Lawyers for over 1,000 people with lymphoma have released a trove of documents showing how Monsanto secretly edited several “independent” studies denying any link between Roundup (glyphosate) and cancer.
Monsanto paid for those studies after an unfavorable analysis of glyphosate by the World Health Organization’s cancer-research agency, which upgraded glyphosate to a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015.
For example, Monsanto paid a consulting unit at Intertek Group Plc. to develop a review supplement titled “An Independent Review of the Carciongenic Potential of Glyphosate.” It was published by Critical Reviews in Toxicology in September 2016 and concluded that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.”
The problem is that Intertek’s study began with a statement claiming that its independent experts “were not directly contacted by the Monsanto Company” and “neither any Monsanto company employees nor any attorneys reviewed any of the Expert Panel’s manuscripts prior to submission to the journal.”
Those statements appear to be directly contradicted by evidence in 70 documents that lawyers for people with cancer recently posted online.
The documents prove that Monsanto’s chief of regulatory science, William Heydens, and other Monsanto scientists were heavily involved in organizing, reviewing, and editing drafts of the Intertek study and several other “independent” studies.
Not surprisingly, Monsanto was highly critical of the IARC. But when an epidemiologist from Denmark asked to remove 6 of the review’s most “inflammatory” criticisms of the IARC, Mr. Heydens himself vetoed the request. The criticisms made it into the final paper.
The Intertek study is not the only “independent” study that Monsanto was heavily involved in editing behind the scenes. Monsanto’s lead toxicologist, Donna Farmer, made substantial changes and additions to another study in 2011 on the risk of birth defects from glyphosate.
The study found “no solid evidence” linking glyphosate with developmental or reproductive effects in humans. Although nearly all of Ms. Farmer’s revisions made it into the final paper, her name was removed as a co-author and she was not listed in the acknowledgements.
Monsanto claims their edits were only cosmetic, and the publishers for Critical Reviews in Toxicology said they will review the matter.