How the ruling that condemned Monsanto in the United States impacts our country and the world. Why SENASA should take note and act accordingly. The emails that reveal that the company is hiding information about the toxicity of its products.
The conviction of August 10, in the case of Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto Company, marks a severe setback for the company now owned by Bayer. It is an unprecedented judicial precedent that alerts about the danger of Roundup shedding light - supported by solid evidential documents - on the way in which that company withheld information and influenced regulatory agencies to keep its product on the market.
In Argentina, it is the National Service for Agrifood Health and Quality (SENASA) - dependent on the Agroindustry portfolio - which authorizes these chemical products, based on the safety studies of the companies that produce them. Different investigations show that these regulatory agencies act in collusion with companies and do not fulfill their role of protecting public health (see here). After the US ruling, is it valid to continue to maintain the "safety" label with which the RoundUp is marketed in our country?
Argentina holds the sad record of using 350 million liters per year of this substance, which is already present in food, rivers and even rainwater.
In the text of the verdict of the recent trial, Monsanto was found guilty of acting willfully or abusively in concealing the risk in the design of two of its Glyphosate-based herbicides. "The Roundup Pro® or Ranger Pro® posed potential risks that were known or could be known in light of generally accepted scientific knowledge in the scientific community at the time of their production, distribution or sale",affirmed the jury upholding its verdict in the evidence presented by the defense and supported by the internal documents of Monsanto itself (see here).
Many of these tests are part of what is known as Monsanto Papers: thousands and thousands of documents obtained by the NGO USRTK, through requests for public information and by lawyers from different cases against Roundup in the more than 4000 litigation that await his turn in court. Documents that lavaca.org makes available from a site especially monsantopapers.lavaca.org for the right to information.
Monsanto Argentina assures on its page"That glyphosate, when used correctly, does not present risks to human health, wildlife or the environment". After the ruling, in addition to anticipating that they would appeal the jury's decision, they once again assured the media that their products are safe.
Glyphosate was classified in 2015 by the IARC (WHO International Agency for Cancer) as genotoxic, carcinogenic in animals and probably carcinogenic in humans. As documented in the monsanto papers, the EPA must explain the relationship with the company, suspicions of influencing EFSA negotiations (although the European regulatory agency denied this in a statement) and other agencies such as the Agency for Toxic Substances and the Disease Registry, ASTDR, a federal public health agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, to prevent this new cancer hazard status from advancing elsewhere (see here).
Brent Wisner, the attorney representing many of the cancer victims suing Monsanto, said the documents offer compelling evidence of inappropriate links between the EPA and the chemical company in efforts to avoid further safety reviews following the re-categorization of the IARC. "I think it's very clear that EPA officials and Monsanto employees worked together to achieve the goal of stopping an analysis at ATSDR," Wisner said. ASTDR planned to update a glyphosate safety review that was suspected to be in line with the IARC decision. The study "was drafted" after conversations by Monsanto employees and EPA employee Jess Rowland, who openly offered in an email in April 2015 his willingness to stop ATSDR's review (see here). Rowland, who retired in 2016, was the division deputy director within the health effects division of EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). The suspicious and intimate relationship between Rowland and Monsanto has prompted an investigation by the US EPA's Office of Inspector General.
Internal documents from that agency show that the EPA in March and April 2016 was “struggling” internally to gather data on ingredients that Monsanto has commonly used to formulate its herbicide products. Although Monsanto has been selling Roundup herbicides for more than 40 years, internal agency documents indicate that the EPA had loose, biased, and messy information on those formulations.
The need to review with what papers and on what certifications the entry permit to our country is based is imperative. The ruling and the disclosures of the Monsanto Papers show that when Monsanto claims that its products have been licensed for 40 years as safe, it hides information. The company's own researchers admit in internal emails that they did not do enough studies to make that claim (see here).
Monsanto's strategies to defend Roundup have been revealed in internal emails, presentations, and memos. Worse still, these documents suggest that the company doesn't even appear to know if Roundup is harmless to people's health. "You can't say that Roundup is not a carcinogen," Monsanto toxicologist Donna Farmer wrote in one of the emails. "We have not done the necessary tests in the formulation to make that statement." The email, sent on November 22, 2003, is one of the evidence used in the Dewayne Johnson case (see here).
That same statement, that there were not enough studies to say that Roundup is not carcinogenic, was read by several employees of Monsanto Argentina, eight years ago, on December 14, 2010. The mail exchange, - in some of which it participates or it is in copy, the President of Monsanto Argentina, Juan Farinati, ends by admitting the lack of studies. In this final copy, Martín Lasarte and Diego Kavanas, among other people linked to the company, appear as recipients by the Argentine subsidiary.
With the SUBJECT:Re: Response Need - Re: Glyphosate Questions (Argentina); FW: CASAFE publications, the last email answers, among others, these questions: “Why are Roundup formulas not carcinogenic? What are its most relevant metabolites and what studies show they are not (carcinogenic)?
Stephen Adams, Chemistry Regulatory Affairs Manager of Monsanto Company, confirms in the response the same information as Donna Farmer (also in copy in this email): the formula of its flagship product was never tested; only its components separately but never the final formulation what is it that they sell. Textually in Spanish: "With respect to the carcinogenicity of our formulations, we have not carried out that kind of tests directly on them, but we have such tests on the glyphosate component and some extensive toxicity tests on the surfactant."
Today 8 years after that email, having that information, the public discourse of the company remains the same. "Only those that were certified as safe for the environment and human health are released on the market.", It reads on the Monsanto Argentina site without informing about what the company knows according to the text of the internal email consigned above (see here ).
The first statements of SENASA after the verdict, in a note published on August 17 byprofessional, they dismissed the seriousness of the conclusion that the litigation threw and that was resolved against the company (see here). “This is a trial between individuals. The user of a product goes against the company. And what happened is a first instance ruling. So far, with the documents and studies that all government agencies have, including SENASA, there are no reasons to change the glyphosate situation, ”sources from the organization informed Patricio Eleisegui, author of the aforementioned article.
“For us the safety of our products is fundamental. Not a single regulatory agency considers glyphosate a carcinogen. The evaluations carried out by regulatory authorities around the world for more than 40 years confirm this ”, they assure from Monsanto in the five most common questions about Glyphosate on their website (see here).
The company's own papers published in MonsantoPapers deny that claim and the statement of Donna Farmer, on the tenth day of the trial in San Francisco, which found Monsanto guilty of all charges (see here). Added to this are the proven campaigns to interfere with or discredit science that contradicts what Monsanto keeps repeating and the "scientific" toxicity studies ghostwritten by the company's own employees, which endorse safety, and are used as "independent science".
All this information must be analyzed and cannot be ignored when deciding the use of these pesticides in Argentina. It is time for SENASA to take note and fulfill its role in protecting Argentine society, and guaranteeing the right to information and health.
Source: Monsanto Papers - La Vaca.org