By Rosemary Mason and Colin Todhunter
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the new director general of the World Health Organization (WHO). With a $4 billion annual budget, WHO’s decisions affect us all and its decisions also affect the bottom line of some of the most powerful corporations on the planet.Health is political. And health is big business. For instance, WHO makes dietary and nutrition recommendations that can affect the likes of Nestle, Unilever, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, General Mills and Kellogg’s. WHO devises a list of essential medicines that governments should stock for the health of their people, thereby affecting the sales of major pharmaceutical companies. It also helps other UN agencies procure billions of dollars of pharmaceutical products by vetting manufacturers to ensure they meet WHO standards and specifications.
WHO wants to place restrictions on the use of antibiotics in food and livestock production, and it also reviews scientific evidence to appraise the cancer-risk of agricultural chemicals, including Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup and Dow’s 2,4-D.
As you might imagine, WHO recommendations can have massive ramifications for big corporations, which can fight tooth and nail to attack and discredit any WHO decision that could damage their strategic market positions and financial bottom line. And this is exactly what we are witnessing right now as Monsanto battles to protect is multi-billion-dollar money spinner Roundup with yet another smear campaign, this time against US toxicologist Dr Christopher Portier. Given what happened to Seralini and his team’s study, it’s all highly predictable.
Rosemary Mason writes to the WHO
the pivotal role of WHO, Dr Rosemary Mason has contacted Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus through an open letter expressing major concerns about the role of transnational agrochemical/agritech corporations and the impacts of their products on human health and the environment.
With the focus clearly on Monsanto, Mason brings to the attention of Ghebreyesus the many lawsuits filed against the company alleging that Roundup causes cancer. These cases have forced Monsanto to reveal emails that show it employed ghost-writing, used scientists as paid lobbyists and targeted those that produced evidence that challenged the company in order to keep Roundup, its flagship herbicide, on the market by fraudulent science.
More than 250 lawsuits are pending against Monsanto in US District Court in San Francisco, filed by people alleging that exposure to Roundup herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma and that Monsanto covered up the risks (Roundup is linked to cancers of the bone, colon, kidney, liver, melanoma, pancreas and thyroid). Additionally, at least 1,100 plaintiffs have made similar claims against Monsanto in state courts, and US attorneys recently came to the European Union with two plaintiffs to support the Members of the European Parliament in their Public Hearing on The Monsanto Papers and glyphosate.
WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has declared glyphosate as a 2A carcinogen. As glyphosate comes up for re-licensing in Europe, in a public hearing in Brussels this month, Dr Christopher Portier and Dr Kate Guyton defended IARC’s position. Dr Portier drew attention to the significance of statistically significant tumour findings that have not been discussed in any of the existing reviews on glyphosate.
Portier concluded that as the regulatory bodies, the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency’s analyses were scientifically flawed. These organisations had also used industry studies that were not in the public domain for ‘reasons of commercial confidentiality’ to support their case that glyphosate was not carcinogenic.
Mason presents a strong case to argue that the US Environmental Protection Agency and European regulators are colluding with Monsanto and the European Glyphosate Task Force: despite the evidence (see Mason’s fully-referenced document ‘Monsanto’ Science is Fraudulent’), they all deny that glyphosate causes cancer.
Corporate hijack of food and farming
Dr Mason goes on to discuss the ‘Green Revolution’ – chemical warfare on plants, soil and biodiversity – which has been a financially lucrative venture for Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta and the other major agrochemical companies.
She identifies the now well-document links between the Rockefeller Foundation and the Green Revolution and how J.D. Rockefeller’s ‘philanthropy’ was instrumental in helping to destroy traditional healthcare practices by having pharmaceutical corporations and allopathic medicine take over healthcare with chemical ‘cures’.
By referring to my recent article, Mason brings the director general’s attention to how powerful, unscrupulous interests have hijacked and redefined both food and agriculture to the detriment of human health and the environment. Global corporations have destroyed thousands of years of agriculture; an ongoing destruction that today rests heavily on the renewal of the license for glyphosate!
She also documents at length scientific fraud, corruption by regulatory agencies and collusion at the highest levels of government that have all conspired to destroy human health. In doing so, she presents a good deal of scientific evidence that highlights the deleterious impacts of various agrochemicals on health.
Re-licensing glyphosate: the European Commission must be stopped
As the preeminent body for directing global health and helping people build a healthier, better future across the world (as stated on the WHO website), it the responsibility of WHO to act:
1) The World Health Organization must declare that the current system of pesticides assessment is corrupt.
2) The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated his intention to introduce the crime of ecocide – the destruction of the environment – as a crime against humanity. It could be used against corporations as well as against individual governments.
3) WHO should press the prosecutor to complete the legislation so Monsanto can be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity.
4) Other agrochemical corporations, the pesticide regulators and governments (including Britain) should follow.
“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.” UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver
It not just about the companies. You also have to challenge the destructive system that fuels the global food and health crisis.
Cancer Research UK statistics for the UK
In 2014 there were13,605 new cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (4,801 deaths); 41,265 new cases of bowel cancer (15,903 deaths); 12,523 new cases of kidney cancer (4,421 deaths); 5,550 new cases of liver cancer (5,091 deaths); 5,419 new cases of melanoma (2,459 deaths); 3,404 new cases of thyroid cancer (376 deaths); and 10,063 new cases of bladder cancer (5,369 deaths)
There were 9,324 new cases of uterine cancer (2,166 deaths); 7,378 cases of ovarian cancer (4,128 deaths); 9,534 new cases of leukaemia (4,584 deaths); 55,222 new cases of invasive breast cancer (11,433 deaths); 46,690 new cases of prostate cancer (11,287 deaths); 8,919 new cases of oesophageal cancer (7,790 deaths); 2,418 new cases of testicular cancer (60 deaths); and 5,501 new cases of myeloma (2,928 deaths). In the US in 2014 there were 24,050 new cases of myeloma.
Unfortunately, the public narrative on cancer has been hijacked by the very corporations responsible for much of the increase in these diseases, thereby conveniently diverting attention away from their role.
(Rosemary Mason is an environmental campaigner. Colin Todhunter is an independent writer/campaigner)