. can sell more glyphosate?