The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aborted its latest attempt to exonerate Monsanto of any charges that its glyphosate – the main ingredient in Roundup – is carcinogenic.
On April 29, 2016, EPA published a report that contradicted the World Health Organization’s 2015 pronouncement that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic” to humans. EPA said in April that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” But May brought a different song from EPA. Three days after issuing what it called its “Final Report” that proclaimed glyphosate “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans,” the agency retracted that pronouncement. What gives? Or in textspeak: wtf? Monsanto EPA ties are cancerous.
EPA’s “Final Report” on Glyphosate
Politicians who take “generous” campaign contributions from oil billionaires like the Koch brothers and ag-chemical monsters like Monsanto love to trash the EPA for runaway regulations that they claim kill jobs and wipe out businesses.
Texas Republican senator Lamar Smith – infamous for attacking government scientists whose research contradicts the financial interests of his campaign donors – has railed against the EPA for years to keep it from conducting research on climate change. Smith’s interests are in line with the Koch brothers and others that have spent millions on junk science to disprove climate change, because recognizing and addressing its problems threatens their immediate bottom lines.
Blind Pig finds Acorn in the Mud
Lamar Smith (Exxon Mobil’s man in Washington) is also chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. In that role, he has steadily attacked EPA and railed against industry regulation of any kind. But just as even a blind pig may find an acorn in the mud sometime, so it is that Smith has issued what appears to be a legitimate complaint regarding EPA.
After EPA pulled its “Final Report” after three days regarding glyphosate’s carcinogenic properties, Smith wrote the agency demanding to know why.
The EPA Cancer Assessment Review Committee issued the “Final Report” April 29, 2016. Thirteen (13) members of the committee had initially signed their names to findings that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” The report was most likely pulled because its conclusion was indefensible, and would have moved the EPA’s reputation down another rung or two on the evolutionary ladder. It would be hard to go lower, but the EPA gave it a shot, at least for three days.
EPA’s Pulled Report contradicts Science
The EPA’s pulled report directly contradicted the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which in 2015 declared glyphosate a “probable carcinogen.” EPA now claims that “Final Report” was published “inadvertently.” Really? That is the story we are supposed to believe? One look at the science shows that EPA didn’t have a leg to stand on when it filed that “Final Report.” It seems more clear that even this underfunded, compromised, beleaguered agency could not maintain even a fig leaf of legitimacy if it had so sloppily performed its duties in pretending to represent the taxpayers who fund it above board while actually representing the corporate interests that compromise it under the table.
Lamar Smith wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on May 4, 2016, that pulling the report “raises questions about the agency’s motivation in providing a fair assessment of glyphosate.” A strange bedfellow, the Center for Biological Diversity had earlier issued a press release condemning the EPA finding as “disappointing, but not terribly surprising [because] industry has been manipulating this research for years.”
The research the EPA used, even to balk at a declaration of glyphosate safety, was industry-funded, not peer reviewed, and hence easy to counter — all of which is likely why the agency felt the need to pull it.
Republicans as a rule love to rail against regulation of any kind, but it’s worth recalling that it was a Republican President – Richard Nixon – who launched the EPA. Sadly, it was also a Republican President that oversaw its almost complete destruction. Ronald Reagan worked hard for his corporate benefactors to destroy or at least defang the EPA, launching his scheme of “cooperative regulation.” We’ve seen what that sort of “regulation” has done for the country’s air and water, and what it did for the financial sector in 2008, when even Allen Greenspan admitted that he was wrong about the idea that banks and investment companies would regulate themselves.
Reagan dismantles EPA
Reagan appointed Anne Gorsuch to head the EPA in the early 1980s. As EPA head, she cut the EPA’s budget by 22 percent, handed many EPA duties down to states and contractors, made several appointments at lower levels that led to a fundamental shift in how the EPA “regulated” (Read: failed to regulate) industry. In Reaganworld, regulators should not challenge industry; rather, they should work together under “cooperative regulation.” Anything else could hurt corporate profits, never mind hurting people.
The sea change of “Cooperative Regulation” meant, for example, that regulators needed to prove a product was unsafe before a corporation could be made to pull that product from store shelves, because corporate profits are at least as valuable as public safety. This sort of safety second thinking brought the FDA to greenlight Monsanto’s glyphosate without any long-term testing for safety or nutritional value.
Monsanto EPA Ties Cancerous
“Cooperative Regulation” explains why more than 750 products that contain glyphosate are still for sale in the United States nearly, a full YEAR after the World Health Organization found glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic.” The EPA is all about “Cooperative Regulation.”
“Cooperative regulation” is also why our regulatory agencies take research from privately funded think-tanks and from industry lobbying groups, which is exactly why we have this retracted “Final Report” on glyphosate.
Illegitimate Studies fail Safety Test Protocol
Thom Hartman reports that, “Dozens of papers cited in the retracted EPA report on glyphosate are “unpublished regulatory studies.” That means they weren’t peer-reviewed. That means we don’t know how the data was collected or tested.
EPA relies on Industry Studies
Nathan Donley of the Center for Biological Diversity wrote: “The EPA’s analysis relied heavily on industry-funded studies that have not undergone public scrutiny, while the WHO used publicly available research for its analysis.”
The EPA is compromised by industry, underfunded, broken. It has been broken ever since Reagan turned it into an industry partner, a “cooperative regulatory” agency, rather than the watchdog Nxon intended in its creation.
This agency has lost all sense of legitimacy as long as “cooperative regulation” is allowed to reign. We don’t need “cooperative” regulatory agencies. We need agencies acting in the best interests of the health of the American people who fund it with their tax dollars.