The ugly truth that government-approved chemicals applied daily to American crop fields cause cancer is finally seeing the light of day, thanks in large part to the release of a trove of never-before-seen documents known collectively as the “Poison Papers.”
Released by the Bioscience Resource Project (BRP) in collaboration with the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the Poison Papers represents a two-and-a-half ton repository of damning evidence against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has been lying to the American people about chemical safety for many decades.
Jonathan Latham, a virologist, founder of BRP, and editor of Independent Science News (ISN), has been researching this subject for many years, uncovering eye-opening truths that indict the EPA for committing what can only be described as egregious and unfathomable crimes against humanity – all to benefit Big Chemical.
He points to permethrin, often marketed as Nix, as one prominent example of the EPA’s longstanding commitment to supporting the interests of the chemical industry over the interests of the people. Though permethrin was approved by the EPA as “safe and effective” back in 1982, it has since been revealed that the agency knew even back then that permethrin would cause cancer in as much as 10 percent of the total human population – and approved it anyway.
An internal memo penned by one of the EPA’s most senior scientists as the time, Adrian Gross, explains that the evidence was “overwhelming” at the time to show that permethrin “has a marked tumor-inducing or carcinogenic activity which is expressed in many different forms.”
This memo, which is now contained within the Poison Papers archive, fell on deaf ears with the EPA’s then-acting director of its Hazards Evaluation Division, John Melone. Other EPA scientists similarly ignored such evidence as they proceeded to green-light permethrin, even going so far as to claim that it does not increase cancer risk.
“Virtually from its inception in 1970, the EPA has proactively overridden scientific evidence and sacrificed public safety for the benefit of the chemical industry,” wrote Latham in a recent feature piece for Salon.
Will all EPA whistleblowers please stand up?
Permethrin represents just one of many chemicals the EPA has approved despite internal scientific data showing them to be dangerous and cancer-causing – perhaps the most noteworthy example in modern times being the deadly weed-killing agent glyphosate, which serves as the primary active ingredient in Monsanto’s blockbuster Roundup formula.
A growing body of evidence suggests that glyphosate causes cancer in both animals and humans, and that Monsanto has been working overtime to cover up this truth. We also now know that the EPA has been a major player in this coverup, which is costing millions of people their health.
What Latham would like to see more of in order to combat this are brave EPA whistleblowers willing to come forward to tell their stories about the agency’s corruption of science on behalf of the chemical industry.
“Whistleblowers are enormous potential assets to society,” Latham writes. “If they can prove to the satisfaction of outside judges that the performance of their colleagues is seriously deficient or corrupt, then whistleblowers should be formally and generously rewarded.”
EPA leaders also need to be held personally accountable to Congress, which are supposed to act as representatives of the American people, rather than to the president. This will help to root out the politicization of this important regulatory body by whatever political party controls the White House at any given time.
“… rescuing the EPA and guaranteeing public safety is going to take more than firing one bad actor,” Latham contends. “It’s time to heed the lessons of the Poison Papers and make the EPA the servant of the public, not the friend of industry.”
See EPA.news for more coverage of the EPA.
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