June 3, 2019 – Los Angeles, California – – At the end of April, the third Roundup cancer trial of Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Company was nearing its end. The primary two trials resulted in landmark defeats for Monsanto (now Bayer). Jury verdicts value a combined $369 million led to monumental drops in Bayer’s inventory worth and considerations that a shuffling of personnel inside the boardroom is perhaps imminent.
But on April 30, as Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman lawyer Brent Wisner and the authorized staff representing Alva and Alberta Pilliod have been getting ready for closing arguments, the U.S. Environmental Safety Agency (EPA) threw Monsanto a well-timed lifeline by releasing its 2019 evaluation for glyphosate, a key ingredient in Roundup.
Nobody on the Pilliod legal group was completely stunned that the EPA report discovered glyphosate just isn’t carcinogenic, however the timing and the small print of the report itself have been suspect.
“If you read the document, it literally reads like the opening statement from Monsanto during our trial,” stated Wisner. “It was—Monsanto wants a report; EPA brings it.”
Attorneys for Monsanto sprang into action and immediately filed a request with the courtroom to permit the jury in the Pilliod trial to see the newly released EPA report. In response, attorneys for the Pilliods filed an opposition to Monsanto’s request, which included a 2018 report from Hakluyt, a strategic intelligence and advisory agency hired by Monsanto to gauge regulatory attitudes for glyphosate.
Monsanto hired Hakluyt & Company to “take the temperature on current regulatory attitudes for glyphosate.” Amongst different issues, the Hakluyt report famous that a White House official stated Monsanto might rely on the Trump administration to be an ally on pesticides regulation:
“A domestic policy adviser at the White House said, for instance: ‘We have Monsanto’s back on pesticides regulation. We are prepared to go toe-to-toe on any disputes they may have with, for example, the EU. Monsanto need not fear any additional regulation from this administration.”
In response to the Pilliods’ attorneys, the Hakluyt report speaks “directly to the credibility of the 2019 EPA glyphosate evaluation, issued by an administration which holds itself out as favoring Monsanto’s business interests.”
Hakluyt & Co, consulting firm that employs former intel officers to assist gather information for corp shoppers, was retained by Monsanto to review risks on glyphosate, a possible carcinogen.
Memo quotes Trump WH official: “We have Monsanto’s back on pesticides.” pic.twitter.com/T4lsj8xinl
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) Might 7, 2019
On Might 13, the Pilliod trial culminated in a historic verdict value $2.055 billion, possible one of many largest jury verdicts in the country this yr. Following the defeat, officials at Bayer stated kind of the same factor they stated after previous losses; EPA says glyphosate is protected.
Whereas that could be true, the Hakluyt report serves as one other instance demonstrating that EPA is extra considering having Monsanto’s back than it’s in protecting the general public from harmful chemical compounds.
EPA Has Buried its Head in the Sand on Roundup Since Inception
In his closing argument in Pilliod v. Monsanto Firm, Brent Wisner advised the jury that Roundup was “born in fraud.” EPA permitted glyphosate in 1974 based mostly (partially) on studies carried out at Industrial Bio-Check Laboratories (IBT). A subsequent EPA evaluation of the info, nevertheless, found that the glyphosate studies contained inaccuracies and that IBT routinely falsified knowledge.
One EPA reviewer famous at the time that it was “hard to believe the scientific integrity of the studies when they said they took specimens of the uterus from male rabbits.”
Following EPA’s assessment, a federal jury discovered three IBT officers guilty of trying to defraud the federal government by overlaying up inaccurate research knowledge. However, the company permitted Monsanto to proceed promoting its herbicide despite the fraudulent testing.
When Monsanto lastly agreed to EPA’s requests to retest glyphosate after the IBT scandal, a 1983 research discovered a statistically vital number of benign and malignant kidney tumors in a gaggle of male mice exposed to glyphosate. In 1985, eight members of the EPA’s toxicology department signed a consensus evaluation of glyphosate stating they have been classifying glyphosate as a Category C oncogen, a substance “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
Monsanto fought the classification for years, balking at the agency’s affordable request to repeat the mouse research that discovered kidney tumors. The stonewalling worked as EPA ultimately relented and categorised glyphosate as Category E, “evidence of non-carcinogenicity in humans.”
Apparently, that 1983 mouse research that reported kidney tumors was among these cited by the Worldwide Company for Research on Cancer (IARC) in its classification for glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.”
In 1991, another laboratory conducting research for Monsanto was embroiled in scandal. Craven Laboratories performed analytical chemistry studies for Monsanto for a decade, conducting 9 of the 15 residue research (analysis of foods for trace amounts of chemical compounds) needed to register Roundup. Based on a New York Occasions report, Craven fabricated Roundup residue research relied upon by EPA.
Remarkably, EPA was unmoved by the fraudulent testing. “Based on what we know, we don’t think there is an environmental or health problem,” stated Linda Fisher, who was then assistant administrator for pesticides and toxic substances at EPA. “First of all, we’re dealing with allegations. Right now we’re moving out to take preventive measures.”
A federal grand jury indicted Don Craven, owner of Craven Laboratories, with felony counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, making false statements, concealment of material information, and obstructing EPA proceedings. Different staff have been implicated. Craven Laboratories was heavily fined.
Monsanto, the beneficiary of the fraudulent knowledge from each IBT and Craven, was largely unaffected by either scandal. Glyphosate-based herbicides remained on the cabinets and continued to usher in large income for the agrochemical big.
Linda Fisher spent one other four years working at EPA earlier than she was employed by Monsanto in 1995 to go the company’s Washington D.C. office. She later returned to EPA in 2001.
In 2015, not long after IARC concluded that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen, Monsanto acquired wind that the U.S. Department of Well being and Human Providers Company for Poisonous Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) meant to guage glyphosate.
Based on courtroom documents, a senior EPA official named Jess Rowland from the Workplace of Pesticide Packages informed Monsanto government, Daniel Jenkins, that he can be recreation to attempt to kill the ATSDR evaluate.
“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland stated to Jenkins.
A pair months later, Monsanto scientist Eric Sachs reached out to former EPA official Mary Manibusan, who worked with Rowland at EPA, to ask if she knew anyone at ATSDR. “We’re trying to do everything we can to keep from having a domestic IARC occur w this group. may need your help,” wrote Sachs by way of text message.
“Sweetheart I know lots of people. You can count of me,” Manibusan responded.
Monsanto’s efforts paid off—ATSDR’s glyphosate evaluate was positioned on maintain.
ATSDR finally did conduct its glyphosate evaluation and released it in April 2019, just a couple weeks earlier than EPA launched its analysis. Contrary to EPA, nevertheless, ATSDR confirmed the glyphosate most cancers danger.
As for Rowland and Manibusan, after they left EPA, both went to work as consultants for the chemical industry.
What Else Does the Hakluyt Report Say?
The Hakluyt report is noteworthy not simply because of the Trump White House’s purported backing of Monsanto on pesticide regulation; it details a rift at most authorities businesses between “political” employees and “professional” employees on points corresponding to pesticide regulation, climate science and other issues.
“While this appears to be true of various agencies – Health and Human Services, Commerce, Education, Interior, the Food and Drug Administration, and so on – the EPA may be the leading example of this phenomenon,” the report says.
Usually talking, skilled employees are scientists who have labored at an agency for a few years, in some instances. Political employees are appointees. Per the Hakluyt report, the glyphosate problem is one flashpoint for this rift. A outstanding Washington D.C. regulation firm associate who has “extensive contacts at the EPA” is quoted as saying:
“In essence, the political leadership favors deregulation and dismisses the expert risk analysis. It is especially averse to theoretical risk analysis, for example, on the risks of glyphosate, about which a scientific consensus is yet to form … With regard to glyphosate, in particular, the differences between political and professional staff are sharp.”
Inside EPA, skilled staffers reportedly have “doubts about glyphosate,” however these doubts “are not shared by the EPA’s leadership,” and thus, not more likely to get in the best way, the Hakluyt report says.
“We heard a unanimous view from senior levels of the EPA (and USDA) that glyphosate is not seen as carcinogenic, and that this is highly unlikely to change under this administration—whatever the level of disconnect between political and professional staffers.”
Hakluyt Report is Extra Proof Confirming EPA is a Captured Agency
The documented history of shut ties between Monsanto and EPA, the Trump White House’s backing of industry, the rift between political and professional employees at EPA, and the ascendancy of the political points of view inside the agency—it is all enough to make you ponder whether we will belief EPA on glyphosate. It’s deeply troubling that non-industry specialists and well being businesses like IARC and ATSDR are finding a link between glyphosate and cancer when EPA is towing the company line for Monsanto and Bayer, finding that glyphosate doesn’t trigger cancer.
“EPA has got it wrong on glyphosate,” says Brent Wisner. “Currently, this administration and this EPA will not take action against Monsanto. We’ve seen the internal documents, the text messages, the emails between senior EPA officials and Monsanto employees, and the simple fact is they know that this EPA will not take adverse action against them. It is a travesty that this truth about it causing cancer and this awareness that we’re trying to raise has to be done in the context of litigation … these lawsuits only exist because the EPA has failed the American public for 45 years.”
“The Hakluyt report shows us just how deep it runs. And it’s not just a political thing, but it’s actually in the staffers themselves. The fact that the White House is telling Monsanto, ‘We have your back,’ it just tells us that we’re going to have to keep fighting this fight and that we are not going to get any support or help from the public agencies that ironically are supposed to be protecting the public health.”