(Sept. 4, 2019) Roundup lawsuits have uncovered internal Monsanto emails which have outed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an industry-captured entity. The EPA vs. IARC fight proves the EPA is captured by industry. A close look at the controversy shows without a doubt that Monsanto and the biotech industry have captured the agency charged with regulating pesticides like Roundup and other poisons.
Internal Monsanto emails which plaintiffs demanded in Roundup lawsuit discovery have shown the world just how Monsanto has cultivated and exploited a cozy relationship with U.S. pesticide regulators at the EPA. The emails have shown how one scientist on the EPA payroll worked secretly with Monsanto to quash a pesticide review of glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling poison, Roundup.
Related: Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit Attorney
In some of the three Roundup trials, all of which Monsanto has lost, Monsanto lawyers have been able to keep some evidence of the cozy EPA-Monsanto relationship out of the eyes of the jury. But Monsanto lawyers have not always been able to hide all the relevant relationship evidence through sly procedural moves. The three huge jury verdicts rendered against Monsanto for Roundup since last summer are, at least in part, a result of some juries being shown evidence which proves that the U.S. EPA has not been an objective arbiter of facts where Monsanto is concerned. In point of fact, the EPA has been shown – through the publication of irrefutable evidence in The Monsanto Papers – to be working more as a partner with the biochemical industry, rather than as a pesticide (Read: poison) watchdog for U.S. citizens.
Dr. Charles Benbrook explains
Dr. Charles Benbrook – who testified for the plaintiff in the first Monsanto Roundup trial last summer – explains in a Jan. 2019 paper just how the IARC and the EPA arrived at two diametrically opposed views regarding the cancer-causing propensities of glyphosate and Roundup.
Note: Dr. Benbrook’s web site says he has a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin, an undergraduate degree from Harvard. He is a visiting scholar in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, and a visiting professor at the University of Newcastle in the U.K.
No Evidence vs. Strong Evidence?
Dr. Benbrook explains that the EPA considers glyphosate as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” By contrast, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A).” EPA claims that no convincing evidence shows that “glyphosate induces mutations in vivo via the oral route.” IARC concludes that “strong evidence” shows exposure to glyphosate is genotoxic through at least two mechanisms known to be associated with human carcinogens — DNA damage and oxidative stress.
Dr. Benbrook asks, “Why and how did EPA and IARC reach such different conclusions?”
EPA Method and Results
The EPA cited 52 genotoxicity assays done by “registrants” (Monsanto and its biochem industry friends) in its 2016 evaluation of technical glyphosate. (“Technical” meaning only that glyphosate alone was studied, not one of the relevant formulations such as “Roundup” in which it is always mixed.) The EPA also cited 52 assays that had appeared in the public literature. Dr. Benbrook says, “Of these, one regulatory assay (2%) and 35 published assays (67%) reported positive evidence of a genotoxic response. In the case of formulated, glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs – or glyphosate mixed into a common pesticide), 43 regulatory assays were cited by EPA, plus 65 assays published in peer-reviewed journals. Of these, none of the regulatory, and 49 published assays (75%) reported evidence of a genotoxic response following exposure to a GBH.
IARC Method and Results
IARC, by contrast, considered a total of 118 genotoxicity assays in six core tables on glyphosate technical (again, alone), GBHs, and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), glyphosate’s primary metabolite. EPA’s analysis encompassed 51 of these 118 assays (43%). In addition, IARC analyzed another 81 assays exploring other possible genotoxic mechanisms (mostly related to sex hormones and oxidative stress), of which 62 (77%) reported positive results. IARC placed considerable weight on three positive GBH studies in exposed human populations, whereas EPA placed little or no weight on them.
Three Primary Conclusions
Dr. Benbrook says that EPA and IARC reached diametrically opposed conclusions on glyphosate genotoxicity for three main reasons:
(1) in the core tables compiled by EPA and IARC, the EPA relied mostly on registrant-commissioned, unpublished regulatory studies, 99% of which were negative, while IARC relied mostly on peer-reviewed studies (emphasis added) of which 70% were positive (83 of 118);
(2) EPA’s evaluation was largely based on data from studies on technical glyphosate, whereas IARC’s review placed heavy weight on the results of formulated GBH and AMPA assay (emphasis added). This means EPA studied glyphosate alone, without the surfactants (some of which have been banned in Europe) and other ingredients, which virtually all experts agree make any formulation much more toxic, perhaps as much as 1,000x more toxic.
(3) EPA’s evaluation was focused on typical, general population dietary exposures assuming legal, food-crop uses, and did not take into account, nor address generally higher occupational exposures and risks. IARC’s assessment encompassed data from typical dietary, occupational, and elevated exposure scenarios. More research is needed on real-world exposures to the chemicals within formulated GBHs and the biological fate and consequences of such exposures.
EPA vs. IARC fight proves EPA captured
In a word, the U.S. EPA leaned heavily on Monsanto-funded studies and others sponsored by the biochemical industry to make its determination. And most of those studies were perverted or truncated by their mostly useless focus on glyphosate alone. Glyphosate is virtually never applied alone, by itself, in a vacuum, without being mixed with dangerous surfactants and other substances hidden by laws which protect a corporation’s “proprietary” interests.
By contrast, the IARC relied primarily on published, non-industry funded studies. The IARC also gave studies more weight if they focused on the entire chemical cocktail concoction of products like Roundup (or some other Glyphosate-Based-Herbicide), rather than on glyphosate alone. That approach just makes sense, period. Why, like Monsanto did, test a product that is virtually never used alone? That makes no sense.
The relevant facts, testing the GBHs used in real-world situations, rather than testing isolated glyphosate (technical) as Monsanto and its minions preferred to do, make the EPA’s rubber-stamping of glyphosate not only borderline criminal – given the now ubiquitous poisoning of so much of the living earth by glyphosate – but also completely irrelevant.