GENTECH archive 8.96-97

[Index][Thread]

Monsanto - 'A company of swindle'?



An interesting memo (without a date) that was posted to the dioxin
listserver today by Joe <svc@soft-vision.com>.  Would you buy a used
chemical from this company ? Or even a 'new' soya bean?

UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
WASHINGTON D.C. 20460

OFFICE OF SOLID WASTE AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE....

MEMORANDUM

      SUBJECT: Criminal Investigation of Monsanto Corporation - Cover-up of
Dioxin Contamination in Products - Falsification of Dioxin Health
Studies.

     FROM: Cate Jenkins, Ph.D., Chemist Regulatory Development Branch
(OS 332) Characterization and Assessment Division.

      TO: John West, Special Agent in Charge Office of Criminal
Investigations Center U.S. Environmental Protection Agency       Building
53, Box 25227 (303) 236-5100 Kevin Guarino, Special Agent Office of
Criminal Investigations National      Enforcement Investigations Center,
EPA

 As per our meeting yesterday, I am summarizing information available to me
supporting allegations of a long pattern of fraud by Monsanto Corporation.
The fraud concerns 2,3,7,7-tetrachlorodibenzodi (dioxin) contamination of
Monsanto's dioxin-exposed workers. You indicated that you would contact me
regarding the specific documents which would be useful to your
investigation.

          SIGNIFICANCE OF MONSANTO'S DIOXIN FRAUD

You stated that pursuing a criminal prosecution against Monsanto would
require a prior determination of the significance of the fraud. In order
for proceedings to be initiated by EPA, the fraud would need to have
affected the regulatory process at EPA and Monsanto would need to have
knowingly submitted the falsified data and health studies to EPA in order
to affect the regulatory process.

Monsanto has in fact submitted false information to EPA which directly
resulted in weakened regulations under RCRA and FIFRA since these
regulations do not take into account tetrachlorinated dioxin contamination
in trig, tetra, and pentachlorophenols, as well as 2,4-dichlorophenol and
its phenoxy acetate (2,3-D, a currently used herbicide). In addition,
Monsanto's failure to report dioxin contamination of the disinfectant in
Lysol has prevented any ban or other alleviation of human exposures to
dioxins in this product.

The Monsanto human health studies have been submitted to EPA by Monsanto as
part of public comments on proposed dioxin rules and Agency-wide dioxin
health studies are continually relied upon by all offices of EPA to
conclude that dioxins have not caused cancer or other health effects (other
than chloracne) in humans. Thus, dioxin has been given a lesser
carcinogenic potential ranking, which continues to be the basis of less
stringent regulations and lesser degrees of environmental controls. The
Monsanto studies in question also have been a key basis for denying
compensation to Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange and their children
suffering birth defects from such parental exposures. (1)

Monsanto would not be able to support a claim that independent  researchers
were responsible for the falsifications, because Monsanto personnel
compiled all data utilized by these researchers. In addition the National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences partially funded one of the
Monsanto studies in question providing a basis for charges of the
fraudulent use of governmental funds.

          DIOXIN CONTAMINATION OF MONSANTO PRODUCTS

Monsanto covered-up the dioxin contamination of a wide range of its
products. Monsanto either failed to report contamination, substituted false
information purporting to show no contamination or submitted samples to the
government for analysis which had been specially prepared so that dioxin
contamination did not exist.

The earliest known effort by Monsanto to cover-up dioxin contamination of
its products involved the herbicide used in Vietnam Agent Orange (2,4, 5-
trichlorophenoxy acetate, 2,4,5-T). Available internal Monsanto
correspondence in the 1960s shows a knowledge of this contamination and the
fact that the dioxin contaminant was responsible for kidney and liver
damage, as well as the skin condition chloracne."

          Early internal Monsanto documents reveal that samples of 2,4,5-T
and other chlorinated herbicides and chlorophenols submitted to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture in the 1970s were "doctored." In other words,
highly contaminated samples were not submitted to the government, and
Monsanto samples of penta tetra-, tetra-, tri-, dichlorophenol, and
associated herbicides never contained tetrachlorinated dioxins. These
analyses were subsequently adopted by EPA in a 1980 publication and were
used without any data from other sources as the basis for 1984 regulations
under RCRA. As a result, these regulations do not control the chlorophenol
phenoxy acetate products as acutely hazardous due to their contamination of
tetrachlorinated dioxins.


          Monsanto also submitted assertions to EPA that process chemistry
would
          preclude the formation of tetrachlorophenol or its phenoxy acetate.
          Evidence from the Kemner v. Monsanto proceedings revealed that
this process
          chemistry claimed by Monsanto was not always used. In fact, off-
          specification dichlorophenol, known to be contaminated with
          tetrachlorinated dioxin, was being used as a feedstock to make
          pentachlorophenol and other chlorinated products. The result of this
          alternate synthesis route is the introduction of dioxins as a
contaminants.
          EPA also relied on these "process chemistry" arguments by
Monsanto as a
          basis for not regulating most chlorophenols and 2,4-D for their
          tetrachlorinated dioxin content.

          Another Monsanto document introduced as evidence in the above
proceedings
          shows cross-contamination of a range of Monsanto products with
          tetrachlorinated dioxins by the following mechanism: The same
production
          equipment is used without cleaning for all chlorinated phenolic
products.
          In 1984, when promulgating the dioxin regulations under RCRA, EPA
was only
          made aware of the cross contamination problem in the event that
2,4-D was
          made on equipment previously used to make 2,4,5-T. Thus, EPA
again was
          subverted from promulgating adequate regulations for products
other than
          2,4-D that were cross-contaminated with dioxins.

          Members of the Canadian Parliament recently directed
investigations by
          the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and government scientist into
the dioxin
          contamination of disinfectants such as Lysol containing Monsanto's
          Santophen (ortho-dichloro-para-phenol), and directed laboratory
analyses of
          existing stocks. This disinfectant uses the ortho-dichlorophenol,
discussed
          above, as a feedstock, which would introduce any dioxins present
into the
          disinfectant. In a 1984 letter to the Canadian government, Monsanto
          asserted that their disinfectant contained no dioxin. This was later
          refuted by testimony by Monsanto's chemist.

          FRAUDULENT DIOXIN HEALTH STUDIES

          As you indicated today, demonstrating criminal fraud in the
          epidemiological studies performed by Monsanto on its
dioxin-exposed workers
          would necessitate bringing in appropriate groups in EPA capable of
          performing scientific study audits.(3) You indicated, however,
that NEIC
          did not believe this would be a barrier to the investigation. The
following
          are a few key instances where obvious fraud was utilized in the
conduct of
          these studies:

          Dr. Raymond Suskind at the University of Cincinnati was hired by
Monsanto
          to study the workers at Monsanto's Nitro, West Virginia plant.
Dr. Suskind
          stated in published studies in question that chloracne, a skin
condition
          was the prime indicator of high human dioxin exposures, and no
other health
          effects would be observed in the absence of this condition.
Unpublished
          studies by Suskind, however, indicate the fallacy of this
statement. No
          workers except those having chloracne were ever examined by
Suskind or
          included in his study. In other words, if no workers without
chloracne were
          ever examined for other health effects, there is no basis for
asserting
          that chloracne was "the hallmark of dioxin intoxication."(4) These
          conclusions have been repeatedly utilized by EPA, the Veterans
          Administration, etc., to deny any causation by dioxin of health
effects of
          exposed citizens, if these persons did not exhibit chloracne.

          The results of Dr. Suskind's studies also were diluted by the
fact that
          the exposed group contained not only individuals having chloracne (a
          genuine, but not the only effect of dioxin exposure), but also
all workers
          having any type of skin condition such as chemical rash. The
workers could
          have had no or negligible dioxin exposures, but they were
included in the
          study as part of the heavily exposed group. This fact was
revealed only by
          the careful reading of the published Suskind study.(5) Further,
Dr. Suskind
          utilized statistics on the skin conditions of workers compiled by a

          Monsanto clerical worker, without any independent verification.(6)
          Dr. Suskind also covered-up the documented neurological damage from
          dioxin exposures. At Workers Compensation hearings, Suskind
denied that the
          workers experienced any neurological health effects. In the
Kemner, et al.
          v. Monsanto proceedings, however, it was revealed that Suskind
had in his
          possession at the time examinations of the workers by Monsanto's
physician,
          Dr. Nestman, documenting neurological health effects. In his later
          published study, Dr. Suskind denied the continuing documented
neurological
          health effects suffered by the workers, falsely stating that
symptoms "had
          cleared."

          All of the Monsanto dioxin studies also suffer another fatal
flaw. The
          purported "dioxin unexposed" control group was selected from
other workers
          at the same Monsanto plant. An earlier court settlement revealed
not only
          that these supposedly unexposed workers were exposed to dioxins,
but also
          to other carcinogens. One of these carcinogens, para-amino
biphenyl, was
          known by Monsanto to be a human carcinogen and it was also known that
          workers were heavily exposed.

          Another Monsanto study involved independent medical examinations of
          surviving employees by Monsanto physicians. Several hundred
former Monsanto
          employees were too ill to travel to participate in the study.
Monsanto
          refused to use the attending physicians reports of the illness as
part of
          their study, saying that it would introduce inconsistencies.
Thus, any
          critically ill dioxin-exposed workers with cancers such as
Non-Hodgkins
          lymphoma (associated with dioxin exposures), were conveniently
excluded
          from the Monsanto study.

          There are numerous other flaws in the Monsanto health studies.
Each of
          these misrepresentations and falsifications always served to
negate any
          conclusions of adverse health effects from dioxins. A careful
audit of
          these studies by EPA's epidemiological scientists should be
obtained as
          part of your investigation.

          The false conclusions contained in the Monsanto studies have recently
          been refuted by the findings of a recent study by the National
Institute of
          Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH). This NIOSH study, recently
circulated
          by Dr. Marilyn Fingerhut for review, found a statistically
significant
          increase in cancers at all sites in the Monsanto workers, when dioxin
          exposed workers at Monsanto and other industrial locations were
examined as
          an aggregate group.(7)

          Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding documents to
support your
          investigation, which include testimony and evidentiary documents
from the
          on-going Kemner v Monsanto litigation, earlier litigation in West
Virginia
          brought by the Monsanto workers, ongoing investigations by the
Canadian
          government internal Monsanto documents, as well as documentation
of the
          submission of the fraudulent data and studies by Monsanto to
support the
          rulemaking process under RCRA and other EPA authorities.


  ........................................................
 Alan Watson C.Eng                           _\\|//_
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