Revealed: Bayer AG discussed plans to give not-for-profit funding for influence

Emails between two senior executives and a journalist show discussions aimed at giving Bayer a voice in press foundation initiatives.

Bayer AG discussed plans to give the German drugs giant influence within prestigious American not-for-profit dedicated to media freedoms that would protect and promote the company’s business interests in exchange for generous funding, records obtained by the Guardian show.

Multiple email communications from 2018 and 2019 detail the entwinement of two senior executives at Bayer’s US operations with a Greek journalist and “communications strategist” named Thanos Dimadis who served briefly as executive director for the 101-year-old New York-based Foreign Press Association (FPA), and the related Foreign Press Foundation (FPF).

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Thailand wants to ban these three pesticides. The US government says no

You know it’s a dark day for America when foreign leaders have to lecture US officials about the importance of prioritizing public health over corporate profits.

Yet that is what is happening now, as the Trump administration pressures Thailand not to ban three pesticides that scientific research has shown to be particularly dangerous to children and other vulnerable populations.

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As Roundup cancer lawsuits surge, Monsanto fights to keep PR work secret

As Monsanto continues to battle legal claims over alleged dangers of its widely used Roundup herbicides, the company is trying to block orders to turn over internal records about its work with public relations and strategic consulting contractors.

In a series of filings in St. Louis Circuit Court, Monsanto argues that it should not have to comply with discovery requests involving certain dealings between it and the global public relations firm FleishmanHillard, despite the fact that a special master has found Monsanto should hand those documents over. Monsanto is asserting that its communications with FleishmanHillard should be considered “privileged,” similar to attorney-client communications, and that Monsanto should not have to produce them as part of discovery to the lawyers representing the cancer patients suing Monsanto.

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New FDA Report on Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables Adds to Growing Public Health Concerns

Last month the Food & Drug Administration published its latest annual analysis of the levels of pesticide residues that contaminate the fruits and veggies and other foods we Americans routinely put on our dinner plates. The fresh data adds to growing consumer concern and scientific debate over how pesticide residues in food may contribute – or not – to illness, disease and reproductive problems.

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A message from Maine: It’s time to get serious about sustainability

s summer turns to fall, the Maine landscape is beautiful to behold. Lush forests stretch as far as the eye can see in a tapestry of green, yellow and crimson-colored leaves. Every few miles along a narrow roadway, restored wooden barns adjoin modest homes set on tidy acres where farm families coax food from the soil and tend to livestock.

I was fortunate to visit this northeastern farm state recently, spending time at the “Common Ground Country Fair” in Unity, Maine. Only about 2,000 people live in the tiny town, but an estimated 57,000 people jammed the single-lane roads to swarm this year’s three-day event in late September.

The fair was part celebration and part education – a festival of first-hand knowledge about how to produce food in ways that focus on enhancing, not endangering, human and environmental health. Young and old gathered in yellow-and-white striped tents to discuss such topics as the marketing of organic lowbush wild blueberries, how to develop “micro-dairies,” and science that shows healthy, chemical-free soils can better sequester carbon from the atmosphere as a mitigant to the climate crisis.

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The Trump administration is sidelining science - and it puts us in danger

If you want to understand the perilous state of federal scientific research, ask Linda Birnbaum.

For 40 years, Birnbaum has worked as a toxicologist for the US government, rising through the ranks to direct both the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program. She has authored more than 700 peer-reviewed publications and collected numerous awards and international accolades for her research on public health.

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“No Bees, No Food” – Missouri Group Pushing for State Ban on Bee-killing Chemicals

A Missouri environmental group is seeking statewide support for proposed legislation that would ban the use of a class of insecticides believed to be contributing to a decline in the population of honeybees.

Environment Missouri’s “No Bees, No Food,” campaign sent canvassers across Kansas City this summer, collecting signatures in support of a ban on the insecticides called neonicotinoids, often referred to as “neonics.” The group is asking state lawmakers to craft a measure that would ban the sales of seeds coated in neonics – a common practice for corn and soybean seeds – and would bar retailers from selling neonic insecticides to consumers.     

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St. Louis Trial over Monsanto Roundup Cancer Claims in Limbo

An October trial pitting a group of cancer patients against Monsanto in the company’s former home state of Missouri is snared in a tangled web of actions that threaten to indefinitely postpone the case.

New court filings show that lawyers for both sides of Walter Winston, et al v. Monsanto have been engaging in a series of strategic moves that may now be backfiring on them leading up to the trial date of Oct. 15 date set by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Michael Mullen. Lawyers for the 14 plaintiffs named in the Winston lawsuit have been pushing to keep their case on track so they can present claims from the cancer victims to a St. Louis jury next month. But Monsanto lawyers have been working to delay the trial and disrupt the combination of plaintiffs.

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Tech, Medical and Farm Groups Ask Appeals Court to Overturn Verdict Against Monsanto

Groups representing farm, medical and biotechnology interests have filed briefs with the California Court of Appeal, aligning with Monsanto in asking the court to overturn last summer’s jury verdict that found Monsanto’s glyphosate-herbicides cause cancer and determined that the company spent years covering up the risks.

The groups are urging the appeals court to either throw out the win a San Francisco jury gave to school groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson in August of 2018 or to invalidate an order for Monsanto to pay punitive damages to Johnson. The Johnson trial was the first against Monsanto over claims that its glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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Emails Reveal Science Publisher Found Papers On Herbicide Safety Should Be Retracted Due to Monsanto Meddling

Secretive influence by Monsanto in a set of papers published in the scientific journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology was so unethical that an investigation by the publisher found that at least three of the papers should be retracted, according to a series of internal journal communications. The journal editor refused to retract the papers, which declared no cancer concerns with the  company’s herbicides, saying a retraction could impact last summer’s first-ever Roundup trial and harm the authors’ reputations, the emails show.

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