As the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring approaches, the purveyors of Monsanto & Co’s falsehoods are out in full force.
The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) — a front group for the pesticide industry — held a briefing last week, announcing a new report extolling the virtues of pesticides to federal legislators. If this is where our decisionmakers are getting their information, we're in trouble.
And if the new ACSH report is any indication, pesticide corporations and their front groups see this year of Silent Spring's anniversary as an opportunity to undermine science and re-write history.
The report released last week was more of the same from the people who have attempted to obscure and confuse the science around the dangers of asbestos, DDT and plastics. As one Congressional Quarterly survey noted, 75% of ACSH’s funding comes from chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers. However, ACSH hasn't been willing to disclose their funding since the early 1990s.
In one of the last available public records, Monsanto gave ACSH $105,000, making the pesticide and biotech giant the single largest contributor.
75% of ACSH's funding comes from chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers.Elizabeth Whelan, outspoken President of ACSH, doesn't see a problem here: “I've been called a paid liar for industry so many times I've lost count."
What’s more, the report’s author — Washington State University professor Allan Felsot, an unabashed proponent of pesticides — cites funding on his resume from from several pesticide and petrochemical interests, including American Cynamid, Chevron, FMC, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Union Carbide (remember the Bhopal disaster?) and UniRoyal.
Over the years, PAN has repeatedly busted the myths put forth by pesticide makers and agrichemical interests. The only thing new about ACSH’s briefing last week was the packaging.
Speaking with reporters at the offices of CropLife America (the official lobby group for the pesticide industry), ACSH rehashed many of the same, tired talking points. Here are a few examples:
By all counts, industry talking points miss the mark.
The anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is bound to bring pesticide proponents out of the woodwork in 2012. The good news is that the body of science outlining the harms of pesticides is stronger than ever, and Monsanto & Co. don’t have a leg to stand on.