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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Monsanto v. Me?

As a journalist who has covered the big business of corporate America for more than 30 years, very little shocks me about the propaganda efforts companies often wage.  I know well the pressure companies can and do bring to bear when trying to effect positive coverage and limit reporting they deem negative about their business practices and products. All’s fair when it comes to the pursuit of profit, it sometimes seems.

But when I recently received close to 50 pages of internal Monsanto communications about the company’s efforts to target me and my reputation with its propaganda machine, I have to admit it was a bit shocking.

I knew the company did not like the fact that in my 21 years of reporting on the agrochemical industry – mostly for the international news outlet Reuters – I wrote stories that quoted skeptics as well as fans of Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds. I knew the company didn’t like my reporting about growing unease in the scientific community regarding research that connected Monsanto herbicides to human and environmental health problems. And I knew the company did not welcome the 2017 release of my book, “Whitewash – The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science,” which revealed the company’s secret actions to suppress and manipulate the science surrounding its herbicide business.

But I never dreamed I would warrant my own Monsanto action plan.

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I’m a journalist. Monsanto built a step-by-step strategy to destroy my reputation

As a journalist who has covered corporate America for more than 30 years, very little shocks me about the propaganda tactics companies often deploy. I know the pressure companies can and do bring to bear when trying to effect positive coverage and limit reporting they deem negative about their business practices and products.

But when I recently received close to 50 pages of internal Monsantocommunications about the company’s plans to target me and my reputation, I was shocked.

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Neurotoxins on your kid’s broccoli: that’s life under Trump

How much is your child’s health worth? The answer coming from the leadership of the US Environmental Protection Agency is: not that much.

The EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, this week confirmed what many Americans already know: when the Trump administration weighs the competing interests of corporate profits versus public health, the corporations win, hands down.

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Sick Children Among Cancer Victims Suing Monsanto Over Roundup

A 12-year-old boy suffering from cancer is among the newest plaintiffs taking on Monsanto and its German owner Bayer AG in growing litigation over the safety of Roundup herbicides and Monsanto’s handling of scientific concerns about the products.

Lawyers for Jake Bellah were in court Monday in Lake County Superior Court in Lakeport, California arguing that Bellah’s young age and diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) qualified him for “trial preference,” or a speedy trial. In their motion, lawyers for the Baum Hedlund law firm of Los Angeles asked for a trial that would begin before the end of this year, within 120 days after a judge’s order if their motion is granted.

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