In secret internal Monsanto documents released last week by legal firms in the U.S. it was revealed how Monsanto scientists admitted that they were aware of the possible carcinogenic and genotoxic risk posed by their number one product, the glyphosate-based herbicide – Roundup.
The new revelations follow similar revelations in May, which showed how the same Monsanto manager, Dr. George Levinskas, who helped hide the carcinogenic potential of PCBs in the 1970s, also influenced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate in the 1980s.
In amazing revelations from court documents released last Tuesday, Monsanto’s Product Protection and Nutrition Lead, Dr. Donna Farmer discusses the potential adverse effects of the formulated Roundup product in a 2003 internal company e-mail, conceding that “you cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen…we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.”
THE GLYPHOSATE BOX
The revelations do not stop there below is an amazing summary of the other secret e-mails on the possible damage caused by Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide:
- Farmer wrote in 1999: “I will not support doing any studies on glyphosate, formulations or other surfactant ingredients at this time with the limited information we have on the situation.”
- In an e-mail from 2010, Stephen Adams, Monsanto’s Chemistry Regulatory Affairs Manager, stated “With regards to the carcinogenicity of our formulations we don’t have such testing on them directly…”
- In 2013 Xavier Belvaux, Monsanto’s Regulatory Affairs Lead also confirmed that: “We (Monsanto) do not conduct sub-chronic, chronic or terotogenicity studies with our (Roundup) formulations.”
- In a Monanto PowerPoint presentation from 2008 concerning the “EU Expert Advisory Panel”, Page 6 of the presentation is astonishingly titled: “Monsanto’s Roundup ® acts on one of the key stages of cellular division, which can potentially lead to cancer in the long term.” The page references a French in-vitro study which observed adverse effects associated with Roundup. The final page contains “questions” regarding how to “position” in-vitro hazards using “urine concentrations from applicator exposure into plasma concentrations.”. Monsanto also considers the risks in “running a new study”.
- In an e-mail in 2014 sent by Monsanto’s Head of Product Safety, Dr. William Heydens, regarding the “IARC evaluation of Glyphosate” (which announced that Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen in 2015), Heydens concedes that “while we have vulnerability in the area of epidemiology, we also have potential vulnerabilities in the other areas that IARC will consider, namely, exposure, genetox, and mode of action…”
- Heydens also admits in 2015 to the “Low level presence of formaldehyde” (carcinogen by inhalation) in Roundup; and “Low level presence of NNG (N-nitroso-glyphosate) in Roundup – many N-Nitroso compounds are carcinogenic.”
- Heydens and Farmer, discuss various studies which observed adverse effects by the formulated Roundup product. Specifically, Dr. Farmer acknowledges: “[t]he interest point is glyphosate all basicially [sic] had no effect the formulated product did – does this point us to the coformulants – sufactants? [sic]”. Dr. Heydens also admits, after discussing with Monsanto consultant John Desesso, that “we are in pretty good shape with glyphosate but vulnerable with surfactants. . . What I’ve been hearing from you is that this continues to be the case with these studies – Glyphosate is OK but the formulated product (and thus the surfactant) does the damage.”
- Farmer summarizes the findings of Monsanto’s expert, Dr. James Parry: “Dr. Parry concluded on his evaluation of the four articles that glyphosate is capable of producing genotoxicity both in vivo and in vitro by a mechanism based upon the production of oxidative damage.”
- Heydens states in 2015 that “surfactant in the formulation will come up in the tumor promotion skin study because we think it played a role there.”
The full e-mails and internal documents can be found here.
The released court documents have also shown how Monsanto led the attack on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), after the Agency announced that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is a probable human carcinogen in 2015.
Further secret documents made clear how Monsanto successfully pressured Wallace Hayes, Editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal to retract the famous Séralini study, which discovered the damage caused by GM maize NK603 and low doses of Roundup herbicide on rats.