Former EPA Deputy Director Implicated in a Cover-Up of Roundup’s Cancer-Causing Ingredients
Roundup and its link to cancer are not looking good for Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Jess Rowland, who is the former Deputy Director of the EPA, may have been significantly involved in a cover-up to hide evidence of the potential cancer-causing glyphosate chemical that is the key ingredient in Monsanto`s Roundup weed killer.
To date, Mr. Rowland has been named in dozens of lawsuits that have been filed against Monsanto and its Roundup weed killer. February 10th court filings allege that the EPA protected Monsanto`s interests and allegedly “unfairly aid the agrichemical industry,” according to a February 2017 EcoWatch report.
The multidistrict litigation (MDL), MDL No. 2742, Case No. 16-md-02741-VC refers to Mr. Rowland as a private citizen who previously served as Monsanto’s chief “friend” within the EPA. The MDL indicates that Mr. Rowland “left EPA mysteriously within days of an “inadvertent” leak and a retraction of an EPA draft report on glyphosate safety that contained Mr. Rowland’s signature. Mr. Rowland chaired the agency’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC); however, he resigned from his position just a few days after the CARC report was posted and removed from the EPA website on May 2. A move that some describe as questionable. The report, which indicated that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic,” was based on an EPA cancer assessment for glyphosate that Mr. Rowland oversaw; however, the report was leaked to the media prior to its removal from the agency’s website.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, who is presiding over the litigation, agrees that the evidence demonstrates a “highly suspicious” relationship between Mr. Rowland and Monsanto. Judge Chhabria said also that, “When you consider the relevance of the EPA’s reports, and you consider their relevance to this litigation, it seems appropriate to take Jess Rowland’s deposition.”
MDLs are a type of mass tort where similar lawsuits are brought together in one court. Consolidating cases into a MDL makes complex litigation more efficient. In the Roundup MDL, plaintiffs similarly allege that the Roundup herbicide caused cancer and that Monsanto knew about the risks but failed to warn consumers.
A letter dated March 2013 from the EPA’s toxicologist Marion Copley—Dr. Copley died less than a year later from cancer—indicated that glyphosate should be classified as a “probable carcinogen,” and listed a number of the health-endangering effects of glyphosate. Copley also accused Rowland of playing “conniving political games,” bullying staff members, and changing reports to “favor industry.” Copley also noted that Anna B. Lowit, the then-director of the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, was taking bribes. Copley’s dying request was that Mr. Rowland “for once do the right thing and don’t make decisions based on how it affects your bonus. You and Anna Lowit intimidated staff on CARC and changed HIARC and HASPOC final reports to favor industry.” In the filing, Copley indicated, “I have cancer and I don’t want these serious issues go un-addressed before I go to my grave. I have done my duty.”
The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits over allegedly defective or dangerous products. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a lawsuit against Monsanto.
Motion to Compel the Deposition of Jess Rowland
According to court documents, the plaintiffs have a variety of reason in which Mr. Rowland’s testimony should be compelled, who is described as a former EPA employee and who was allegedly subject to undue and untoward influence by Monsanto, operating under Monsanto’s influence. This caused the EPA’s position and publications to support Monsanto’s business.
In the MDL No. 2741, In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation. Case No. 16-md-02741-VC, Plaintiffs’ Reply in Support of Motion to Compel Deposition of Jess Rowland in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, court documents indicate that, “Dr. Copey’s dying declaration begins by naming no fewer than fourteen effects of glyphosate known to EPA, all of which are plausible mechanisms of action explaining the increase in lymphoma risk.” Based on a letter dated March 24, 2013 from Dr. Copley to Jess Roland, Dr. Copley wrote, “any one of these mechanisms alone listed can cause tumors, but glyphosate was previously classified by EPA as a ‘possible human carcinogen.’ And argued that, in accordance with EPA’s knowledge about the chemical, EPA should classify glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.’” The documents indicate that, “Unfortunately, Dr. Copley died les than a year later and before IARC, the following year, reached this very conclusion.’”
In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, a “probable human carcinogen”. Following the announcement, the California Environmental Protection Agency indicated that it would add the chemical as a known carcinogen under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Proposition 65 (Prop 65). The IARC declared glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen” after 17 leading cancer experts from 11 different countries met to discuss the carcinogenic properties of five pesticides. Following the announcement, the European Parliament discouraged the non-commercial public use of glyphosate. Monsanto has fought the Prop 65 listing, and filed a lawsuit against the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA). In January 2017, the Superior Court of California, County of Fresno tentatively dismissed the lawsuit.
In the MDL, plaintiffs indicated that, “Plaintiffs respectfully submit this reply brief in support of their Motion to Compel the Deposition of Jess Rowland, a private citizen who formerly served as Monsanto’s chief “friend” within the EPA, and left EPA mysteriously within days of an “inadvertent” leak and subsequent retraction of an EPA draft report on the safety of glyphosate the bore Mr. Rowland’s signature.”
The document points out that, “Dr. Copley’s letter, discovered after the filing of this Motion, substantiates many of Plaintiffs’ suspicions regarding EPA’s improper relationship with Monsanto. It highlights the need to take the testimony of Mr. Rowland on these issues now. Plaintiffs have explored the issue as much as they can with party witnesses; indeed, several witnesses acknowledge knowing Mr. Rowland but are unable (or unwilling) to provide any details of his relationship with Monsanto.”
Filing a Monsanto Herbicide Lawsuit
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