Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Monsanto Secretly Funded Glyphosate Studies, Watchdog Finds

Business
A French farmer sprays glyphosate herbicide on a cornfield on March 21, 2019 in Saint-Leonard-des-Bois, northwestern France. JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

A new investigation revealed that Monsanto funneled money to secretly fund academic studies that warned of catastrophic consequences to farmers if glyphosate was banned in the UK, according to research from the German watchdog LobbyControl, as The Guardian reported.


The two studies in question come from 2010 and 2014, which was before the German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018. Upon learning of the secret funding, Bayer said the failure to disclose it violated the company's principles, according to The Guardian.

"This is an unacceptable form of opaque lobbying," said Ulrich Müller at LobbyControl, as The Guardian reported. "Citizens, media and decision-makers should know who pays for studies on subjects of public interest. The studies also used very high figures for the benefits of glyphosate and for possible losses in case of a ban. These extreme figures were then used to spin the debate."

However, the authors of the two studies said that the funding did not influence their findings. The 2010 study, called How Valuable is Glyphosate to UK Agriculture and the Environment? touted glyphosate for "a wide range of benefits to users." It said that glyphosate binds to soil and rarely leaches into groundwater. It does mention that glyphosate is sometimes found in surface water, but far below levels that would register as toxic. It then goes on to discuss how a ban of glyphosate would upend UK farming and gardening.

The 2014 study followed a similar line of reasoning. The study, titled Glyphosate Use on Combinable Crops in Europe: Implications for Agriculture and the Environment, also mentioned that glyphosate is highly water soluble and does not readily leach into soil or water and is found in less than 1 percent of water samples. It then goes on to assess "the value of glyphosate use across wheat, winter barley and oilseed rape in Europe."

And yet, one of the lead researchers Sarah Wynn said the funding did not influence her research. She told The Guardian, "As with other companies in our field, it is entirely normal for external organizations to fund research studies. However, it has always been our core principle that our research is never influenced in any way by those that fund us."

Wynn and her colleagues, unsurprisingly, came down in favor of continued glyphosate use. The research concluded, "the loss of glyphosate would cause very severe impacts on UK agriculture and the environment," as The Guardian reported. In the 2014 study they concluded that Europe would see a 20 percent fall in wheat and rapeseed production if glyphosate were banned.

Other researchers came to a different conclusion, noting that farming practices would change. The Andersons Centre at Oxford Economics challenged the conclusion of the Monsanto-funded studies.

In its report on a glyphosate ban in the UK, it said, "The Andersons Centre believe that this may be rather high given the mitigation efforts and the rotational changes discussed elsewhere. A similar process has been undertaken for all the major crops grown in the UK, using the best available data and knowledge of industry experts."

The 2010 and 2014 studies were instrumental in the lobbying efforts of the National Farmers Union and others to successfully campaign against a European ban of glyphosate in 2017, as The Guardian reported. The new revelations have spurred the National Farmers Union to note the source of the funding on its glyphosate information.

The National Farmers Union was not alone in using the research. Industry lobbyings groups the Glyphosate Task Force (now renamed the Glyphosate Renewal Group), also used the research, as did the Crop Protection Association, according to The Guardian.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Daniel Yetman

Bleach and vinegar are common household cleaners used to disinfect surfaces, cut through grime, and get rid of stains. Even though many people have both these cleaners in their homes, mixing them together is potentially dangerous and should be avoided.

Read More Show Less
During a protest action on May 30 in North Rhine-Westphalia, Datteln in front of the site of the Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant, Greenpeace activists projected the lettering: "Climate crisis - Made in Germany" onto the cooling tower. Guido Kirchner / picture alliance / Getty Images

Around 500 climate activists on Saturday gathered outside the new Datteln 4 coal power plant in Germany's Ruhr region, to protest against its opening.

Read More Show Less
Dr. Mark Brunswick (2R), Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality, walks through the lab at Sorrento Therapeutics in San Diego, California on May 22. ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP / Getty Images

By Julia Ries

Around the world, there have been several cases of people recovering from COVID-19 only to later test positive again and appear to have another infection.

Read More Show Less

By Samantha Hepburn

In the expansion of its iron ore mine in Western Pilbara, Rio Tinto blasted the Juukan Gorge 1 and 2 — Aboriginal rock shelters dating back 46,000 years. These sites had deep historical and cultural significance.

Read More Show Less
Meadow Lake wind farm in Indiana. Anthony / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

The first official tallies are in: Coronavirus-related shutdowns helped slash daily global emissions of carbon dioxide by 14 percent in April. But the drop won't last, and experts estimate that annual emissions of the greenhouse gas are likely to fall only about 7 percent this year.

Read More Show Less
Andrey Nikitin / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst

Plants are awesome. They brighten up your space and give you a living thing you can talk to when there are no humans in sight.

Turns out, having enough of the right plants can also add moisture (aka humidify) indoor air, which can have a ton of health benefits.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A bald eagle chick inside a nest in Rutland, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
A bald eagle nest with eggs has been discovered in Cape Cod for the first time in 115 years, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Mass Wildlife), as Newsweek reported.
Read More Show Less