Declassifying Monsanto’s Secret Documents
It is important for the public, regulatory agencies, and scientists to be fully informed of the processes which occur behind the thick veil of corporate unaccountability that have a direct impact on public and environmental health. This way, regulators can make informed decisions, the public is provided the opportunity to know what it is consuming (and at what cost), and scientists are able to build upon transparent data as well as know how much weight to place on research that may have an undue corporate profit motive behind it.
In fact, these documents were released in part to aid the efforts of the European regulators and the California Office of Health Hazard Assessment, as they weighed evidence regarding glyphosate registration/classification. The damning tale that these documents tell over how Monsanto has handled the issues over the ostensible safety of its widely-used product will provide regulators across the globe with access to key information that should inform their vital decision-making processes. We sincerely believe that it is imperative for the litigation process to be as transparent and open to public scrutiny as possible, particularly since every aspect of this case has repercussions for society as a whole.
"The terms glyphosate and Roundup cannot be used interchangeably nor can you use "Roundup" for all glyphosate-based herbicides any more. For example, you cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen...we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement." - Donna Farmer, Lead Toxicologist, Monsanto Company
On March 13, 2017, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled that certain documents obtained by plaintiffs in the Monsanto Roundup multidistrict (MDL) litigation could be unsealed. Subsequently, the judge published them on March 14 and March 15 on the website for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. These were the very first evidence to be declassified.
On June 30, 2017, Baum Hedlund, along with the leadership of the Roundup multidistrict litigation (MDL), challenged the protection of another group of documents, in an effort to make them available to the public. In a meeting to discuss the matter, Monsanto told the plaintiffs’ attorneys to “go away” and that the company would not voluntarily agree to de-designate any documents.
Pursuant to Paragraph 16.3 of the Protective Order in the MDL, Monsanto was required to file a motion seeking continued protection of those documents challenged by the Plaintiffs’ June 30, 2017 letter within 30 days. In failing to file such motion within 30 days, i.e., July 31, 2017, Monsanto “automatically waive[s] the confidentiality designation for each challenged designation.” Id. ¶ 16.3. And, since Monsanto did not file any motion seeking continued protection of the documents, it waived confidentiality over them. The documents are now officially public and Baum Hedlund is excited to share them with the world. This second group of documents was first published on the Baum Hedlund website on August 1, 2017.
We sent the August 2017 batch of Monsanto secret documents to (1) the EPA Office of Inspector General, Arthur Elkins, Jr., who is presently investigating whether there was illegal collusion between EPA and Monsanto; (2) the California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which listed glyphosate as a substance known to the state of California to cause cancer on July 7, 2017 and is soliciting comments from Baum Hedlund and others to advise about whether glyphosate should be given a safe-harbor; and (3) the European Parliament members, who, on July 4, 2017, sent a letter to the judge overseeing the MDL litigation, requesting documents as the EU considers whether it will renew registration of glyphosate for sale in Europe.
On April 24, 2019, we released a new batch of 300+ declassified documents obtained during discovery. We also added several new categories. Since 2017, Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman has added more than 400 documents to the Monsanto Papers. All Monsanto Papers documents can be viewed in our Master Chart above.
We released our third batch of documents on August 15, 2019. These documents reveal Monsanto’s efforts to defund IARC, their involvement with Reuter’s reporter Kate Kelland, the creation of their ‘Intelligence Fusion Center’ targeting journalists and activists critical of Monsanto, and more about their manipulating science.
The pages below only describe the documents released prior to April 24, 2019. It is best to use the chart above to quickly search by keyword or topic. With each document, you will find a release date, a corresponding description, which briefly summarizes the key points raised, and in some cases, commentary describing the relevance of the documents to the ongoing Roundup litigation (only the August 2017 batch of documents contain the relevance information). Our commentary on the relevance of these documents may contain allegations cited in the Roundup litigation.
News Coverage of the Monsanto Papers
USRTK: Emails Reveal Science Publisher Found Papers On Herbicide Safety Should Be Retracted Due to Monsanto Meddling – Carey Gillam | Aug. 23, 2019
The Intercept: Emails Show Monsanto Orchestrated GOP Effort to Intimidate Cancer Researchers – Lee Fang | Aug. 23, 2019
Le Monde (France): The arsenal deployed by Monsanto against its detractors, including journalists – Diane Regny | Aug. 12, 2019
The Guardian: Revealed: how Monsanto’s ‘intelligence center’ targeted journalists and activists – Sam Levin | Aug. 8, 2019
The Guardian: How Monsanto manipulates journalists and academics – Carey Gillam | June 2, 2019
Greenpeace: Monsanto: Busted – Rex Weyler | May 3, 2019
USRTK: New Monsanto Documents expose connection to Reuters reporter – Carey Gillam | Apr. 25, 2019
USRTK: Monsanto Exec Reveals $17 Million Budget For Anti-IARC, Pro-Glyphosate Efforts – Carey Gillam | Mar. 27, 2019
CBC (Canada): Court documents reveal Monsanto’s efforts to fight glyphosate’s ‘severe stigma’ – Gil Snochat and Sylvie Fournier | Mar. 2, 2019
CBC (Canada): ‘Troubling allegations’ prompt Health Canada review of studies used to approve popular weed-killer – Gil Snochat | Nov. 11, 2018
Bloomberg: Monsanto’s Role in Roundup Safety Study Is Corrected by Journal – Joel Rosenblatt, Peter Waldman and Lydia Mulvany | Sept. 27, 2018
Democracy Now: How Monsanto Plants Stories, Suppresses Science & Silences Dissent to Sell a Cancer-Linked Chemical – Amy Goodman | Aug. 14, 2018
Le Monde (France): The Monsanto Papers, Part 1-2 – Stephane Horel and Stephane Fourcat | 2017-2018
Horel, Fourcat and Le Monde were honored with the European Press Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2018 for their reporting work on the Monsanto Papers
Der Spiegel (Germany): Monsanto Faces Blowback Over Cancer Cover-Up – Philip Bethge | Oct. 24, 2017
The Nation: Did Monsanto Ignore Evidence Linking Its Weed Killer to Cancer? – Rene Ebersole | Oct. 12, 2017
New York Times: Monsanto Emails Raise Issue of Influencing Research on Roundup Weed Killer – Danny Hakim | Aug. 1, 2017
Bloomberg: Monsanto Was Its Own Ghostwriter for Some Safety Reviews– Peter Waldman, Tiffany Stecker and Joel Rosenblatt | Aug. 9, 2017
Fair: Reuters vs. UN Cancer Agency: Are Corporate Ties Influencing Science Coverage? – Stacy Malkan | July 24, 2017
EURACTIV: From the Monsanto Papers to IARC-gate: A glyphosate story – Andre Heitz | July 19, 2017
HuffPo: Monsanto Spin Doctors Target Cancer Scientist In Flawed Reuters Story – Carey Gillam | June 18, 2017
Times: Monsanto Weed Killer Roundup Faces New Doubts on Safety in Unsealed Documents – Danny Hakim | Mar. 14, 2017
Issue: Ghostwriting, Peer-Review & Retraction
Internal Email Showing Dr. Healy Asked Colleagues to Review Study That
Found Roundup and Glyphosate Adverse Effects
Documents Released: 8/1/2017
This document is an email from Dr. Charles Healy to Drs. Farmer and Saltmiras wherein Dr. Healy requests that Drs. Farmer and Saltmiras review the article that Dr. Healy has been asked to review: “you two would be the reviewers in fact and I would then collate your comments and be the reviewer of record.” at *1.
This document is relevant and reasonably likely to be used in this litigation for the same reasons as the above (MONGLY01238768) document. Dr. Healy is violating the standards of the peer-review process by asking his Monsanto colleagues to review a study which observed the cytotoxic effects of glyphosate. Drs. Healy, Farmer, and Saltmiras all have vested interests in the study not being accepted for publication. The reliability and consensus of scientific literature is directly relevant to general causation. This document also goes to witness credibility.
Internal Email Showing Monsanto’s Effort to Silence Science Concluding
Roundup Causes Adverse Health Effects
Documents Released: 8/1/2017
This document is an email from Dr. Charles Healy to Drs. Donna Farmer and David Saltmiras wherein Dr. Healy informs Drs. Farmer and Saltmiras that their decision regarding study sent to Dr. Healy for peer-review will determine whether the study will be published.
This document is relevant and reasonably likely to be used in this litigation as it confirms Monsanto’s efforts in ensuring that studies which reach conclusions of adverse health effects associated with glyphosate avoid publication and do not contribute to the carcinogenic assessment of glyphosate. The reliability and consensus of scientific literature is directly relevant to general causation. This document also goes to witness credibility.
Peer Review by Monsanto Scientist Charles Healy Recommending Rejection
of Study That Found Glyphosate and Roundup Adverse Effects
Documents Released: 8/1/17
This document is a peer review by Monsanto employee Dr. Charles Healy of a study titled “Cytotoxicity of herbicide Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate in rats”. The document contains recommendations for rejecting the study which found substantial adverse cytotoxic effects associated with Roundup and glyphosate.
This document is relevant and reasonably likely to be used in this litigation as it demonstrates Monsanto’s covert manipulation of the science on glyphosate cytotoxicity given Dr. Healy’s vested interests in Monsanto which conflict with the impartiality of the peer review process. Access to comprehensive, impartial peer-reviewed data on glyphosate, which is relied upon by both regulators and scientists to determine the associations between glyphosate and cancer, is thus limited given that Monsanto is able to circumvent the impartiality of the peer-review process. The reliability and consensus of scientific literature is directly relevant to general causation. This document also goes to witness credibility.
Monsanto Email from Donna Farmer Demonstrating Company Manipulation of
No: MONGLY00919381, MONGLY00919400
Documents Released: 8/1/17
This document is an email and from Dr. Donna Farmer wherein she informs John DeSesso that she “added a section in genotox from the Gasnier study …see a attached a critique we did that I took that from. Am working on a section for gasiner in the mechanistic section. Also we cut and pasted in summaries of the POEA surfactant studies.” at *1. The attachment is a draft of the Williams et. al. study with significant edits by Dr. Farmer which is also challenged for confidentiality.
Both documents are relevant and reasonably likely to be used in this litigation as they demonstrate Monsanto’s covert manipulation of the available scientific data on glyphosate. Scientists reading this published and peer-reviewed article would be unaware that the data was furnished by a biased contributor and the document is related to whether the inherent conflict of interest affects the merits of the data when determining the biological plausibility of glyphosate as a carcinogen. The reliability and consensus of scientific literature is directly relevant to general causation. These documents also go to witness credibility.
Emails Between William Heydens, David Saltmiras and others Discussing Kier/Kirkland Study
No: MONGLY02145917 – MONGLY02145930
Documents Released: 3/14/2017
In these documents, Monsanto scientist David Saltmiras admits to writing manuscript of glyphosate genotoxicity literature with Larry Kier, a Monsanto consultant (MONGLY02145925). The email correspondence also details how adding scientist David Kirkland to the study would “add credibility.” (MONGLY02145918)