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Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.Most Harvest Public Media stories begin with radio- regular reports are aired on member stations in the Midwest. But Harvest also explores issues through online analyses, television documentaries and features, podcasts, photography, video, blogs and social networking. They are committed to the highest journalistic standards. Click here to read their ethics standards.Harvest Public Media was launched in 2010 with the support of a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Today, the collaboration is supported by CPB, the partner stations, and contributions from underwriters and individuals.Tri States Public Radio is an associate partner of Harvest Public Media. You can play an important role in helping Harvest Public Media and Tri States Public Radio improve our coverage of food, field and fuel issues by joining the Harvest Network. Learn more here.

Court Documents Raise Questions of Roundup

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File: Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media
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Roundup, the Monsanto brand-name pesticide built on the chemical glyphosate, is used on farm fields and on lawns and gardens.

After court documents unsealed Tuesday raised questions about its research methods, chemical giant Monsanto said it did not ghostwrite a 2000 study on the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in its flagship pesticide Roundup.

As the New York Times reported, the unsealed records suggest that Monsanto had contributed to research attributed to academics and that a senior official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had worked to stall a review of Roundup’s main ingredient by U.S. regulators.

The documents are part of a lawsuit brought by people alleging they have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of glyphosate exposure.

In one of the released emails, Monsanto executive William F. Heydens told colleagues that they could write sections of research on glyphosate and hire researchers to serve as authors of the paper.

“[The authors] would just edit & sign their names so to speak,” he wrote in the 2015 email, and suggested that they had employed this tactic in a previous study.

Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge, however, said Monsanto scientists did not write the papers but merely shared information, an act that was credited in the acknowledgements section of the research.

“The concept that Monsanto ‘ghostwrote’ research and improperly obtained government approvals for glyphosate is simply not appropriate,” Partridge said.

In a 2000 study referenced in the emails, the Monsanto researchers are not listed among the paper’s authors but are thanked in an acknowledgements section.

“The research process is a collaborative one,” Partridge said. “These scientists knew each other, and each other’s work, and were together driven by good science.”

The court documents also say that an EPA official in 2015 suggested he would work against the EPA’s review of glyphosate. A Monsanto executive in an email wrote that Jess Rowland said, “If I can kill this I should get a medal,” documents show. At the time, Rowland served as a deputy division director at the EPA, but he has since left agency.

The safety of glyphosate is not settled, as Harvest Public Media reported in October. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. But the EPA, as part of a scheduled review of the chemical, examined dozens of glyphosate studies and decided that it is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans at the doses relevant to human health.”

The EPA did not respond to a request for comment.