Monsanto Emails Reveal Company's Potential Influence over Cancer Studies

RoundUpA key ingredient, glyphosate, in weedkiller Roundup may cause cancer, and emails from Monsanto employees put the company's role in cancer research into question. According to a Dow Jones news report, "Emails among company employees, released this week as part of a continuing lawsuit over the herbicide, reflect what the plaintiffs' attorneys say was the company's inappropriate role in shaping research and a cozy relationship with regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Monsanto argued the emails were taken out of context."

An EPA toxicologist, who had cancer, concluded that "it is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer." She wrote an impassioned letter to EPA Deputy Division Director Jess Rowland in 2013 highlighting the negative effects of the chemical.

Perhaps the most damning evidence is a Monsanto email summarizing a phone conversation with Rowland, which implies that the EPA is trying "kill" evidence of glyphosate causing cancer:

EPA Monsanto email
In addition, Monsanto's own lead toxicologist wrote in a 2009 email and confirmed in a recent deposition, "you cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer … we have not done carcinogenicity studies with ‘Roundup.'"


  • Once again, let's help companies avoid legal trouble with email. What should Monsanto have done differently?
  • Of course, email isn't to blame, but the company and EPA may be. What went wrong here?