Guest Columnist Dr Stephen C. Frantz: Pesticide Regulatory Reform Needed

Monsanto’s emails, texts, reports, studies and internal memoranda were ruled by the courts as “non-confidential” and were subsequently pu...



Monsanto’s emails, texts, reports, studies and internal memoranda were ruled by the courts as “non-confidential” and were subsequently published as “The Monsanto Papers” and widely distributed by the Los Angeles law firm. Angeles, Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman. An overview of the process was published in the May 24 edition of Elsevier’s Science Digest.

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is to review these documents. The Massachusetts Pesticide Board is responsible for advising the MDAR commissioner on the administration and implementation of general pesticide laws. The Pesticides Council subcommittee is responsible for registering all pesticides.

Since these frequently default to ‘EPA standards’, the scientific robustness of their scrutiny of each pesticide is questionable, as evidenced, for example, by their authorization / registration of various formulations of 2,4 -DB, oxytetracycline, paraquat, atrazine, neonicotinoids, chlorpyrifos and, of course, glyphosate. These are largely banned in the European Union.

EPA and MDAR are forced to change their registration procedures in order to put people, public health and the environment above the economic interests of the pesticide industry, its shareholders and the perceived needs of the industrial agriculture and their well-paid lobbyists.

MDAR has published a seriously contested review of glyphosate online. It’s incredibly outdated; their review, approval and registration process is clearly out of step with current and independent scientific knowledge. Understanding of the impacts of pesticides is constantly evolving, especially with regard to the effects on non-target species, water bodies and other environmental resources.

In MDAR’s post, their latest entry cites a “personal communication” with Bill Heydens 32 years ago. Know that Monsanto executive William Heydens played a major role in “The Monsanto Papers”, including admitting to having written the introductory chapter of a report by a group of “independent” experts. Heydens appears to be the mastermind behind much of Monsanto’s scientific corruption in touting the “safety” of glyphosate.

Essentially, executives were more concerned with preventing follow-up studies than ensuring safety; they were intended to avoid regulatory oversight. The Elsevier 2021 report concludes that Monsanto’s efforts to derail regulatory oversight would not have happened without their research misconduct to build up a collection of seemingly independent journal publications and reports mistakenly indicating the safety of glyphosate.

Monsanto has abused the scientific process in a propagandistic manner to foster ignorance and doubt within the scientific community. Regulatory reform will be necessary, and lawmakers should also criminalize private scientific misconduct in order to preserve knowledge creation and the integrity of the scientific process.

Dr Stephen C. Frantz is a research pathobiologist and resident of South Hadley.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Guest Columnist Dr Stephen C. Frantz: Pesticide Regulatory Reform Needed
Guest Columnist Dr Stephen C. Frantz: Pesticide Regulatory Reform Needed
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