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Monsanto Hires Internet Trolls to Cover Up Roundup’s Cancer Risk - 2017
According to court documents, Monsanto hired third parties to search out negative comments about their products and counter them with pseudo-scientific research commissioned by the company itself.
Mike Papantonio, of America's Lawyer, predicts that Monsanto will pay heavily in a jury trial and describes how the company even has trolled The Ring of Fire, while manipulating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Back in February 2006, journalist Paul Thacker wrote a story called "The Weinberg proposal." It appeared in Environmental Science & Technology, a journal published by the American Chemical Society.
The piece was about the Weinberg Group, a scientific consulting firm in D.C. It works for chemical companies to manufacture uncertainty about the health and environmental effects of chemicals, with the aim of fighting off regulatory and legal challenges. Lest you think that description melodramatic, it's worth reading the letter Weinberg sent DuPont (PDF) on that company's battle over Teflon. It describes how Weinberg would "harness, focus and involve the scientific and intellectual capital of our company with one goal in mind—creating the outcome our client desires." Thacker uncovered the letter in an EPA docket.
As part of his investigation, Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wants to examine the role played by the Weinberg Group, a Washington firm that employs scientists, lawyers and public relations specialists to defend products from legal and regulatory action. The firm has worked on Agent Orange, tobacco and Teflon, among other products linked to health hazards, and congressional investigators say it was__hired by Sunoco, a BPA manufacturer__.
In a statement, Dingell said, "The tactics apparently employed by the Weinberg Group raise serious questions about whether science is for sale at these consulting groups, and the effect this faulty science might have on the public health."
The chairman pointed to a confidential Weinberg Group document published in 2006, in which the firm suggested to DuPont de Nemours & Company several ways it could help "shape the debate" about one of its chemical products. The firm proposed developing "blue-ribbon panels," "constructing a study to establish" that DuPont's chemical was safe, and arranging the publication of papers "dispelling the alleged nexus" between the company's chemical and its alleged harmful effects on humans.
"We will harness...the scientific and intellectual capital of our company with one goal in mind -- creating the outcome our client desires," the 2003 letter stated. The company reportedly confirmed the authenticity of the letter to the publication which revealed it, Environmental Science & Technology.
Congress Accuses Consultant of Endangering Public Health
Dingell and Stupak accused the Weinberg Group of using a playbook of tactics to "shape the debate" about controversial chemicals." Among the tactics: develop blue ribbon panels, construct studies and publish white papers in order to convince the public of the safety of a controversial chemical. (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sought comment from Weinberg Group and did not get a response.)
The Weinberg Group describes itself as "an international scientific and regulatory consulting firm that helps companies protect their product at every stage of its life. We help our clients improve manufacturing processes, clear regulatory hurdles, and defend products in the courts and the media."
The Weinberg Website goes on to tout its credentials, which indicate how far-reaching the implications of the Congressional accusation could be:
"Our technical, scientific and regulatory experts deliver the crucial results that get products to market and keep them there.
The Weinberg Group has successfully partnered with Fortune 500 companies, as well as leading corporations of all sizes from around the world. Our clients represent a broad range of industries, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, chemical, consumer product, food and cosmetic."