Outdoor World

Science shouldn’t be for sale we need reform to industry-funded studies to keep people safe | Carey Gillam

investigators representing three European non-profit customer advocacy groups are raising concerns about the validity of the glyphosate studies generated by the Hamburg facility. No significant concerns with glyphosate were found, according to the tests, three of which looked for glyphosate-related mutagenicity. Monsanto and other chemical companies needed those studies and others to submit to regulators in order to obtain re-approval to sell glyphosate herbicide products in Europe.

We dont know if the LPT glyphosate studies were in any way falsified, but the consumer groups, Corporate Europe Observatory, PAN Germany and Global 2000, say they now have to be considered suspect. And, “theyre saying”, the scandal accentuates the risks of a regulatory system that relies heavily on the findings of industry-funded studies so as to identify if products are safe.

There certainly appears to be ample cause for concern. The Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology( LPT ), which is accused of abusing test animals in addition to being able to doctoring data, was certified as adhering to good laboratory practices. But multiple whistleblowers who worked in the lab have said that falsifying study makes was routine.

Harald Ebner, a member of the German Parliament Bundestag, said the LPT laboratory has obviously delivered the desired results and swept unpleasant makes under the carpet. All LPT scientific work must now be investigated, including the studies submitted to help support glyphosate approvals in Europe, he said.

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment says it is monitoring the situation but insures no reason to question the overall assessment of glyphosate safety given the 24 GLP studies were part of more than 900 other studies or papers that were part of the European glyphosate evaluation.

News of the laboratory fraud accusations comes at a time of developing anxieties among customer and environmentalists that corporate-driven science is doing much to protect corporate profits but little to protect public health and safety. When firms pay for the research, invariably the findings seem to support the safety of whatever products the corporations are trying to sell.

Hundreds of studies to be undertaken by US contract laboratories in the 1970 s, 80 s and 90 s were found to be fraudulent, including some tests used by Monsanto in representations to the US Environmental Protection Agency regarding the companys glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide.

The allegations of fraud at the German lab likewise add to evidence of Monsanto, which was bought by Bayer AG in 2018, influencing scientific studies into the safety of their products. Internal Monsanto files obtained in litigation show multiple tactics were employed by the company and industry allies to manipulate scientific papers about its products, including using ghost-writing research papers and secret funding front groups to support regulatory approvals.

Surely one need not be a cynic to recognize that corporate-funded science is likely to be biased in favor of corporate product approvings even if that bias might come at the expense of public safety. Its foolish to feign otherwise, in light of the examples of deception and fraud that have accumulated over the years.

The German laboratory in question is set to close down later this month. But the larger problem persists.

It is well past time for reform of a severely violated system that deficiencies both truth and transparency. We must be able to trust the soundnes of scientific research as we work to protect our families, our communities and our planet.

Regulatory torsoes should reform their practices of relying on industry-funded studies, and when scam is found be it in the laboratory or in ghostwritten research papers penalty should be swift and unforgiving.

Science should never be for sale.

Carey Gillam is a journalist and author and a public interest researcher for US Right to Know, a not-for-profit food industry research group. She is a Guardian US columnist

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