EPA Official Accused of Helping Monsanto ‘Kill’ Glyphosate-Cancer Link

It came to light recently that the EPA official tasked with evaluating the cancer risk associated with glyphosate – a toxic herbicide chemical – may have bragged that he deserved a medal if he could ‘ruin another agency’s investigation into glyphosate.’ [1]

The EPA official, Jess Rowland, allegedly made these comments during an April 2015 phone conversation, farmers and others who claim they were sickened by glyphosate say.

Rowland left his position as a manager in the agency’s pesticide division last year and became a primary figure in more than 20 U.S. lawsuits alleging Monsanto (a huge biotechnology company) failed to warn consumers and regulators that glyphosate could potentially cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Rowland oversaw a committee that found insufficient evidence to conclude that glyphosate is a carcinogen and quit shortly after his report was leaked to the press.

A court filing made public in mid-March shows Rowland told a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager:

“If I can kill this I should get a medal.”

The manager relayed the conversation in an e-mail to his colleagues, according to the filing.

A federal judge overseeing glyphosate litigation in San Francisco indicated last month that he’s considering ordering Rowland to submit to questioning by lawyers for the plaintiffs, who contend he has a “highly suspicious” relationship with Monsanto.

Monsanto maintains that the emails represent “a natural flow of information” and that they don’t represent “an effort to manipulate the system.”

But lawyers for the plaintiffs say Rowland’s communications with Monsanto officials prove the regulator who was supposed to be policing the company was actually working to protect it.

Tim Litzenburg, one of the lawyers suing Monsanto, says the unsealed court documents represent “a huge development in public health.”

He adds that regulatory agencies, scientists, consumers, and physicians “can see some of what Monsanto was actually engaging in behind the scenes, and how they have manipulated the scientific literature to date. That’s important to their decision-making, not just our lawsuits.”

But did it work?

Monsanto head of U.S. regulatory affairs, Dan Jenkins, was skeptical that Rowland would be able to kill the glyphosate-cancer study. In an email cited in the court filing, Jenkins told his colleagues:

“I doubt EPA and Jess can kill this.”

But it appears he may have been wrong in that assessment. Another unsealed Monsanto memo said the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) “agreed, for now, to take direction from EPA.”

Company execs clearly saw Rowland as a friend and a useful tool when they described him as someone who “could be useful as we move forward with ongoing glyphosate defense” when he retires. [2]

The evaluation never took place, and Rowland quit his job.

Even More Deception

Naturally, Monsanto denies Rowland helped it kill the study, just as it denies RoundUp causes cancer. But you won’t find honesty and transparency at Monsanto.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuits also allege that Monsanto’s toxicology manager ghostwrote part of a scientific report in 2013 that was published under the names of several academic scientists, and his boss ghostwrote parts of another in 2000. The EPA used both reports to determine that glyphosate was safe. [3]

The allegation is based on an email from a Monsanto executive who proposed to ghostwrite parts of the 2013 report, saying “we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing” while researchers “would just edit & sign their names so to speak.”

Monsanto spokeswoman responded by saying the allegations about the 2000 report are false, but she did not address the 2013 report. She said the accusations were cherry-picked out of 10 million pages of documents.

By Julie Fidler, NaturalSociety.com / Sources:

[1] Bloomberg News
[2] Consumer Affairs
[3] Reuters