Monsanto’s battle with UN over allegedly cancerous herbicide

2 Jun

Monsanto Papers : the battle of information

translated from

To defend glyphosate, the firm has taken the issue to the United Nations Against Cancer, which has classed its flagship product cancerous. Second section of our inquiry.

It had promised “more inoffensive than the salt on the table”, but that was just in its adverts. Glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on the planet, the principal ingredient in its flagship product, the Roundup, on which it has based its business model, its fortune and reputation, sold for more than forty years and becoming a best-seller with the development of transgenic seeds called “Roundup ready”, could be in reality cancerous.

On 20 March 2015, Monsanto was visibly affected. On that day, glyphosate was declared genetically toxic (it damages DNA), cancerous to animals and “likely cancerous” to people, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The jury: a group of 17 seasoned experts of 11 nationalities, assembled by this official agnec of the UN charged with compiling an inventory of cancerous substances et whose opinion has been the authority for almost half a century. There is therefore no doubt that this will also be the case for their conclusions on glyphosate, published in the form of a report, ‘monograph 112’

Declaration of War

Far from sight, the fury of the American firm crossed the Atlantic by fibre-optic. The same day, a missive amounting to a declaration of war parted for Geneva, in Switzerland, directed to the World Health Organisation, the umbrella body of the IARC

The paper bore at its head the celebrated green branch surrounded by an orange rectangle: the Monsanto logo. “We seem to understand that the members of the CIRC have deliberately chosen to ignore the numerous studies and regulatory evaluations publicly available which support the conclusion that glyphosate does not present a risk to human health”, accused Philip Miller, the vice president of Monsanto charged with regulatory affairs.


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