Advocacy Group Demands Monsanto Retract Ridiculous Comments on WHO Glyphosate Report

In response to the World Health Organization’s decision to classify the weed-killer glyphosate as a “probably carcinogenic to humans,” Monsanto’s top executive pulled out the rhetorical machine guns, launching an all-out attack against the prestigious international health agency and its scientists.

“Mr. Grant and Monsanto should immediately retract these ridiculous comments and instead turn their attention to the potential risks their product poses to customers, farm workers and the millions of others who are exposed to glyphosate," said Ken Cook, president and co-founder of Environmental Working Group.

“It’s unfortunate that junk science and this kind of mischief can create so much confusion for consumers,” said Hugh Grant, Monsanto’s chairman and CEO, during a call with investors.

Grant was referring to the unanimous conclusion reached by 17 of the world’s leading cancer experts who reviewed hundreds of government and independent studies of the potential health risks from exposure to glyphosate—the main ingredient in Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide, marketed as RoundUp.

Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and herself a nationally-recognized expert on pesticides and human health, described in great detail the process the scientists went through in deciding to elevate the cancer assessment of the crop chemical to “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

“Mr. Grant and Monsanto should immediately retract these ridiculous comments and instead turn their attention to the potential risks their product poses to customers, farm workers and the millions of others who are exposed to glyphosate," said Ken Cook, president and co-founder of Environmental Working Group. “A good start would be to fund an independent testing program for glyphosate in air in the Midwest—including towns and cities—during the Roundup saturation-spray season. We’d be happy to help the company design and execute a plan to expand on the U.S. Geological Survey work that found its weed-killer everywhere—air, water, even rainfall—in the areas where it is heavily used.”

Cook added, “Mr. Grant and his investors may need a refresher into Monsanto’s history of mischief and misdeeds that have caused immeasurable harm to people and the environment. Does Anniston, Alabama ring a bell? Monsanto is in the pantheon of chemical companies with a long rap sheet of environmental and public health harm and deception.”

In the May 2008 edition of Vanity Fair, journalists Donald Bartlett and James Steele documented a multitude of transgressions by the seed and pesticide giant in a blistering investigative report. They wrote:

The Monsanto Company has never been one of America’s friendliest corporate citizens. Given Monsanto’s current dominance in the field of bioengineering, it’s worth looking at the company’s own DNA. The future of the company may lie in seeds, but the seeds of the company lie in chemicals. Communities around the world are still reaping the environmental consequences of Monsanto’s origins.

These are just a few more highlights of Monsanto’s history of bad behavior:

Monsanto Co. routinely discharged toxic waste into a west Anniston creek and dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into oozing open-pit landfills. And thousands of pages of Monsanto documents—many emblazoned with warnings such as “CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy”—show that for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew.

In 1966, Monsanto managers discovered that fish submerged in that creek turned belly-up within 10 seconds, spurting blood and shedding skin as if dunked into boiling water. They told no one. In 1969, they found fish in another creek with 7,500 times the legal PCB levels. They decided “there is little object in going to expensive extremes in limiting discharges.”


EPA Approves GMO Weed Killer Enlist Duo in Nine More States

Monsanto Demands World Health Organization Retract Report That Says Roundup Is Linked to Cancer

Why You Should Buy Organic Food for You and Your Family

Show Comments ()

Three Outlandish Ideas to Cool the Planet

By Jeremy Deaton

Climate change is a big, ugly, unwieldy problem, and it's getting worse by the day. Emissions are rising. Ice is melting, and virtually no one is taking the carbon crisis as seriously as the issue demands. Countries need to radically overhaul their energy systems in just a few short decades, replacing coal, oil and gas with clean energy. Even if countries overcome the political obstacles necessary to meet that aim, they can expect heat waves, drought and storms unseen in the history of human civilization and enough flooding to submerge Miami Beach.

Keep reading... Show less

Those Little Produce Stickers? They’re a Big Waste Problem

By Dan Nosowitz

Those little produce stickers are ubiquitous fruits and vegetables everywhere. But, as CBC notes, they're actually a significant problem despite their small size.

Keep reading... Show less

Despite Trump’s Bluster, U.S. Officials and Scientists Maintain Climate Work with International Partners

Trump has loudly declared his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement, but, behind the tweets and the headlines, U.S. officials and scientists have carried on working with international partners to fight climate change, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Keep reading... Show less
Gina Loudon and administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Gage Skidmore

EPA Sued Over Failure to Release Correspondence With Heartland Institute

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being sued for its "unlawful and unreasonable delay" in responding to requests for information about the agency's communications with the Heartland Institute, according to a complaint by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

The Heartland Institute is an Illinois-based think tank that rejects the science of man-made climate change and has received funding from the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry.

Keep reading... Show less
Trump Watch
Aerial photo of Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill. Wake Forest University Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability

Trump Administration Seeks to Gut Water Pollution Safeguards, Putting Communities at Risk

By Mary Anne Hitt

A Hollywood scriptwriter couldn't make this up. One day after new data revealed widespread toxic water contamination near coal ash disposal sites, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt announced a proposal to repeal the very 2015 EPA safeguards that had required this data to be tracked and released in the first place. Clean water is a basic human right that should never be treated as collateral damage on a corporate balance sheet, but that is exactly what is happening.

Keep reading... Show less
Impossible Foods

Impossible Burger Executive Grilled at Sustainable Foods Summit

An executive from a company selling a genetically engineered meat alternative faced tough questions at the Sustainable Foods Summit held in San Francisco at the end of January.

Keep reading... Show less
Elephant family in Kenya. Nzomo Victor / Flickr

Why Trump’s New Trophy Hunting Council Is a Disaster

By Elly Pepper

In early November—the same week the Trump administration announced its disastrous decision to allow elephant and lion trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia—the administration decided to create an advisory committee, the International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC), to advise Trump on how to enhance trophy hunters' ability to hunt internationally.

Yup, that means the administration now has a council dedicated exclusively to promoting the killing of more imperiled species, like elephants and lions, for sport. The council's mandate includes counseling Trump on the economic, conservation, and anti-poaching benefits of trophy hunting, of which there are very few. Sadly, Trump doesn't want advice on the many drawbacks of trophy hunting.

Keep reading... Show less
A robot bee from a season three episode of Black Mirror on Netflix

Walmart Files Patent for Robot Bees

With the mass die-off of bees spelling trouble for agriculture, the world's largest retailer has filed patents for the use of "unmanned vehicles," or drones, to aid with pollination and crop production.

In U.S. Patent Office documents made public last week, Walmart has applied for six patents on drones designed to identify pest damage, spray pesticides and pollinate plants.

Keep reading... Show less


The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!