Monsanto Colluded to “Ghost-Write” Studies on the Pesticide Roundup

Media Contacts
Kara Cook-Schultz


SAN FRANCISCO—Newly-released emails written by executives at Monsanto Co. show that Monsanto employees ghostwrote articles for independent scientists. Leading up to a regulatory hearing on the safety of glyphosate, Monsanto employees were looking for scientific studies showing that Roundup is safe. Monsanto executive William “Bill” Heydens, Regulatory Product Safety Assessment Lead, instructed his staff to ghostwrite portions of a scientific article, planning to have scientists “just sign their names” to the study.

“Monsanto tells us that Roundup is safe because scientists say it is safe.  But apparently scientists sign their names, while Monsanto signs the checks,” says Kara Cook-Schultz, Toxics Director at U.S. PIRG. “This calls into question multiple studies written, or possibly ghostwritten, by agricultural scientists.”

Also included in the email chain is evidence showing that Monsanto regularly works together with other international chemical companies—such as Syngenta and Dow—to publish scientific papers. Christophe Gustin, Monsanto’s Crop Protection Regulatory Affairs Lead at Monsanto Europe, asked for Syngenta and Dow’s sign-off prior to hiring a scientist to publish the results of internal, unpublished studies on Roundup.

The emails were released in a court case where plaintiffs allege that Monsanto’s product Roundup causes cancer.  The case is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Roundup is the most-used weed killer in the country. Nearly 300 million pounds of Roundup are applied in the U.S. every year. Recent studies have found glyphosate in infant formula, beer, wine, and breast milk.

U.S. PIRG’s Ban Roundup Now campaign has been fighting to get the EPA to ban Roundup, and is working with local communities across the country to limit the use of Roundup.

“It’s more important than ever to stand up for independent science,” said Cook-Schultz.

 # # # 

U.S. PIRG, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.