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A deadly pattern of collusion and deceit: Both industry and regulators are aware of the dangers of pesticides

When corporate interests and government agencies collide, you get a veritable Pandora’s box of corruption, collusion and deceit. And when those corporate interests include toxic pesticides, you get the Poison Papers. Collectively, the Poison Papers are 20,000 pages of documents which prove government agencies and industry cronies have worked together to obscure the truth about pesticides, herbicides and other toxic chemicals for years.

Leaders of the agrichemical industry and government regulators alike are fully aware of the tremendous risk these chemical toxins pose to not just human health, but to the health of our planet as we know it (or at this point, used to know it). And they haven’t just sat idly by twiddling their thumbs — they have actively deceived the public and even the media regarding the safety of these products. Indeed, the regulatory processes we have relied upon to protect us and our environment here in the United States are nothing more than flimsy, fraudulent schemes that ultimately serve corporate interests instead of the people of this country.

Decades of deceit from industry leaders and regulators

The Bioscience Resource Project and the Center for Media and Democracy put together an inventory of chemical industry and regulatory agency documents dating back to the 1920s — yes, nearly a century’s worth of collusion and lies are on record.

Dr. Jonathan Latham, Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project, commented on the project and declared, “These documents represent a tremendous trove of previously hidden or lost evidence on chemical regulatory activity and chemical safety. What is most striking about these documents is their heavy focus on the activities of regulators. Time and time again regulators went to the extreme lengths of setting up secret committees, deceiving the media and the public, and covering up evidence of human exposure and human harm. These secret activities extended and increased human exposure to chemicals they knew to be toxic.”

With over 20,000 pages, there are surely an untold number of scandals still waiting to be revealed — but plenty already have made themselves known.

For example, two documents showed that chemical company Dow hired a dermatologist from the University of Pennsylvania to experiment on prisoners in the 196os so they could study the effects of TCDD. TCDD is a toxic contaminant found in 2,4,5-T — and 2,4,5-T was one of the key ingredients in Agent Orange. It’s now known to cause cancer and birth defects in humans, and is also damaging to wildlife.

What else are they hiding?

Government officials give toxic pesticides a pass

A document dated from 1990 reportedly shows that the EPA elected to allow the use of hazardous waste in pesticides — more than alarming enough, but it gets worse. More than 800 “safety studies” were found to be nonexistent, fraudulent or otherwise invalid — and yet, the EPA worked alongside manufacturers to keep their wrongly approved products on the market. It seems like the EPA is always involved with a scandal, doesn’t it?

In the 1980’s, Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories (IBT), the largest lab in the U.S. to perform chemical safety testing for the EPA, was the subject of a federal investigation — and an array of issues with the lab were uncovered. Ultimately, it was estimated that 90 percent of the studies coming from IBT were invalid. But instead of repeating testing and removing unverified products from the market, a cover-up was orchestrated by the EPA. Many of these fraudulent studies are still used as props by the agency today.

And as sources also note, “a secret high-level dioxins working group at the EPA acknowledged that dioxins are extraordinarily poisonous chemicals – yet the agency suppressed the fact that dioxins were found in everyday products such as diapers and coffee filters.”

Herbicides and pesticides, including 2,4-D, Dicamba, Permethrin, Atrazine, and Agent Orange, are also widely discussed in the Poison Paper documents.

Learn more about these and other hazardous chemicals at

Sources for this article include:

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