March 21, 2017 — The judge overseeing dozens of Roundup lawsuits has unsealed evidence of Monsanto ghost-writing studies and EPA officials working to “kill” cancer investigations.
Yesterday was the 2-year anniversary of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) re-classifying Roundup as a “probable human carcinogen.”
The IARC’s conclusions were based on 3 studies showing higher rates of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among farm-workers in the United States, Canada, and Sweden.
Six weeks later, the EPA committee in charge of reviewing Roundup “leaked” its own report (PDF) concluding that it was unlikely to cause cancer. The report was pulled off the EPA website 3 days later, but Monsanto still used it in a public relations assault on the IARC’s conclusions.
The timing of an industry-friendly leak from the EPA led to suspicions that the author, Mr. Jess Rowland, was working with Monsanto. Now we have evidence.
Thousands of pages of emails and other documents were unsealed last week by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, a federal judge overseeing Roundup lawsuits in California.
The documents suggest Monsanto secretly wrote at least two studies on Roundup that were used by the EPA and published under the names of academics. Monsanto’s scientists explained how they could ghost-write a study in 2013, as they had already done on a study in 2000:
“We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak.”
Judge Chhabria also gave lawyers permission to seek testimony from Mr. Rowland in a deposition. The documents show a close relationship between Mr. Rowland and Monsanto as he was reviewing Roundup.
Mr. Rowland tipped off Monsanto to the IARC’s conclusions months before it was published, giving Monsanto time to prepare a defense. As soon as the IARC published its report (PDF), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) tried to investigate Roundup.
“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Mr. Rowland bragged to Dan Jenkins, a regulatory affairs manager at Monsanto, in April 2015. HHS never opened an investigation. Mr. Jenkins later wrote to a colleague that Mr. Rowland was planning on retiring and he “could be useful as we move forward with ongoing glyphosate defense.”
Mr. Rowland never retired. He quit a few days after his committee’s report “leaked” on April 29, 2015. Oddly, the report was marked ‘FINAL’ and dated October 1, 2015, with four months left to go on the review process.
The timing was useful to Monsanto for other reasons. European regulators were refusing to extend a 15-year license for Roundup. The state of California was also trying to label Roundup as a carcinogen.
Monsanto cited the report in a key court hearing in May 2015, in an attempt to slow down lawsuits from people with lymphoma. Despite Monsanto’s efforts, the number of lawsuits has grown steadily. They are centralized in MDL No. 2741 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California — In RE: Roundup Products Liability MDL.
Do I have a Roundup Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Roundup induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Toxic Chemical Exposure Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
Attention Lawyers: We consider a referral from another law firm to be one of the greatest compliments. If your firm is interested in referring us a case or for us to send you a list of previous award judgments and/or average referral fees, please visit the Lawyer Referral section of our website.