Weedkiller scientist was paid £120,000 by cancer lawyers
Posted on October 19th, 2017

Courtesy The Times (UK)

A scientist who advised a United Nations agency to classify the world’s most widely used weedkiller as carcinogenic received $160,000 (£121,500) from law firms bringing claims by cancer victims against the manufacturer.

Christopher Portier advised the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organisation, which concluded in March 2015 that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen”.

He did not declare his links to the law firms in a letter to the European Commission urging it to accept the IARC classification.

The commission is debating whether to continue to allow sales of glyphosate, which is used by thousands of British farmers to protect their crops and also by millions of gardeners to control weeds. The UK is expected to support renewing glyphosate’s licence for ten years but France, Germany and Italy may oppose it.

The National Farmers’ Union said a ban on glyphosate, which is used on a third of wheat and oilseed rape fields, would cost the UK economy £900 million by reducing crop yields and farm incomes. Guy Smith, NFU vice president, said it allowed farmers to kill weeds without cultivating land, reducing fuel consumption by tractors and preserving soil structure.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency rejected IARC’s findings and declared glyphosate to be safe.

However, Greenpeace and other environmental groups said it should be banned because residues of the chemical remain in the crop and soil and leak into water supplies.

Dr Portier began advising Lundy & Lundy, one of the US law firms about two months before IARC’s decision on glyphosate. He said he had been hired by the firm to advise on an unrelated matter and his contract to advise on glyphosate cases was dated nine days after the IARC announcement.

His payments from the law firms were revealed in documents disclosed to Monsanto, which sells glyphosate and is facing lawsuits from hundreds of people in the US who claim it caused their cancer. Dr Portier denied that his advice had been influenced by financial interest.

He accepted that he had been paid $160,000 but said he had not realised he had earned so much. I didn’t add it up. One of Monsanto’s lawyers pointed it out to me. I went ‘really?’ ”

He added: My only defence is: ‘should I work for free?’ I have expertise and years and years of experience.

If I was out to make money would I be working for the law firms or for Monsanto? Monsanto would love to have me switch sides. I could probably ask for anything I want.”

Dr Portier said he was motivated by anger that regulators had overlooked evidence from experiments on rodents that glyphosate caused cancer.

He admitted that he probably should have” declared his links with the law firms in an open letter sent in November 2015 to Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European health commissioner, urging him to disregard EFSA’s finding that glyphosate was safe. He said he had disclosed the links before December 21, 2015.

4 Responses to “Weedkiller scientist was paid £120,000 by cancer lawyers”

  1. Cerberus Says:

    WHO deemed that Glyphosate was cancer-causing. Even if it does not cause cancer there are many other diseases which are caused by Glyphosate. Please see: http://www.ecowatch.com/15-health-problems-linked-to-Monsanto's-roundup-1882002128.html
    There is a group now taking Agribusiness to courts. See: https://foodrevolution.org/blog/food-and-health/monsanto-tribunal/

    TRIBUNAL CONCLUDES: Monsanto is a scientific fraud guilty of ecocide and crimes against humanity

    See the following: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tribunal-concludes-monsanto-scientific-fraud-guilty-seneviratne

    Stephanie Seneff, PhD, MIT CSAIL presents “The ‘SAFE’ Herbicide that’s making us all Sick!” Seneff’s three decades of scientific rigor is added to a growing body of independent research that exposes the toxic reality of America’s favorite weed killer and biocide; Monsanto’s RoundUp.

    Presented by The SHAKA Movement’s Christina Fisher & Seeds of Truth’s Melissa Yee

    Special Thanks to “The Five Citizens” – Mark Sheehan, Alika Atay, Lei’ohu Ryder, Dr. Bonnie Marsh & Dr. Lorrin Pang

    Contact Information:
    Website/Donations: mauigmomoratoriumnews.org
    Email: info@defendmauigmomiracle.org

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYC6oyBglZI&index=1&list=PL-rD8VnTXGFzAqE8TmDbz6D39ELSP-0xN – Stephanie Seneff, PhD on Glyphosate (RoundUp) Poisoning
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmAsTrsUjBc&index=2&list=PL-rD8VnTXGFzAqE8TmDbz6D39ELSP-0xN – Live to 110 Podcast #166 Glyphosate and How to Detox It with Dr. Stephanie Seneff

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snNRfAfSeUk&list=PL-rD8VnTXGFzAqE8TmDbz6D39ELSP-0xN&index=3 – Glyphosate Pretending to be Glycine: Devastating Consequences – Stephanie Seneff, PhD
    Anthony Samsel/ Stephanie Seneff’s peer-reviewed paper on Glyphosate, fifth volume, is out. In an interview with Tony Mitra, he lays out the proof how glyphosate as an analog (mimic) of glycine, gets picked up by our body and used by our RNA, mistakenly thinking it is glycine, to go into various parts of our biology and how, once it gets there, it creates malfunctioning proteins that become the trigger for illness and disease.
    The first part of the long interview is already put up at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C7E2…
    This is the second part, comprising almost 38 minutes. It also includes, at the end segment, the five-minute talk on how the scientist got various vaccines tested for concentration of glyphosate and how he found the unwanted molecule to be present in many of the vaccines.
    This five-minute video has separately been put up at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k33iF…, but is also included here as part of the whole interview.
    This second part, together with the first one, covers over one hour of interview. There is a third and last part yet to come.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPhfJx0o38o&t=9s – Anthony Samsel on Glyphosate mimicking glycine, part 2

    Dr. Thierry Vrain, former genetic engineer and soil biologist with Agriculture Canada, spoke with us today about his concerns with genetically engineered crops (GMOs) and more importantly, the use of Glyphosate (RoundUp). Dr. Vrain’s background in the field of genetic engineering (for 30 years), makes him an expert on this gene technology. He explained how a cell is genetically engineered and what happens after this random insertion process through a gene gun and how it can have unknown effects.

    Since leaving Agriculture Canada 12 years ago, he has learned much more about the process of genetic engineering and the BT process (insect resistant) and the HT (herbicide resistant) crops that make up about 500 million acres. His primary concern at this time is the widespread use of Glyphosate which is a powerful herbicide, mineral chelator and a patented antibiotic. Dr. Vrain stated when speaking about Glyphosate:

    “It’s almost as if the entire population of North American is on a low-grade antibiotic diet day in day out from birth, every day, so this is the reality.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN3LXjigjIg&t=68s – Dr. Thierry Vrain, Former Pro-GMO Scientist, Speaks Up Against Glyphosate

    Study after study is showing up these days that tell us that Monsanto’s Roundup is causing cancer and other extremely severe neurological defects. Monsanto adamantly denies all of these charges, but they cannot deny the reality of science. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with attorney Howard Nations.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NPDO3KDRJc – Monsanto Trying to Cover Up Deadly Health Risks of Roundup – The Ring Of Fire

    To learn more about the Monsanto Roundup litigation, visit https://www.levinlaw.com/monsanto-rou…

    Spread the word! LIKE and SHARE this video or leave a comment to help direct attention to the stories that matter. And SUBSCRIBE to stay connected with Ring of Fire’s video content!

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    Monsanto Trying to Cover Up Deadly Health Risks of Roundup – The Ring Of Fire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NPDO3KDRJc

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    People must get to know about the Shikimate Pathway which is the ‘path’ in all plant life used by the Glyphosate weedkiller to kill weeds.
    Glyphosate has the potential to kill any plant, including gut flora in the human digestive system used for healthy digestion of food.
    Plants (vegetables, tea etc) where Glyphosate is used will absorb at least some of the Glyphosate and people will ingest it, as Glyphosate is not broken down and removed on washing (the stuff is IN the plant, not an outside coating), and cooking.

    Ingested Glyphosate will kill gut bacteria too, impairing digestion to various degrees, resulting in various diseases, including CKD.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    Glyphosate kills the tea plant itself after some time. Please see the article below.

    http://archives.dailynews.lk/2004/06/24/fea05.html

    ‘Be cautious in using glyphosate for weed control in tea’
    by Dr. Kapila Prematilake
    Daily News, June 24, 2004

    (Senior Research Officer), Low Country Station, Tea Research Institute, Ratnapura and B.P. Ekanayake (Officer-in-Charge), Mid Country Station, Tea Research Institute, Hantana, Kandy.

    Glyphosate herbicide, when sprayed to the weed foliage gets translocated to all plant tissues and effectively kills the entire plant including rhizomes of perennial weeds. Ability of killing wide range of weeds makes Glyphosate one of the most versatile herbicides.

    Thus, most of the tea estates and smallholders heavily depend on glyphosate for weed control. Glyphosate (36% a.i.) is marketed in Sri Lanka under different trade names.

    Wilting tea plants (photo)

    However, indiscriminate use of glyphosate on tea lands has adversely affected health and productivity of the tea bush in the recent years. Furthermore, increasing levels of glyphosate residues have been reported in our tea exported to other countries.

    Glphosate was first introduced to tea cultivation in 1980s for the control of problem weeds such as Couch and Illuk grasses. Higher dosages of glyphosate (36%) at 11 and 5.5 litres in 600 of water per hectare were recommended to control Couch and Illuk grasses, respectively.

    Later in 1995, the lower rates of glyphosate i.e. 1.4-2.8 1/ha (0.25.5%) were recommended to control other weeds as well. From the inception TRI has recommended series of precautionary measures to be adopted when using glyphosate for weed control in tea.

    However, symptoms of discolouration, browning of leaves, wilting, twisting or curling of leaves have been observed as phtotoxic symptoms of glyphosate. Higher dosages of glyphosate could result in leaf fall, and sometimes death of the plant.

    In mature tea, damages are generally observed on peripheral shoots, which grow laterally at a lower height almost at the ground level. Symptoms of deformed leaves, development of multiple buds and formation of rosettes may appear about 4-5 weeks after application.

    Thus, the ultimate result of regular spraying of glyphosate is debilitation of the bush and decline in yield. Recent field investigations have also confirmed the debilitation and yield decline due to regular use of glyphosate (i.e 3.4 rounds per year) over a period of 4-year cycle (Table 1).

    Furthermore, regular use of glyphosate could result in glyphosate residues in made tea. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Maximum Residual Level (MRL) of glyphosate allowed in Black tea is 0.5 parts per million (ppm), i.e. 0.5 mg in one kg of black tea.

    When glyphosate is used in excess of 0.5% (>2.7 l/ha) on tea lands glyphosate residues have been detected until 14 days after application, whereas, glyphosate residues have not been detected in tea seven days after application when the rates are below 0.5%.

    Moreover, it is also well known that the use of a single herbicide can lead to development of resistance in weeds.

    In spite of the cautionary notes issued by the TRI, some estates and tea small holders are using glyphosate at rates higher than 0.5% i.e. about 3-4 l/ha/round 4-5 times a year.

    As a result of such deviation from the TRI recommendations for the use of glyphosate, stipulated in Circulars and Guidelines, a serious situation is being emerged in the tea industry. This may be attributed to lack of knowledge and awareness on safe use of herbicides, particularly of glyphosate.

    The majority of smallholders used to get improper advices from the salesmen of pesticide outlets.

    Even in the estate sector field staff and workers have not been properly educated on safe and effective methods of herbicide use.

    Therefore, it is necessary that the field staff and workers, who are directly engaged in herbicide application be educated in all aspects of chemical weed control, which covers phytotoxicity, mode of action, residue levels, persistency, dosages and rates of application of all recommended herbicides used for weed control in tea.

    Further, they should be educated on proper use of spray equipments, correct nozzles, spray guards and correct pressure of application.

    In order to minimize adverse effects and build up of residues in made tea it is recommended that number applications of glyphosate should be limited to two rounds per year for mature tea and it should not be used on young tea (up to first pruning) and first year after pruning.

    Though, Glyphosate is a total weed killer, some weeds such as Commelina, Hedyotis, Cyperus spp, Wedelia and Morning Glory are tolerant to Glyphosate.

    Therefore, it is not advisable to use glyphosate on these weeds and they should be controlled by cocktail mixtures of herbicides or by other methods. Today, the estates are compelled to practise chemical weeding due to the acute shortage of labour. The use of glyphosate in the estate sector is alarmingly high.

    Some estates are undergoing economic crisis due to lower NSA and lower profit margin with a low capital investment. As a result those estates are compelled to use a single herbicide like glyphosate to reduce cost of weeding.

    However, the adverse effects of improper use of this weedicide on tea fields overweigh the short term benefits such as reduction of cost of weeding.

    Therefore, it is extremely necessary to adhere to the recommendations of the TRI given in the form of advisory circulars, guidelines and precautionary notes.

    In this context, a lower dose of glyphosate could be used with a wetting agent or a surfactant available in the market or with Ammonium Sulphate, Urea of Kaolin for weed control in tea.

    Weeds that are not killed by glyphosate should be selectively controlled by other means of managing weeds such as manual or cultural method or with a cocktail mixture of weedicides as recommended by the TRI.

    Otherwise these weeds could become dominant and eventually a threat in tea cultivation. Finally, for an effective and sustainable weed management in tea, resorting to a minimum number of rounds of the same herbicide particularly glyphosate within a year in combination with other herbicides and practice of other manual, cultural and biological methods in rotation should meticulously be followed.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    $160,000 is peanuts compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars showered upon various groups to defend the chemical. I’m sure Sri Lankan authorities and politicians are bribed to the tune of millions of dollars to lift the ban.

    A recent study by the University of California San Francisco has found the glyphosate residue inside human body has increased enormously over the past few decades. Soon there will be tighter restrictions on importing glyphosate laden food (including Lankan tea).

    Members of the European Parliament have called upon EU countries to ban glyphosate and reduce the renewal of licence period from 10 years to 5 to 7 years.

    Thanks Fran and Cerberus for sharing those vital information.

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