Are you being lied to or misled? Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason certainly thinks so and has provided much supporting evidence. She has been campaigning against the agrochemical industry for many years (all her work can be accessed here) and has borne witness to the destruction of her own nature reserve in South Wales, which she argues is due to the widespread spraying of glyphosate in the area.

In 2016, she wrote an open letter to journalists at The Guardian newspaper in the UK outlining how the media is failing the public by not properly reporting on the regulatory delinquency relating to the harmful chemicals being applied to crops (read it here). Her assertion was that not only humans and the environment are silently being poisoned by thousands of untested and unmonitored chemicals, but that the UK media are silent about the agrochemical industry’s role in this.

She has now sent a new ‘open letter’ to some major newspapers with a six-page document attached: ‘The British Government and Monsanto should stand accused of crimes against humanity’.

It has been sent to the editors-in-chief of The Times, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, the London Evening Standard and The Independent as well as the director general of the BBC and its senior executives. Channel 4 News (UK) reporters have also been sent the document, including senior presenter Jon Snow, and a number of prominent UK government agencies and ministers.

The document discusses the lawsuits that have recently been brought against agrochemical and seed giant Monsanto, issues surrounding the renewal of the licence for glyphosate (key ingredient in Monsanto’s multi-billion-dollar, money-spinning herbicide Roundup) in the EU, rising rates of illness and disease (linked to glyphosate and other agrochemicals), the increasing use of pesticides and the lack of adequate testing and epidemiological studies pertaining to the cocktail of chemicals sprayed on crops.

Mason feels the media should be holding officials and the industry to account. Instead, there seems to be an agenda to confuse the public or to push the issue to one side. For instance, she has in the past argued that too many journalists are reinforcing the pesticides industry’s assertion that cancers are caused by alcohol use and that the catalogue of diseases now affecting modern society comes down to individual choice and lifestyle decisions. The media constantly link alcohol consumption with various cancers and this ‘fact’ is endlessly reinforced until people believe it to be true.

This, Mason argues, neatly diverts attention from the strong links between the increasing amounts of chemicals used in food and agriculture and serious diseases, including cancers.

In her various documents, Mason has over the years highlighted how international and national health and food safety agencies have dismissed key studies and findings in their assessments of the herbicide glyphosate, and she has provided much evidence that the chemical industry has created a toxic (political and natural) environment which affects us all. She argues that these agencies are guilty of regulatory delinquency due to conflicts of interest and have effectively been co-opted, enabling companies to dodge effective regulation.

Mason has gone to great lengths to show how a combination of propaganda disseminated by industry front groups and conflicts of interest allow dangerous chemicals into the food chain and serve to keep the public in the dark about what is taking place and the impacts on their health.

Aside from the subversion of democratic procedures, the result is rivers, streams and oceans polluted with agrochemical run-offs, spiralling rates of illness among the public and the destruction of wildlife and biodiversity.

By writing to major news outlets, Mason is pressing for at least one to take up this issue and finally begin holding public officials and agrochemical companies to account. To its credit, the French newspaper Le Monde has on occasion been unafraid to report on the activities of this industry.

Regardless of industry propaganda, it is not that we need the model of agriculture that these companies profit from. The increasingly globalized industrial food regime that transnational agribusiness is integral to is not feeding the world. It is, moreover, responsible for some of the planet’s most pressing political, social and environmental crises.

There are credible alternatives that actually can feed the world equitably (see ‘United Nations: Agroecology, not Pesticides, is the Future for Food‘).

So, isn’t it about time integrity and public health took precedence over profit and vested interest?

The UN special rapporteur on the right to food Hilal Elver says:

“The power of the corporations over governments and over the scientific community is extremely important. If you want to deal with pesticides, you have to deal with the companies.”

When speaking truth to power, however, perhaps for many well-paid media personnel with careers to protect it is easier to stay silent.

Colin Todhunter is an independent writer: join him on Twitter

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  1. goldenfig says:

    Thanks to this detailed article and several previous ones the glyphosate disaster both at the point of entry of rock phosphate into the Monsanto herbicide plant and at the application end as herbicide we see clearly the input/ output contents: the long lived uranium 238 creating havoc FOREVER. Uranium has the greatest affinity for phosphorus and so to the rock phosphate input: Idaho ores:
    Extract from
    Contributions to the Geology of Uranium and Thorium: By the United States Geological Survey and Atomic Energy Commission for the United Nations International Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, Geneva, Switzerland, 1955, Issue 300
    Lincoln Ridler PageHarriet B. SmithJanuary 1, 1956
    U.S. Government Printing Office:
    Phosphate deposits in the phosphoria formation occur in an area of 135000 sq miles in Idaho, Montana,Utah and Wyoming.Nearly all the beds are uraniferrous; the content ranges from 0.001 to 0.065 percent.Beds more than a metre thick that contain 31% P2O5 generally contain 0.01 to 0.02 % uranium.

    At the start of the process at Monsanto to extract phosphorus from phosphate we have the ore containing from 10 T to 650T of uranium in a million tons of phosphatic ore. At the application end we have the glyphosate product –a herbicide applied to the fields which may be applied along with phosphatic fertilizer but at differing schedules. Now uranium has a large affinity for phosphorus. So at the phosphorus producing plant at Monsanto, how much uranium residue is left in the phosphorus that is input into the process making glyphosate? Or how much percent of the glyphosate product is uranium? Then glyphosate is applied to the fields where GM crops are grown. How much uranium is leached into the glyphosated soil by the glyphosate and the phosphatic fertilizer? How much uranium is taken up by the plants and the food? The uranium with its infinite biological effectiveness is surely causing all the terrible incurable diseases identified with GMOs grown in an environment of glyphosate and phosphatic fertilizer. See ECRR 2010: Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk : The Health Effects of Exposure to Low Doses of Ionizing Radiation: Regulators’ Edition: Brussels 2010. I quote the quote which invokes the supreme sacrifice made by all life at the altar of Monsanto and Bayer because of uranium contamination of food and water: See
    “Moreover, uranium and phosphate have a strong chemical affinity for each other. Thus as
    the DNA and mitochondria are loaded with phosphate, uranium may be considered a DNA and mitochondria deep penetration bomb attacking on fundamental cellular levels.”
    The uranium inside our bodies emits secondary photoelectrons indistinguishable from beta rays after amplifying the background radiation by orders of magnitude for years within the body.
    All this supreme sacrifice of all life is in vain because GMOs are forever damaging and deteriorating our gene pools. Nature is rigidly perfect over eons of evolution. A few human tinkerings will definitely have unacceptable health effects as seen on the ground by people. One must not destroy the biosphere by letting loose the GMO poisons. NEVER.

  2. goldenfig says:

    This article gives more information on the disaster of glyphosate and phosphatic fertilizer being used in combination in India and other regions and implicating uranium in them for the irreversible ecological effects and damages to the gene pool in the biosphere and the resulting diseases and deaths. For getting a feel for the kills see
    One to two fatal cancers per household per year. Modi, stop this mad modern civilization in its tracks NOW. All the concerned authorities responsible must suffer capital punishment if life is to thrive.