Monsanto Employees Secretly Helped Write Roundup Safety Reviews, Documents Show

Analysts pouring over documents uncovered during the lawsuits over side effects of Roundup indicate that there appears to be mounting evidence that Monsanto manipulated the science and safety reviews of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the controversial weedkiller, which has been blamed for causing cases of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other cancers. 

On August 1, a cache of internal memos and e-mails, being referred to as the “Monsanto Papers”, were released to the public as part of the ongoing discovery process in Roundup lawsuits. The litigation involves cases filed by hundreds of farmers, landscapers, agricultural workers and other regular users of the weedkiller, alleging that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the potential cancer risks and importance of taking safety precautions while spraying the weedkiller.

While it was previously reported that the internal documents suggest that Monsanto officials expressed concerns about the safety of Roundup, and worked to influence some scientific studies that supported their public claims that the weedkiller was safe, a new investigative report by Bloomberg News suggests that the documents show that Monsanto went even further, actually ghostwriting some of its own safety reviews.

Learn More About

Roundup Lawsuits

Exposure to RoundUp May Increase Risk of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Other Cancers. Lawsuits Reviewed Nationwide.

Learn More About this Lawsuit See If You Qualify For Compensation

According to the report, documents reveal that Monsanto was actually behind a supposedly independent review of Roundup safety published in Critical Reviews of Toxicology in September 2016. The company admitted it paid Intertek Group Plc, a consulting firm, to have the safety review written on their behalf, but said Monsanto employees had no input into the final product. However, the company’s internal memos indicate that was not the whole truth.

It now appears that the Monsanto’s scientists were heavily involved in the creation of the “independent” review; reviewing, organizing and even editing the study, and having veto power over the tone and content of the research.

The review was written in response to a report by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in mid-2015. The move has sparked world-wide concerns about why Monsanto failed to provide warnings and recommend safety precautions for users of Roundup, and sparked the avalanche of recent product liability lawsuits filed in courts nationwide.

Monsanto has pushed back against the release of the internal memos, calling on the court presiding over the litigation to sanction plaintiffs’ attorneys for making them public. However, plaintiffs attorneys maintain that they properly gave Monsanto notice of their objection to the classification of the documents as confidential, and the company failed to take appropriate steps to challenge the release, as required by prior court order.

Monsanto officials have also challenged Bloomberg’s interpretation of the documents, indicating that they did not have anything more than cosmetic input on the safety review study.

Monsanto now faces hundreds of non-Hodgkins lymphoma lawsuits, each raising similar allegations that the cancer diagnosis may have been avoided if Monsanto had provided adequate warnings, and not taken steps to falsify data and mislead about the safety of the weedkiller.

Given the similar questions of fact and law presented in lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established consolidated pretrial proceedings for all federal Roundup cases in October 2016, centralizing the claims before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California to reduce duplicative discovery, prevent conflicting rulings and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

As part of the coordinated MDL proceedings, Judge Chhabria has previously determined that the Roundup litigation will be bifurcated, first addressing general causation about the link between the widely used weedkiller and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, before addressing case-specific issues about whether Roundup caused cancer for each individual plaintiff.

Following resolution of any motions to dismiss based on general causation, if a Roundup settlement or other resolution for the litigation is not reached during the first phase of discovery, it is expected that Judge Chhabria will establish a bellwether process, where a small group of cases will be prepared for early trial dates to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the lawsuits.


  • DonaldAugust 20, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Moved to Eastern n.c 6 years ago been sick with breathing problems past 2 years. Every time fields get sprayed by airplane I get to visit hospital.

"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Onewheel "Nosedive" Lawsuit Filed Days Before Manufacturer Recalled Electric Skateboards (Posted today)

A OneWheel nosedive lawsuit claims the battery-operated scooter is defectively designed, causing riders to suffer serious injuries when the device suddenly stops and pitches forward.

Problems with Philips CPAP Machines Reported 11 Years Before Recall Issued By Manufacturer
Problems with Philips CPAP Machines Reported 11 Years Before Recall Issued By Manufacturer (Posted 4 days ago)

A ProPublica report reveals that Philips officials hid thousands of reports of problems with sound abatement foam used in millions of CPAP machines, failing to recall the devices for more than a decade after receiving the first complaints.