May 19, 2015: Monsanto executive Michael Dykes emails Jim Jones, the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety & Pollution Prevention at EPA.
Dykes asks Jones about the ATSDR review: “You were not aware of their review. Did you learn anything more about their efforts?”
Jones then writes an email to Jack Housenger, director of EPA’s OPP: “Monsanto thinks ATSDR is doing a glyphosate Assessment. Could you guys run that down?” Housenger responds: “Yes. Jess checked with them…. It has been difficult to get information.”
May 20, 2015: Jim Jones asks Jack Housenger to reach out to Dr. Patrick Breysse, director of the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), which oversees ATSDR.
In an email, Housenger tells Breysse that EPA has nearly completed its own reevaluation/risk assessment for glyphosate, then asks if Breysse if he “would still feel the need to do your assessment,” and “whether this is a good use of government resources” for ATSDR to continue with its review.
Housenger does not discuss Monsanto’s outreach to EPA on the issue at hand.
Breysse responds to Housenger that he would “look into this,” then contacted ATSDR’s division director James Stephens to discuss the EPA’s request.
May 21, 2015: James Stephens tells Dr. Breysse that ATSDR believes the EPA work “overlaps but isn’t totally duplicative…” He added, “I think we would all welcome further discussion with EPA but would hope to use it to help us find out more about what they are doing.”
Breysse relays this conversation to Housenger, who reiterates the stance that an ATSDR review would be a “duplicative government effort,” adding that EPA would release a draft of its own glyphosate review in July of 2015.
It should be noted that the EPA’s preliminary risk assessment for glyphosate still has not been released nearly two years later, though in 2016 the agency released a cancer assessment report, which found glyphosate was not a carcinogen.
June 4, 2015: EPA’s Jack Housenger reaches out to Breysse at NCEH again saying he has not heard from anyone on the ATSDR glyphosate review.
At the same time, Monsanto pushes the “duplicative government effort” narrative at a meeting with HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Health, Mitchel Wolfe. In the meeting, Monsanto executives ask Wolfe to help repudiate the IARC glyphosate report and to recognize that a review of glyphosate was “not the primary role” for his agency.
A Monsanto memo: “Dr. Wolfe said he would follow up on what was going on with ATSDR and he was encouraged to have discussions with EPA staff, as well.”
June 9, 2015: ATSDR supervisory scientist Henry Abadin tells ATSDR director James Stephens he does not believe an ATSDR review of glyphosate would be “duplicating efforts.” Nevertheless, Abadin says he told EPA that ATSDR “did not have a problem with putting the glyphosate profile on hold, pending the OPP final report.”
Jun 19, 2015: Monsanto executive Michael Dykes in an internal email discussing his conversation with Mitchel Wolfe of HHS regarding ATSDR review:
- “I explained… our question was about the purpose and scope of such a duplicative review by ATSDR. I also told him that we were concerned that ATSDR may come out any day with a report. I again stressed that we were concerned that they were even reviewing glyphosate as were the people we talked with at EPA.”
June 21, 2015: Late on a Sunday night, Dykes emails Monsanto colleagues expressing further concern about the ATSDR review.
In response to the email, Monsanto scientist Eric Sachs sends a text message to Mary Manibusan, a former EPA scientist. Sachs asks Manibusan if she has contacts at ATSDR, then adds: “We’re trying to do everything we can to keep from having a domestic IARC occur w this group. may need your help.”
The text message was published in a number of discovery documents released by the law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman.
June 23, 2015: Monsanto executive Dan Jenkins writes that he heard good news from Jack Housenger at EPA, who apparently received a promise from ATSDR to put the glyphosate review on hold. According to Housenger, ATSDR maintained that “their process is distinguishable and not duplicative. They look at different endpoints and told EPA they don’t “make a call on cancer”, but I think we should continue to be cautious.”
June 24, 2015: Monsanto chief scientist William Heydens responds to Jenkins’ email.
Heydens: “’Distinguishable and not duplicative’? Seriously? And I will believe the not ‘making a call on cancer’ part when I see it. Anyway, at least they know they are being watched, and hopefully that keeps them from doing anything too stupid…”
Oct. 23, 2015: EPA’s Jack Housenger sends Monsanto executive Dan Jenkins an email confirming the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry review on glyphosate is effectively on hold. “They are waiting for our glyphosate RA. And they agreed to share what they do,” Housenger writes.