The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Monsanto Hires Internet Trolls to Cover Up Roundup’s Cancer Risk
By Josh Gay
Internet trolls, paid for by Monsanto, have been scouring the internet to hide the ugly truth about the herbicide Roundup and the dangers of glyphosate, while the chemical giant worked with government regulators to declare the product safe to use, even though it "probably" causes cancer.
According to court documents, Monsanto hired third parties to search out negative comments about their products and counter them with pseudo-scientific research commissioned by the company itself.
Mike Papantonio, of America's Lawyer, predicts that Monsanto will pay heavily in a jury trial and describes how the company even has trolled The Ring of Fire, while manipulating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
While Monsanto's despicable practices are nothing new, the latest round of accusations stem from new research confirming that chemicals in Roundup are carcinogenic.
In March of 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared that glyphosate, the key ingredient in the popular weed killer, "probably" causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer. Monsanto quickly attempted to discredit the report, demanding that the WHO explain their findings.
In the wake of that report, Monsanto stepped up their efforts to keep the public in the dark about the dangerous product. Dr. William Moar, a Monsanto executive, said at a conference in 2015 that the company had "an entire department" with the sole purpose of "debunking" science that threatened their bottom line, like the IARC report.
In fact, as internal emails revealed, Monsanto had staffers ghost-write favorable studies about glyphosate. The company would then pay experts to "just edit & sign their names" to the "findings." The documents also show that this is not the first time Monsanto undertook such efforts: "Recall that is how we handled Williams Kroes & Munro, 2000." That quote is in referencing the April 2000 study on Roundup that declared "that there is no indication of any human health concern." Monsanto, predictably, denies that they took part in ghost-writing scientific studies, saying that the allegations stem from a "single comment in a single email out of context."
"Monsanto tells us that Roundup is safe because scientists say it is safe. But apparently scientists sign their names, while Monsanto signs the checks. This calls into question multiple studies written or possibly ghostwritten, by agricultural scientists."
Monsanto's deception does not stop with scientific studies—government agencies are also eating out of the chemical giant's palm. In a statement, a representative for Monsanto said that:
"[N]o regulatory agency in the world considers glyphosate a carcinogen."
Of course, that claim is not without its own controversy. In March, Bloomberg reported that an EPA official bragged to Monsanto that he interfered with an investigation by the U.S. Health and Human Service Department. "If I can kill this I should get a medal," Jess Rowland, a manager within the EPA's pesticide division, told an official at Monsanto.
"Reports suggest that a senior official at the EPA worked to suppress a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review of glyphosate, and may have leaked information to Monsanto. I believe that a Department of Justice investigation is warranted to look into any potential misconduct by employees of the EPA. I also believe a congressional hearing is immediately warranted."
Additionally, court documents also show that Monsanto created a program called "Let Nothing Go," which sought to respond to any and all negative social media comments and posts about Roundup and its other products. The documents say:
"[T]hrough a series of third parties, ["Let Nothing Go"] employs individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry, who in turn post positive comments on news articles and Facebook posts, defending Monsanto, its chemicals and GMOs."
The program has become so prevalent that concerned citizens on social media have had to purposefully misspell the company's name to thwart the online trolls. One of the top comments on a Reddit discussion thread highlights the practice: "Everyone should spell Monsant0 with a zero, it allows rational discussion without the Monsant0 shills showing up."
It is no surprise that Monsanto is working so fiercely to defend their deadly chemicals. In 2015, the company achieved nearly $4.76 billion in herbicide sales, with the global market for glyphosate set to approach $10 billion within 5 years.
As for the trolls, our own Mike Papantonio offers this advice:
"Next time you're scrolling through social media, YouTube or even this website's comment section, remember that the trolls attacking you for no apparent reason may in fact be receiving an annual salary."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
It was early in the morning last Thursday, and Jonathan Butler was standing on the Fred Hartman Bridge, helping 11 fellow Greenpeace activists rappel down and suspend themselves over the Houston Ship Channel. The protesters dangled in the air most of the day, shutting down a part of one of the country's largest ports for oil.
By C.J. Polychroniou
Climate change is by far the most serious crisis facing the world today. At stake is the future of civilization as we know it. Yet, both public awareness and government action lag way behind what's needed to avert a climate change catastrophe. In the interview below, Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin discuss the challenges ahead and what needs to be done.
Food manufacturer General Mills issued a voluntary recall of more than 600,000 pounds, or about 120,000 bags, of Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour this week after a sample tested positive for a bacteria strain known to cause illness.
Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.
A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.
The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.
By Wudan Yan
In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."