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Monsanto Spied On Both Sides Of Pesticide Debate In At Least 7 European Nations

Monsanto Spied On Both Sides Of Pesticide Debate In At Least 7 European Nations

New details have emerged about the recently revealed dossier(s) Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, compiled to sway public opinion on herbicides. The dossier(s) included people from 7 European states and potentially beyond, according to a new report by RT

Monsanto files reportedly listed prominent public figures who were opinionated on either side of the herbicide debate. The list included “stakeholders in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as regarding stakeholders related to EU institutions.” 

Bayer says it has hired a law firm for the purpose of trying to determine whether similar lists exist in other states. 

Recall, about one week ago we reported that Bayer, which is being investigated by French prosecutors for compiling files of influential people such as journalists in France, likely did the same across Europe, suggesting a potentially wider problem.

French prosecutors said several weeks ago that they had opened an inquiry after newspaper Le Monde filed a complaint alleging that Monsanto – acquired by Bayer for $63 billion last year – had kept a file of 200 names, including journalists and lawmakers in hopes of influencing positions on pesticides. The list was said to be prepared by PR firm FleishmanHillard on behalf of Monsanto. 

“[We have] decided with the agency to end the collaboration in the areas of communication and public affairs for the time being,”  Bayer said, referring to PR firm FleishmanHillard.

Bayer acknowledged the existence of the files and said it does not believe any laws were broken.

It’s safe to say that other countries in Europe were affected by lists … I assume that all EU member states could potentially be affected,” Matthias Berninger, Bayer’s head of public affairs and sustainability, told journalists about a week ago.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Glyphosate is Good for You and You are a POS for not Agreeing

Glyphosate is Good for You and You are a POS for not Agreeing

While having an interesting discussion on the concerns of Monsanto’s widely used biocide glyphosate, better known as Round Up, I stumbled onto a corporate land mine. I received a torrent of vulgar insults, veiled threats and a blistering critique of my reputation as an environmental biology and marine science instructor of nearly 34 years. A simple conversation with a student I had in class nearly 20 years escalated into exposing the playbook of big tobacco and chemical company fierce defenders.

I replied to a post about roundup, Monsanto’s widely used herbicide. I questioned if this known biocide, Roundup, that is now being found in beer and wine is indeed safe?

Yes: I understand that the levels of Roundup in beer and wine, were found in incredibly low concentrations, in parts per billion, significantly lower than the 1-300 ppm allowed by the EPA in food crops. I was just following along in this discussion. And: I do have genuine concerns about the safely of Roundup. A study in Environmental Sciences Europe documents a staggering amount of this biocide, 1.8 million tons of glyphosate, has be used since its introduction in 1974. Worldwide, 9.4½million tons of the chemical have been sprayed onto fields. Now, homeowners can apply Glyphosate on their lawns, engineered to kill those weeks while our nation is literally awash in chemical poisons. Are we absolutely sure that Roundup does not cause cancer or disrupts crucial hormone messaging in our bodies? Having three grandchildren I worry. I worry a great deal. �Consider that Roundup use has exploded, with the onset of Roundup ready crops what are we putting into our soil and groundwater and foods?

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New Study Finds 41% Increase In Cancer Risk From Roundup’s Glyphosate

New Study Finds 41% Increase In Cancer Risk From Roundup’s Glyphosate

A comprehensive analysis of glyphosate – the most widely used weed-killing chemical in the world – reveals that those with the highest exposures to the popular herbicide have a 41% increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) cancer

The meta-analysis of six studies containing nearly 65,000 participants also looked at links between glyphosate-based herbicides and immunosuppression, endocrine disruption and genetic alterations

The study authors said their new meta-analysis evaluated all published human studies, including a 2018 updated government-funded study known as the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). Monsanto has cited the updated AHS study as proving that there is no tie between glyphosate and NHL. In conducting the new meta-analysis, the researchers said they focused on the highest exposed group in each study because those individuals would be most likely to have an elevated risk if in fact glyphosate herbicides cause NHL. –The Guardian

“Together, all of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to GBHs are associated with an increased risk of NHL,” concludes the report. 

The study, which looks at both human and animal studies also suggests that glyphosate “alters the gut microbiome,” which could “impact the immune system, promote chronic inflammation, and contribute to the susceptibility of invading pathogens.

Furthermore, glyphosate “may act as an endocrine disrupting chemical because it has been found recently to alter sex hormone production” in both male and female rats. 

Lastly, the study looks at genetic alterations caused by glyphosates, noting that several studies show glyphosates inducing “single- and double-strand DNA breaks,” oxidation, and other “genotoxicity” factors – though the researchers caution that this remains a controversial subject. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry

Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry

Back in 2016, I posed the question in The Ecologist whether regulators in the EU were acting as product promoters when it came to the relicensing of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. The renewal of the license for glyphosate in the EU was being debated at the time and much evidence pointed to collusion between regulators and corporate interests whose sales of the herbicide add up to many billions of dollars a year.

In that article, I referred to evidence presented in various documents written by environmentalist and campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason. Now, in the wake of a new, important paper by Charles Benbrook (14 January) in the journal ‘Environmental Sciences Europe’, Dr Mason has lodged a complaint with the European Ombudsman accusing European regulatory agencies of collusion with the agrochemicals industry.

Mason has been writing to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the EU Commission over a period of 18 months, challenging them about ECHA’s classification of glyphosate. She notes that many people around the world have struggled to understand how and why the US Environmental Protection Agency and the EFSA concluded that glyphosate is not genotoxic (damaging to DNA) or carcinogenic, whereas the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), came to the opposite conclusion.

The IARC stated that the evidence for glyphosate’s genotoxic potential is “strong” and that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. While IARC referenced only peer-reviewed studies and reports available in the public literature, the EPA relied heavily on unpublished regulatory studies commissioned by pesticide manufacturers.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Troubles of “Invasive” Plants: Collateral Damage, Monsanto, and the Tragedy of Pinyon-Juniper eradication

The Troubles of “Invasive” Plants: Collateral Damage, Monsanto, and the Tragedy of Pinyon-Juniper eradication

St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum). Photo by KtS

This is part one of a three part series. In this part we discuss: a) the negative effects of invasive plant removal methods, b) the involvement of Monsanto in popularizing invasion biology, and c) the tragedy of Pinyon-Juniper forest eradication in the western U.S. under the rubric of “native invasive species management.”

Defining “invasive species” is a slippery proposition.

The U.S. federal government defines it as “an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.”

The National Wildlife Federation elevate s environmental considerations, describing it as “any kind of living organism… that is not native to an ecosystem and causes harm.”

The Connecticut Audubon society is less discriminating about the effects of introduction. For them, an invasive is any “non-native species that has been introduced, either intentionally or accidentally into a new habitat or has escaped cultivation.”

A plant species doesn’t have to venture far outside its native range to be considered invasive. Such is the case of the endangered Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa ), which “ is a frequent target for the chain saws of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department—even though two small stands in Monterey, just fifty miles south, are cherished and protected as natives.” Meanwhile, a 500 mile drive north of its relict range , a large specimen planted by European settlers in the 1850’s is an officially designated “Oregon Heritage Tree,” which we assume grants it some safety.

The State of New York includes a native plant, Silphium perfoliatum , on their “Prohibited and Regulated Invasive Plants” list because its growth is “aggressive.” Here the non-native requirement has been dropped entirely because the plant has committed the crime of thriving.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New Study Suggests Glyphosate Can Kill Bees By Damaging Their Microbiomes

New Study Suggests Glyphosate Can Kill Bees By Damaging Their Microbiomes

We already know that glyphosate – the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide – can damage the human gut by killing beneficial bacteria. Now, an alarming new study has revealed that glyphosate can also damage the guts of honey bees.

The research, conducted at The University of Texas at Austin and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on September 24, shows that honey bees exposed to glyphosate lose some of the beneficial bacteria in their guts. This makes the bees more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.

Scientists believe this is evidence that glyphosate might be contributing to the years-long decline of honey bees and native bees around the world.

In a press release, the researchers explained their findings:

Because glyphosate interferes with an important enzyme found in plants and microorganisms, but not in animals, it has long been assumed to be nontoxic to animals, including humans and bees. But this latest study shows that by altering a bee’s gut microbiome — the ecosystem of bacteria living in the bee’s digestive tract, including those that protect it from harmful bacteria — glyphosate compromises its ability to fight infection.

To conduct the study, the research team took 2,000 honey bees from hives at the University of Texas campus and fed them either a low dose of glyphosate, a high dose, or a glyphosate-free syrup.

It didn’t take long for glyphosate to cause problems for the bees involved in the study: after only three days of exposure at levels known to occur in crop fields, yards, and roadsides, the herbicide significantly reduced healthy gut microbiota. “Of eight dominant species of healthy bacteria in the exposed bees, four were found to be less abundant. The hardest hit bacterial species, Snodgrassella alvi, is a critical microbe that helps bees process food and defends against pathogens,” the researchers reported.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Monsanto’s Glyphosate Linked To Global Decline In Honey Bees

Glyphosate, the world’s most common weed killer, has caused significant concerns over its potential risk to human health, animals, and the environment for several decades. Earlier this month, a US court awarded a groundskeeper $289 million who claimed Bayer AG unit Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, gave him terminal cancer.

Now, a new report from PNAS alleges that glyphosate may be indirectly killing honey bees around the world, a threat that could potentially also leave a major mark on the global economy.

Brandnew research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that bees exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, lose critical bacterial in their guts and are more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.

The report titled “Glyphosate perturbs the gut microbiota of honey bees,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) on September 24. It provides enough evidence that glyphosate could be seen as the contributing factor to the rapid decline of honey bees around the world, otherwise known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind the queen.

“We need better guidelines for glyphosate use, especially regarding bee exposure, because right now the guidelines assume bees are not harmed by the herbicide,” said Erick Motta, the graduate student who led the research, along with professor Nancy Moran.

“Our study shows that’s not true.”

UT News of The University of Texas at Austin says that glyphosate interferes with an important enzyme found in plants and microorganisms, but not in animals, it has long been assumed to be nontoxic to animals, including humans and bees.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Dave Murphy: Will Monsanto’s Loss Result In Less Poison In Our Food?

rganicconsumers.org/

Dave Murphy: Will Monsanto’s Loss Result In Less Poison In Our Food?

An update on the situation with glyphosate

In November 2016, a very concerning report — Glyphosate: Unsafe On Any Plate — was released by The Detox Project and Food Democracy Now!, raising the alarm of the high levels of glyphosate in the US food supply and the (deliberate?) low levels of awareness of its associated health risks.

Soon after its release, we brought Dave Murphy, executive director of Food Democracy Now!, on the podcast to explain the explosive findings within this report on the world’s most-used herbicide (more commonly known by its retail brand: Roundup). We asked: Are we being poisoned in the pursuit of profit?

As happened in past decades with the alcohol and tobacco industries, the glyphosate report added compelling evidence that profits have indeed taken a priority over consumer safety in our food production system — and as public health concerns mounted, Big Ag started circling its wagons and attacking the questioners rather than embracing open scrutiny.

But last month, the tables turned. In a landmark upset ruling, Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller was ruled to be carcinogenic, and the company’s attempt to hide this fact from consumers made it guilty of acting “with malice or oppression”. Monsanto’s new parent company Bayer was ordered to pay the plaintiff, a former school groundskeeper now dying of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, $289 million in damages.

Will this court ruling restrict the use of glyphosate going forward? Or will it be de-fanged upon appeal? What else has been learned about the health impacts of glyphosate in our food since the 2016 report? What is the latest science telling us?

To address these important questions and more, we welcome Dave Murphy back on the program.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bayer Beware: Lawyers Claim To Have “Explosive” Monsanto Documents

Lawyers involved in a California lawsuit against Monsanto claim to have “explosive” documents concerning the Bayer-owned agrochemical giant’s activities in Europe, according to Euronews.

“What we have is the tip of the iceberg. And in fact we have documents now in our possession, several hundreds documents, that have not been declassified and some of those are explosive,” said US lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr, adding

“And many of them are pertinent to what Monsanto did here in Europe. And that’s just the beginning.”

Monsanto – bought by Germany’s Bayer AG in June for $66 billion, was ordered in August to pay a historic $289 million to a former school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, who said Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller gave him terminal cancer. Monsanto says it will appeal the verdict.

Environmental lawyers have been in Brussels in order to address a European Parliament special committee on the issue.

“They are fighting a fight for more democracy and for transparency and to get a better insight in how big corporation such as Monsanto act and try to manipulate the facts,” said Belgium MEP Bart Staes.

Last November EU approved the use of glyphosate – a key chemical in Roundup, following five years of heated debate over whether it causes cancer. While it was approved for just five years until 2022 vs. the usual 15 years, there are now rumors that they will withdraw Roundup’s license this year altogether.

Labeled a carcinogen by the EPA in 1985, the agency reversed its stance on glyphosate in 1991. The World Health Organization’s cancer research agency, however, classified the compound as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015. California, meanwhile, has the chemical listed in its Proposition 65 registry of chemicals known to cause cancer.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Monsanto-Bayer: Eliminating the Name Will Not Erase the History

Monsanto-Bayer: Eliminating the Name Will Not Erase the History

We will continue to reclaim citizens’ rights, as well as those of small and medium producers, who, despite being crushed by the current market mechanisms, are the only ones providing us with healthy and nutritious food

"According to Reuters, the number of lawsuits brought against Bayer’s newly acquired Monsanto is approximately 8000 in the US alone." (Photo: Monsanto Tribunal/flickr/cc)

“According to Reuters, the number of lawsuits brought against Bayer’s newly acquired Monsanto is approximately 8000 in the US alone.” (Photo: Monsanto Tribunal/flickr/cc)

Cancelling out Monsanto’s name and keeping only that of Bayer, does not mean forgetting the wrong doings of a company which, according to the verdict of the Monsanto Tribunal of The Hague, is stained with crimes of ecocide. With Bayer’s official takeover of  Monsanto, the giant multinational also inherits its liabilities. On the eve of the start of the integration process , Monsanto has been held liable for causing cancer through the use of its glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup and ordered to pay $289 million of damages to the plaintiff Dewayne Lee Johnson in the first landmark case, settled in California in mid August 2018. The jury also found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression.” According to Reuters, the number of lawsuits brought against Bayer’s newly acquired Monsanto is approximately 8000 in the US alone. UN experts Ms Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food and Mr. Dainius Pūras, Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health, defined the ruling “a significant recognition of the human rights of victims, and the responsibilities of chemical companies.”

“At least starting 20 years ago, Monsanto has known that their product can cause cancer, and has gone out of its way to ignore it and/or fight any science that suggests a link.”

Revelations in reports published last year, most notably the “Monsanto Papers” and the “Poison Papers“, have shed light on strategies of big agrochemical groups to expand their empires: from lobbying, interference in government agencies’ proceedings, attacks in collusion with institutions on independent science, to mega mergers and acquisitions.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Weed-Killing Carcinogen Glyphosate Found In Children’s Foods

Weed-Killing Carcinogen Glyphosate Found In Children’s Foods

The known carcinogen and infamous weed killing chemical glyphosate has just been found in breakfast foods marketed for children. A new study has discovered trace amounts of the most widely used herbicide in the country in oats, granolas, and snack bars.

Concern over glyphosate has continued to grow in the United States in recent years.  Although the chemical may be safe in some amounts to spray on weeds if certain safety precautions are taken, it is probably a lot more dangerous if it’s ingested by a child. Most disturbing, however, is the fact that thirty-one out of 45 tested products had levels of glyphosate that were higher than what many scientists consider safe for children.

The study, which was conducted by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that many of the breakfast foods marketed to children contain glyphosate.  “I was shocked,” said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, who heads the Council on Environmental Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Although not much is known about the effects of the chemical on children, parents and doctors are concerned. “We don’t know a lot about the effects of glyphosate on children,” Lowry said. “And essentially we’re just throwing it at them.”

We’re very concerned that consumers are eating more glyphosate than they know,” said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at EWG, according to CBS News. Faber has been working to improve food safety standards for more than a decade. He said he and his team at EWG conducted the study which included a lab test involving “45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats.” The researchers found glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the Monsanto weed-killer Roundup, in all but two of the products.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Lawyer: Monsanto Bullied Scientists And Hid Weedkiller’s Cancer Risks

Lawyer: Monsanto Bullied Scientists And Hid Weedkiller’s Cancer Risks

A lawyer on Monday argued that Roundup creator Monsanto hid the cancer-causing effects of their weedkiller and bullied scientists into making claims it was safe. In a landmark lawsuit against the global chemical corporation, the lawyer didn’t hold back in his accusations against Monsanto.

“Monsanto has specifically gone out of its way to bully … and to fight independent researchers,” said the attorney Brent Wisner, who presented internal Monsanto emails that he said showed how the agrochemical company rejected critical research and expert warnings over the years while pursuing and helping to write favorable analyses of their products. “They fought science,” added Wisner, who is representing Dwayne Johnson.  Johnson alleges Monsanto is to blame for the cancer that has been aggressively spreading throughout his entire body.

According to The Guardian, Johnson (also known as Lee) is a father of three and a former school groundskeeper, who doctors say may have just mere months to live. He is the first person to take Monsanto to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the Roundup brand is linked to cancer although thousands have made similar legal claims across the United States.  This lawsuit focuses on the chemical glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, which Monsanto began marketing as Roundup in 1974.  The company began by presenting it as a “technological breakthrough” that could kill almost every weed without harming humans or the environment.

Monsanto lawyer George Lombardi alleged that the body of research over the past decades was on the company’s side. “The scientific evidence is overwhelming that glyphosate-based products do not cause cancer and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,” Lombardi claimed in his opening statements.

Unfortunately for Lombardi, many studies have shown his statements as fallacious.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Everything That Dies Does Not Come Back


Charles Sprague Pearce The Arab jeweler c1882

There are a lot of industries in our world that wreak outsized amounts of havoc. Think the biggest global banks and oil companies. Think plastics. But there is one field that is much worse than all others: agro-chemicals. At some point, not that long ago, the largest chemical producers, who until then had kept themselves busy producing Agent Orange, nerve agents and chemicals used in concentration camp showers, got the idea to use their products in food production.

While they had started out with fertilizers etc., they figured making crops fully dependent on their chemicals would be much more lucrative. They bought themselves ever more seeds and started manipulating them. And convinced more and more farmers, or rather food agglomerates, that if there were ‘pests’ that threatened their yields, they should simply kill them, rather than use natural methods to control them.

And in monocultures that actually makes sense. It’s the monoculture itself that doesn’t. What works in nature is (bio)diversity. It’s the zenith of cynicism that the food we need to live is now produced by a culture of death. Because that is what Monsanto et al represent: Their solution to whatever problem farmers may face is to kill it with poison. But that will end up killing the entire ecosystem a farmer operates within, and depends on.

However, the Monsantos of the planet produce much more ‘research’ material than anybody else, and it all says that the demise of ecosystems into which their products are introduced, has nothing to do with these products. And by the time anyone can prove the opposite, it will be too late: the damage will have been done through cross-pollination. Monsanto can then sue anyone who has crops that show traces of its genetically altered proprietary seeds, even if the last thing a farmer wants is to include those traces.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Big Tech Backlash of 2018

Herbert Ponting Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition, Antarctica 1911

Something must be terribly wrong with the world. A few days ago Elizabeth Warren agreed with Trump on China, now Bernie Sanders agrees with him about Amazon. What’s happening?

Bernie Sanders Agrees With Trump: Amazon Has Too Much Power

Independent Vermont senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders echoed President Donald Trump in expressing concern about retail giant Amazon. Sanders said that he felt Amazon had gotten too big on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, and added that Amazon’s place in society should be examined.

“And I think this is, look, this is an issue that has got to be looked at. What we are seeing all over this country is the decline in retail. We’re seeing this incredibly large company getting involved in almost every area of commerce. And I think it is important to take a look at the power and influence that Amazon has,” said Sanders.

A backlash against Facebook, a backlash against Amazon. Are these things connected? Actually, yes, they are connected. But not in a way that either Trump or Sanders has clued in to. Someone who has, a for now lone voice, is David Stockman. Here’s what he wrote last week.

The Donald’s Blind Squirrel Nails An Acorn

It is said that even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn, and so it goes with the Donald. Banging on his Twitter keyboard in the morning darkness, he drilled Jeff Bezos a new one – or at least that’s what most people would call having their net worth lightened by about $2 billion:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Science of a Vanishing Planet


Dorothea Lange Gravestone St. George, Utah 1953
There are numerous ways to define the Precautionary Principle. It’s something we can all intuitively understand, but which many parties seek ways to confuse since it has the potential to stand in the way of profits. Still, in the end it should all be about proof, not profits. That is exactly what the Principle addresses. Because if you first need to deliver scientific proof that some action or product can be harmful to mankind and/or the natural world, you run the risk of inflicting irreversible damage before that proof can be delivered.

In one of many definitions, the 1998 Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle says: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

Needless to say, that doesn’t easily fly in our age of science and money. Cigarette makers, car manufacturers and oil companies, just to name a few among a huge number of industries, are all literally making a killing while the Precautionary Principle is being ignored. Even as it is being cited in many international treaties. Lip service “R” us. Are these industries to blame when they sell us our products, or are we for buying them? That’s where governments must come in to educate us about risks. Which they obviously do not.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb -of Black Swan and Antifragile fame- has made the case, in his usual strong fashion, for applying the Precautionary Principle when it comes to GMOs. His argument is that allowing genetically modified organisms in our eco- and foodsystems carries unknown risks that we have no way of overseeing, and that these risks may cause irreversible damage to the very systems mankind relies on for survival.

Taleb is not popular among GMO producers. Who all insist there is no evidence that their products cause harm. But that is not the point. The Precautionary Principle, if it is to be applied, must turn the burden of proof on its head. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Monsanto et al must prove that their products do no harm. They can not. Which is why they have, and need, huge lobbying, PR and legal departments.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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