The Environmental Protection Agency’s mission statement reads: “to protect human health and the environment.” Ironically, while the EPA has done some strong work in the past, the agency has also helped corporations destroy the environment and threaten human health through pesticide usage and adding neurotoxins to our drinking water. These are only two of many examples of the EPA doing an inadequate job of protecting human health and the environment.
The EPA is known to hold strong ties to oil, gas, and chemical corporations, enforcing extremely lenient regulations that allow these companies to profit at the expense of our health and the environment. The Bioscience Resource Project and The Center for Media and Democracy recently teamed up to expose some of this corruption by publishing the Poison Papers, which contains thousands upon thousands of EPA, government, and chemical company documents.
What Are the Poison Papers?
Poison Papers is a project created by The Bioscience Resource Project and The Center for Media and Democracy in a joint effort to expose any corruption within the EPA or chemical companies that somehow evade or bend U.S. laws.
The organizations describe the project as follows:
The “Poison Papers” represent a vast trove of rediscovered chemical industry and regulatory agency documents and correspondence stretching back to the 1920s. Taken as a whole, the papers show that both industry and regulators understood the extraordinary toxicity of many chemical products and worked together to conceal this information from the public and the press.
So, what did the Poison Papers reveal?
This document exposes countless health issues allegedly caused by certain pesticides, like Tordon and Roundup, including many cases of cancer following the use of Tordon, and even speculates that there was a huge cover-up regarding how many people had cancer as a result of chemical exposure. Despite the overwhelming number of health issues reported, the EPA released a statement explaining that there were no health concerns related to Tordon or its active ingredient, picloram.
Another document was a letter written by Dr. Jack Griffith, a former EPA scientist, discussing the dangers of 2,4,5-T and a controversial experiment in Oregon. After being sprayed widely in Oregon, there was an extreme increase in the number of involuntary abortions. Chemical giant Dow tried to argue this, and the EPA scientist stated that their comments were “totally inaccurate.”
Another document from 1985 referred to TCDD, an extremely toxic contaminant in 2,4,5-T. The document is a transcript detailing how Monsanto allegedly sold a chemical high in TCDD to Lysol, which they then used in their disinfectant spray for an astonishing 23 years, despite the severe toxicity.
A Canadian House of Commons document from Ross Harvey, MP, further discussed Monsanto’s sale of the chemical Santophen-I to Lysol and addressed the fact that Monsanto found evidence of the toxicity of it and then suppressed that information.
There were also multiple documents outlining the relationship the EPA had to the pulp and paper industry; for example, here’s a letter addressed to the EPA from the VP of the American Paper Institute. You’d think that the studies conducted to determine whether or not companies are endangering us and the environment as a result of their chemical usage would be completely independent from said companies in question, but sadly, they’re often not.
In fact, another document from Greenpeace addressed the potential collusion between the pulp and paper industry and the EPA, referring to a federal judge ruling on an agreement between the EPA and the paper industry to “suppress, modify, or delay” studies on dioxin in relation to paper products and production processes.
Another document addressed to the U.S. House of Representatives reads, “since 1979, the EPA has acted to suppress and delay the validity and test results of a major human health study” in regards to the toxicity of dioxin.
Another document included a testimony from Monsanto’s Chief Medical Officer George Roush, who admitted under oath that Monsanto omitted pertinent information regarding the health effects of dioxin. The study found that 27 exposed workers got cancer, but these results were not included in the study. Roush stated that Monsanto “didn’t report truthfully.”
Companies like Monsanto, which make vast sums of money off of these chemicals, have a strong incentive to ensure that people feel safe when using or consuming them. It’s important to remember this when looking at where your information is coming from or who funds these studies.
I would highly recommend reading through some of these documents, as the EPA’s connection to many industries that contribute to the destruction of the environment runs deep. It’s important to note that the Poison Papers weren’t the first publication to address EPA corruption and collusion, and unfortunately they likely won’t be the last!
For example, another court case addressed the EPA’s ties to Monsanto, which involved bending laws and lying about the environmental and health issues involved with the company’s products (GMOs, herbicide Round Up, etc.). You can read more about that here, but please note that this was not the first time the EPA was accused of aiding Monsanto.
The best way for you to change this reality is to educate yourself and be the change you wish to see in the world. Start researching so you can understand the scope of these issues and make more informed decisions as a consumer. If you don’t like the way we’re treating the environment, then don’t contribute to it. We vote with our dollars and our words. Support companies you believe have strong values and educate other people on what you learn.
Together, we can create positive change in this world through education and action!