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It’s the herbicide on our dinner plates, a chemical so pervasive it’s in the air we breathe, our water, our soil, and even found increasingly in our own bodies. Known as Monsanto’s Roundup by consumers, and as glyphosate by scientists, the world’s most popular weed killer is used everywhere from backyard gardens to golf courses to millions of acres of farmland. For decades It’s the herbicide on our dinner plates, a chemical so pervasive it’s in the air we breathe, our water, our soil, and even found increasingly in our own bodies. Known as Monsanto’s Roundup by consumers, and as glyphosate by scientists, the world’s most popular weed killer is used everywhere from backyard gardens to golf courses to millions of acres of farmland. For decades it’s been touted as safe enough to drink, but a growing body of evidence indicates just the opposite, with research tying the chemical to cancers and a host of other health threats. In Whitewash, veteran journalist Carey Gillam uncovers one of the most controversial stories in the history of food and agriculture, exposing new evidence of corporate influence. Gillam introduces readers to farm families devastated by cancers which they believe are caused by the chemical, and to scientists whose reputations have been smeared for publishing research that contradicted business interests. Readers learn about the arm-twisting of regulators who signed off on the chemical, echoing company assurances of safety even as they permitted higher residues of the herbicide in food and skipped compliance tests. And, in startling detail, Gillam reveals secret industry communications that pull back the curtain on corporate efforts to manipulate public perception. Whitewash is more than an exposé about the hazards of one chemical or even the influence of one company. It’s a story of power, politics, and the deadly consequences of putting corporate interests ahead of public safety.


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It’s the herbicide on our dinner plates, a chemical so pervasive it’s in the air we breathe, our water, our soil, and even found increasingly in our own bodies. Known as Monsanto’s Roundup by consumers, and as glyphosate by scientists, the world’s most popular weed killer is used everywhere from backyard gardens to golf courses to millions of acres of farmland. For decades It’s the herbicide on our dinner plates, a chemical so pervasive it’s in the air we breathe, our water, our soil, and even found increasingly in our own bodies. Known as Monsanto’s Roundup by consumers, and as glyphosate by scientists, the world’s most popular weed killer is used everywhere from backyard gardens to golf courses to millions of acres of farmland. For decades it’s been touted as safe enough to drink, but a growing body of evidence indicates just the opposite, with research tying the chemical to cancers and a host of other health threats. In Whitewash, veteran journalist Carey Gillam uncovers one of the most controversial stories in the history of food and agriculture, exposing new evidence of corporate influence. Gillam introduces readers to farm families devastated by cancers which they believe are caused by the chemical, and to scientists whose reputations have been smeared for publishing research that contradicted business interests. Readers learn about the arm-twisting of regulators who signed off on the chemical, echoing company assurances of safety even as they permitted higher residues of the herbicide in food and skipped compliance tests. And, in startling detail, Gillam reveals secret industry communications that pull back the curtain on corporate efforts to manipulate public perception. Whitewash is more than an exposé about the hazards of one chemical or even the influence of one company. It’s a story of power, politics, and the deadly consequences of putting corporate interests ahead of public safety.

30 review for Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science by Carey Gillam is an expose' of how Monsanto's pesticide glyphosate came to dominate the farming industry--and its product Roundup in suburban back yards--even when evidence of  its threat to human health and environmental degradation arose. It is the story of how chemical companies, not the federal governmental programs we believe protect us, drive policy and law. Gillam is a career journalist who in 1998 was moved to Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science by Carey Gillam is an expose' of how Monsanto's pesticide glyphosate came to dominate the farming industry--and its product Roundup in suburban back yards--even when evidence of  its threat to human health and environmental degradation arose. It is the story of how chemical companies, not the federal governmental programs we believe protect us, drive policy and law. Gillam is a career journalist who in 1998 was moved to Kansas to write about agriculture for Reuters. Previously she wrote about Hurricane Katrina and reported from race-torn Ferguson, MS. She spent a lot of time learning her new beat, talking with farmers as well as company executives at Monsanto and other chemical companies.  Glyphosate was sold as the safest pesticide ever, a wonder product that would help farmers increase their yield. Monsanto then developed plants that were resistant to their pesticide, the GMOs we hear so much about. Farmers left behind the older ways, even ending crop rotation. Monsanto owned the marketplace. As her research led Gillam to become concerned with GMOs, not accepting the 'desired narrative,' Monsanto-funded organizations pressured her editors to remove her! As Gillam tells it, "What I've learned, what I know with certainty, is that when powerful corporations control the narrative, the truth often get lost and it's up to journalists to find it and bring it home." The result is this book. This was a hard book to read--not just because of the density of information, but because it taught me that business runs more of government than we are aware of. It's not just lobby money. It's in the research they pay for and tweak and offer to the EPA as unbiased studies when decisions are to be made about public safety. And its about the professors and professionals they enlist to tell their story.  I buy organic foods whenever possible. I have the luxury of being able to afford to make that choice. I am not an agricultural worker who is around chemicals that are associated with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, the disease that took my father's life. We did, for two years, live next to a farm field. There was a beautiful field of golden wheat when we moved in on a late June day. A few months later I sat on the back deck to watch the farmer cut the wheat. The next year he planted corn. Our dog loved to run down between the row of corn. We moved before it was harvested. The Sandhill Crane came in pairs in the spring and over the summer we watched them and their young birds. In the autumn, after harvest, the Crane flocked to the field in the hundreds before flying South. So when in the book I read about 'chemical drift', how the pesticides sprayed on the soil before planting or on the GMO crops before harvest are carried on the wind, I shuddered. Was the yard my dogs played in safe? What about my open kitchen windows, my bedrooms that faced the farm field? What was I tracking into the house on my shoes? I am ignorant about that farmer's use of pesticides. And the Sandhill Cranes that came every year in the hundreds to eat the insects in the field? What is the impact of pesticides on the birds? We had Bald Eagles flying over the fields, looking for prey. On the other side of the field was a wet land, and also senior housing. I found a rare salamander in the yard once. After we moved a family with a young child moved into the house. Will that boy's health be impacted negatively? "Most of us are Guinea pigs in this horrendous toxic experiment."--from White Wash I was taught in environmental biology that pesticides are poison, and not just harmful to the pests it was developed to kill. Gillam shows how glyphosate, which is combined with harmful chemicals to make it 'stick' to crops, impacts more than weeds. And it has created resistant weeds and has affected the soil. I am continually appalled by all the ways big business has manipulated government. You should be, too. White Wash is available in ebook form (ISBN: 9781610918336) at your favorite seller for $7.99 the month of November, 2017.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Matt

    Over the past two years I've been on a bit of 'walk-about' in exploring how to optimize my health through diet. Often, you'll hear the refrain "eat real food" or "eat food that your grandmother would've recognized." A year ago, I interpreted this advice as eating unprocessed foods, lots of healthy fats and vegetables with some eggs, dairy tossed in along with 'healthy' grains every now and again. As I explored this, I kept bumping into a couple of demons: GMO crops (mainly corn and soy) and glyph Over the past two years I've been on a bit of 'walk-about' in exploring how to optimize my health through diet. Often, you'll hear the refrain "eat real food" or "eat food that your grandmother would've recognized." A year ago, I interpreted this advice as eating unprocessed foods, lots of healthy fats and vegetables with some eggs, dairy tossed in along with 'healthy' grains every now and again. As I explored this, I kept bumping into a couple of demons: GMO crops (mainly corn and soy) and glyphosate (i.e., Roundup). GMO crops are generally GMO'd for one reason - to enable the direct application of glyphosate on the crops w/o killing the food plants. In the case of wheat (and Oats and other grains) glyphosate is often sprayed on the crops as a desiccant, i.e., it allows the farmers to better predict and manage harvesting the crops. So, if we're eating corn, wheat, or soy, we're also getting a healthy does of glyphosate. In addition to killing weeds, this chemical is a potent antibacterial that damages both the delicate microbiome in our soils, but also our own gut microbiome. And the damage to our gut contributes to inflammation that leads to all sorts of metabolic illness. Worse yet, this chemical is water soluble. That means it is everywhere. In the US it has been detected at high levels in drinking water, mother's breast milk, umbilical blood, and even the rain! (Monsanto truly is The Umbrella Corporation). Carey's book documents all of the above, but more interesting to me, she documents the deception and corruption in the EPA, USDA and scientific journals. Long story short, there are tremendous financial incentives to continue using glyphosate. Industrial farming of mono-cultures is extremely profitable. Executives in both the agricultural and chemical sectors place tremendous pressure on regulatory agencies, the politicians running the agencies in turn pressure or craft the final results. I know many people will argue that GMOs are enabling us to feed the world. I urge the skeptics to look into this for themselves. There are number of odd correlations out there around glyphosate - the rise in autism is correlated to the rise in autism, Alzheimer's disease, and more. I know that correlation is not causation, but I prefer to not take the chance. No GMOs and glyphosate for me, thank you very much. Three stars out of five. Good stuff, but kind of dry.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    This is a well conceived, well written expose of one company’s success in marketing and having approved what is probably a pesticide that causes a host of life threatening medical problems – glyphosate – and its popular product name, Roundup. Rachel Carson wrote her bell weather Silent Spring over 50 years ago and it took the government 10 years to finally ban DDT’s US sale, though it is still used in many foreign countries. But this is more than an expose of one probable deadly pesticide that is This is a well conceived, well written expose of one company’s success in marketing and having approved what is probably a pesticide that causes a host of life threatening medical problems – glyphosate – and its popular product name, Roundup. Rachel Carson wrote her bell weather Silent Spring over 50 years ago and it took the government 10 years to finally ban DDT’s US sale, though it is still used in many foreign countries. But this is more than an expose of one probable deadly pesticide that is found in many of our foods; WHITEWASH is the horrifying tale of allowing corporate profits trump our safety. Told with a story teller’s richness, we read of farming families caught between growing successful crops, and their own medical problems. If you do not know of the hazards of Roundup, then this is a must read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This expose reveals the truth behind a chemical we have used/continue to use to control weeds in vineyards, fruit and avocado orchards, coffee and tea plantations, business parks, golf courses, agricultural farms, along railroad tracks and roads. We as consumers, know it as Roundup. Roundup is manufactured by Monsanto. Monsanto is the same company who manufactured DDT and Agent Orange. Highly chemicalized products that cause cancer and other highly problematic illnesses and defects to humans and This expose reveals the truth behind a chemical we have used/continue to use to control weeds in vineyards, fruit and avocado orchards, coffee and tea plantations, business parks, golf courses, agricultural farms, along railroad tracks and roads. We as consumers, know it as Roundup. Roundup is manufactured by Monsanto. Monsanto is the same company who manufactured DDT and Agent Orange. Highly chemicalized products that cause cancer and other highly problematic illnesses and defects to humans and animals. Some research studies show that glycophosate in Roundup damages cells in the body, damaging DNA that can lead to cancers. Some researchers fear the worst impact is its acting as an endocrine disrupter - which can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, miscarriages, cognitive problems, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder...children are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of pesticides. Roundup is composed of glycophosate, water and a surfactant which helps the solution cling to a weed. The claim is that it is not glycophosate that is the problem but the additive what it turns into when mixed together. Nonetheless this is a HUGE problem for us, one that has gotten out of control with devastating results to our earth and people. Overuse of Roundup has caused SUPERWEEDS to grow in soil that was promised to eliminate them. We further try to kill those weeds with more chemicals that are resistant and contribute to more pollution and danger to health. Roundup began its success as an easy to use to clean up meddlesome weeds. Spray, wait, and they would shrivel up and die in a few days. Easy peasey you say? Hardly not. Glycophosate remains in the soil, poisoning it. It is on the plants we and animals eat. Think your oatmeal, bagel, honey, cornflakes, flour, soy sauce, beer, infant formula. In other words it’s the poisoning of America. We consume glyphosate daily in common foods. And the effects of this on our bodies can cause many serious illnesses. We are also introduced in the book to Roundup Ready seeds which are another one of Monsanto’s “bright ideas” for wheat. Foreign countries refuse to buy US wheat that have biotech wheat mixed in, this causing farmers to lose money and export markets. Even with the genetic modification, Monsanto urged farmers to spray glycophosate on their wheat and other crops before harvest to help dry them out quickly for production. They promoted and marketed their products so very well. We also learn that there is trouble in paradise - Hawaii - as Monsanto, Dow agrisciences, BASF, DuPont, Syngenta and others have taken up leases on large amounts of property as experimental field sites using heavy applications of not only glycophosate but a large range of other pesticides. Residents are afraid as poisoning effects are showing up in their communities. As usual, it becomes yet another political and legal battleground. “The chemical companies are like the drug cartel warlords that get their people addicted to their drugs. Then they argue that farmers need their products once they’ve hooked them.” In conclusion, There are some ideas to stop any further damage but they must be approved and implemented before it’s too late. Governmental agencies and big corporate manipulation is an embarrassment and shameful - a total disregard for the earth and people. These organizations must be held to certain standards and be a part of the cleanup/ improvement plan instead of solely for monetary greed. Most of the book involves heavy data, hearings recaps, input and interactions by researchers, scientists, agencies both public and private, Monsanto’s own corporate, legal and scientific staff, the EPA, The USDA, and a host of other agencies/organizations that are all too dizzying to recall. You can expect the usual drawn out political and corporate arguments as with anything of this caliber. It is probably going to take decades before the cover ups are exposed, before any particular one company takes blame and ultimately a resolution. So I must horribly admit I have a bottle of Roundup in my shed. Ive only used it in the past on poison ivy as I am extremely allergic to it and end up in the hospital with any exposure. However, I’m taking it in to my next community hazard collection so it’s discarded appropriately. I do not want this product poisoning my land or my family or animals. I don’t need to contribute to the worldwide mess that has already taken place and putting myself or others in danger and hope you do the same.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Monsanto's (and other agrichemical companies) roundup ready crops created an environmental and health disaster, wrecking soils and the natural plant environments and causing cancer and other illnesses. Any opposition to Monsanto's position on the safety of their products is quashed and the EPA is complicit with Monsanto's cover-ups and sidestepping the truth. Everyone should be aware of this to understand our tainted food supply. Monsanto's (and other agrichemical companies) roundup ready crops created an environmental and health disaster, wrecking soils and the natural plant environments and causing cancer and other illnesses. Any opposition to Monsanto's position on the safety of their products is quashed and the EPA is complicit with Monsanto's cover-ups and sidestepping the truth. Everyone should be aware of this to understand our tainted food supply.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Edmundson

    A challenging read. What extensive research! A number of the author's points took my breath away: Pesticides easily found in our bloodstream, our urine, and in mother's milk! More pesticides found in Whole Grain Bread than in regular bread. The EPA and other government agencies following the directives of big chemical companies rather than following their own scientific research principles. Appalling! Makes me want to consider becoming an activist. A challenging read. What extensive research! A number of the author's points took my breath away: Pesticides easily found in our bloodstream, our urine, and in mother's milk! More pesticides found in Whole Grain Bread than in regular bread. The EPA and other government agencies following the directives of big chemical companies rather than following their own scientific research principles. Appalling! Makes me want to consider becoming an activist.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Siry

    The author clearly reveals the terrifying links between the weed-killer glyphosate and the health of mother's, their breast-feeding children, farm-workers, and products such as soy, corn syrup and alfalfa. She uses scientific studies, her experiences as a reporter covering agribusiness corporations, and how the Europeans have banned certain American crops (GMO) as genetically modified organisms. Readers can understand for themselves the tension between the farmer's need to get better returns on The author clearly reveals the terrifying links between the weed-killer glyphosate and the health of mother's, their breast-feeding children, farm-workers, and products such as soy, corn syrup and alfalfa. She uses scientific studies, her experiences as a reporter covering agribusiness corporations, and how the Europeans have banned certain American crops (GMO) as genetically modified organisms. Readers can understand for themselves the tension between the farmer's need to get better returns on their investment with bigger yields using the "Roundup™" product and the risks they are taking with their own and other people's health. Compared to Silent Spring and lauded by Erin Brockovitch, the book reveals the complex relationships among "agency capture" where federal agencies are powerfully influenced by multinational corporations, USDA programs to aid farmers who produce surplus crops (corn, cotton, soy, or wheat), and the farmers who have loans to pay and investments to make despite less-than-fair markets. As the author reminds us from the start: “It's a weed killer, but it is killing much more than weeds.” [p. xiv.] She is critical, as are many who view American irresponsibility in the light of European regulations against our genetically modified crops. The author contends “And the regulatory agencies charged with protecting the public from these dangers have acted –intentionally or not– in ways that have protected corporate products and profits instead of people.” [p. xiv.] Anyone interested in the existing reach, operations, and consequences of today's “. . . industrialized farming practices that produce our food.” [p. 1.] should not miss this exposé. If this does not make you pull weeds instead of spraying them to death (they do become resistant!), you have missed the author's serious point.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    I would have preferred this meticulously researched and accessible exposé of Monsanto and its suppression and manipulation of pertinent data about its best-selling chemical glyphosate to shock me. It doesn’t, as there’s a terrible inevitability about the total disregard this and other companies have for the public interest when that public interest conflicts with profits. It’s a hard-hitting account about how corporate gain always trumps the claims of health and the environment. Even if some of I would have preferred this meticulously researched and accessible exposé of Monsanto and its suppression and manipulation of pertinent data about its best-selling chemical glyphosate to shock me. It doesn’t, as there’s a terrible inevitability about the total disregard this and other companies have for the public interest when that public interest conflicts with profits. It’s a hard-hitting account about how corporate gain always trumps the claims of health and the environment. Even if some of the author’s conclusions are wrong or misguided, as some of the more vocal opponents of the book claim, there’s still enough here to make me very wary of the claims bandied about by the companies that toxic chemicals are, in fact, safe and that it’s sheer scaremongering to say otherwise. Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? Read this and weep……

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ietrio

    We're all going to die! The old stories about the Wondering Jew and the Masons, superstition, conspiracy, and the unholy profit only... you've guessed it Jews have it. Everything rehashed, and whitewashed. We're all going to die! The old stories about the Wondering Jew and the Masons, superstition, conspiracy, and the unholy profit only... you've guessed it Jews have it. Everything rehashed, and whitewashed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    As depressing a topic as this book addresses, it is critical that Gillam's message be read and understood. Humans, as careful as we try to be about what we eat, are exposed to and are, unbeknownst to us, consuming glyphosates which are negatively impacting human health. The myth that we can feed the world is just that - a myth. A better review than I can write is on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3.... While I was reading Gillam's book, I've also been listening to online event As depressing a topic as this book addresses, it is critical that Gillam's message be read and understood. Humans, as careful as we try to be about what we eat, are exposed to and are, unbeknownst to us, consuming glyphosates which are negatively impacting human health. The myth that we can feed the world is just that - a myth. A better review than I can write is on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3.... While I was reading Gillam's book, I've also been listening to online event videos with scientists who are selling supplements that strengthen the human biome and help our bodies dispose of glyphsates that we all have unknowingly consumed or been exposed to through the use of Roundup. What I found particularly disturbing is how much large companies like Monsato have over EPA and other government regulatory agencies. The public is slowly waking up to the problem. This is not just an issue for the US. It's a world-wide problem. As the public wakes up and demands change, there will be (and already is) a rising demand for organic foods. Hopefully through a ground-roots movement, we'll find ways to change agricultural use of pesticides and force them to quit poisoning our environment. This book is an important wake-up call.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ford

    I now understand more about the GMO controversy and Monsanto. But I will still use Roundup to keep grass from growing up through our blacktop driveway and through the cracks in concrete sidewalks. I never have used it to control weeds and grass in my small garden and never will.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephan

    Illogical conclusions based on little evidence. Many basic facts about science are just wrong. Silent Spring this is not. Monsanto can be very shady, as can most corporations. It is a fallacy to assume that protecting profits immediately equals guilt. Ms. Gillam is a masterful wordsmith, able to tug at the heart string. But that doesn’t make her right. 1. She uses the term "super weeds" to describe herbicide tolerant crops. No self respecting scientist uses this term. She chooses to ignore the no Illogical conclusions based on little evidence. Many basic facts about science are just wrong. Silent Spring this is not. Monsanto can be very shady, as can most corporations. It is a fallacy to assume that protecting profits immediately equals guilt. Ms. Gillam is a masterful wordsmith, able to tug at the heart string. But that doesn’t make her right. 1. She uses the term "super weeds" to describe herbicide tolerant crops. No self respecting scientist uses this term. She chooses to ignore the non-GM crops that have caused these problems as well. Describing them like tall monsters only serves to spread fear. 2. Herbicide tolerant crops were not the first GM crops on the market nor the first developed. 3. All breeding methods involve labs and the introduction of traits not found in nature. 4. She claims herbicide use has skyrocketed, when USDA data shows that pesticide levels have remained fairly level. Different herbicides are just being used. 5. She quotes extreme activists like Rowlands and Honeycutt, whom scientists she uses in the book (like Benbrook and Hansen) are on record saying are so crazy actually harm the anti-GMO movement. 6. I lost count of the amount of times she uses the word "douse" to describe farmers use of glyphosate. The amount needed to fill a can of soda is a typical application per acre. 7. I also lost count of how many times she used the word "bully", especially in making this about her own firing from Reuters. Making this more about her and her fellow activists. Even accusing independent pro GMO activists, like March Against Myths, of having industry ties. One of their leaders is a vegan activist who couldn't be further from corporations if he tried. Her argument boils down to a massive conspiracy covering every major scientific organization and every government in the world based on 40 years of cherry picked emails. Selecting a few doubting scientists in the same way the oil and tobacco industries do only raises questions about her motives in writing this. And those motives are clear when you realize that she doesn't disclose her own funding. Her organization is paid directly by the organic industry, and she is being flown around the world by class action lawyers trying to take advantage of cancer victims. Rachel Carson had science on her side. Gillam does not. All she has proven is that according to the IARC farmers may want to throw on some extra protection.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    This book sorely needs restructuring which would give it a much better trajectory and eliminate the repetitions, of which there are many too many. As it stands, it presents a series of essays, not discrete but not tightly woven. The writing itself causes no complaint. Having got that out of the way, this book should be at least dipped into by every US citizen. It reveals the extent of the corporatization (word?) of the government and that, long before the appearance of Donald Trump and Scott Prui This book sorely needs restructuring which would give it a much better trajectory and eliminate the repetitions, of which there are many too many. As it stands, it presents a series of essays, not discrete but not tightly woven. The writing itself causes no complaint. Having got that out of the way, this book should be at least dipped into by every US citizen. It reveals the extent of the corporatization (word?) of the government and that, long before the appearance of Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt (and his fellow Department heads). The opening of Michael Moss's Salt Sugar Fat indicates the same about the food industry. And we have considerable contemporary information on the effect of the corporation as person and its right$ to free $peech. Ms Gillam captures all of this in her chapter "Under the Influence" (ch 11, pp 215-34). Roundup forms the central subject and Monsanto the major culprit/infiltrator with more than a little help from its friends in the EPA, Congress, academia, etc. The tawdry story makes for depressing reading, and Ms Gillam does identify individual EPA employees and "independent" scientists who are more than complicit with corporate interests. While there are strong indications of Roundup's negative effects on workers, soil, and in creating monster weeds, there seem to be no definitive studies, no "smoking gun" as it were. This may be due to the EPA's continuing refusal to do testing of glyphosate and of Monsanto's insistence that their tests harbor "trade secrets." I could be snarky about this last, but will restrain myself to saying that this herbicide is the most popular in the world (we've used it to kill poison ivy in the yard, and it's used on land trust property across the road), but no one can say for sure what it's harmfulness might be, now or in the future. Though they can imagine. And some of us can hear not only a silent spring but miss the beautiful butterflies and the buzzing of bees as the pollinators disappear.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I already knew Monsanto was the devil, but if you want even more confirmation and the facts to back it up this is the book for you. Gillam was an agricultural journalist who when she started was impressed with Monsanto staff and used Roundup liberally herself at home. But soon she started seeing a darker side and started digging into claims that Roundup is not as safe as Monsanto claimed and in fact was unbelievably dangerous and carcinogenic. In Whitewash she mainly covers how Monsanto has rout I already knew Monsanto was the devil, but if you want even more confirmation and the facts to back it up this is the book for you. Gillam was an agricultural journalist who when she started was impressed with Monsanto staff and used Roundup liberally herself at home. But soon she started seeing a darker side and started digging into claims that Roundup is not as safe as Monsanto claimed and in fact was unbelievably dangerous and carcinogenic. In Whitewash she mainly covers how Monsanto has routinely paid scientists or writers to paint their products in a good light - even when reputable science disputes those claims. Gillam also delves into how corrupt the EPA, USDA, and other government entities are that are supposed to be watchdogs for the public - these agencies are routinely filled with former and current chemical company executives who are obviously not looking out for public interest, but for their own pockets. While often infuriating to read, this book just further proves that money rules the world. Monsanto doesn't care if their product destroys the world because they are raking in the money and paying off or suing anyone who gets in their way. Hopefully as more and more books like this come out people will start to realize chemicals are NOT the path to quality, healthy food and enough people will demand change in these supposedly protecting government agencies. Lots of great quotes in this book: "U.S. farmers alone applied more than 276 million pounds [of glyphosate] in 2014, compared with 40 million pounds in 1995, according to published research, and use globally has more than doubled in just the past ten years. Around the globe, glyphosate is now registered for use in 130 countries and is manufactured by dozens of producers following Monsanto's lead. It is considered the most heavily used agricultural chemical in history." (p. 4) "Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) annually test thousands of food products for hundreds of different types of pesticide residues, but both routinely have refused to test for glyphosate. It's also notable that as the USDA and FDA have been declining to test for glyphosate residues over the past twenty years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates pesticides, has been approving industry requests for higher and higher allowable levels of glyphosate residues in food." (p. 5) "Don Huber, professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University, believes that glyphosate may be even more toxic than DDT. 'Future historians may well look back on our time and write about us...how willing we were to sacrifice our children and jeopardize future generations based on false promises and flawed science just to benefit the bottom line of a commercial enterprise..." (p. 20) "...Henry Rowlands, who launched the Detox Project in California to test food and bodily fluids for glyphosate residues...Rowlands said he found quickly that glyphosate is such a hot-button issue that even trying to find independent laboratories to run tests is a challenge. All but two of the American labs he sought out to help launch large-scale testing declined. More than 350 turned him down...'I'm certain it was political,' Rowlands told me in a call from Bulgaria. 'All of these labs tset for big food producers. They aren't going to risk their bottom line looking for something food companies don't want people to find. It's really sad. They're not protecting public health.'" (p. 62) "In fact, roughly 85 percent of more than 10,000 food samples tested by the USDA in 2015 carried pesticide residues. Most of those foods were fruits and vegetables, both fresh and processed - food consumers generally consider healthy...even residues of chemicals long banned in the United States were found as recently as 2015, including residues of DDT or its metabolites found in spinach and potatoes." (p. 69) "Monsanto Company, Dow Agrosciences, DuPont, Syngenta, and others snapped up leases for large swaths of property [in Hawaii] over the past several decades and have transformed areas known for sugar and pineapple production into experimental field sites. By 2014, the chemical companies controlled more than 13,500 acres on the island of Kauai alone. Across the state, including on the islands of Maui, Molokai, and Oahu, the companies occupied about 25,000 of the states's 280,000 acres of agricultural land." (p. 135) "One analysis of government pesticide databases and data from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture released in 2014 showed that the agrochemical industry was applying pesticides at higher rates on Kauai than the application rates on most U.S. farms. That report described the west side of Kauai as 'one of the most toxic chemical environments in all of American agriculture.'" (p. 139) [Due to so much interest in GMOs and corruption government officials are now using fake email accounts to avoid having to turn over damning evidence in litigation or Freedom of Information Act requests] "Still, an investigation by the Associated Press found that many government officials use these secret e-mail accounts in ways that complicate an agency's legal responsibilities to find and turn over e-mails in response to congressional or internal investigations, civil lawsuits, or public records requests." (p. 230) "'Innovation does not happen without the courage to question the current paradigm,' said Jonathan Lundgren, the former USDA scientist who left the agency when he felt his scientific findings were being sacrificed for political purposes. 'If we do not change our behavior, then humans are in trouble. We know what needs to be done to solve these problems that our planet and species are facing. What is lacking is the courage to implement the needed changes.' Let's find that courage." (p. 248) [The last paragraph of the book perfectly sums up what needs to be done.]

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gabby Budziszewski

    Gillam does an excellent job of highlighting the dangers of a widely-used pesticide, glyphosate. The dangers of glyphosate are revealed through testimonials from experts and the message shines through: there are warning signs to suggest that glyphosate is harmful to humans, but our government relies mainly on spurious data supplied by Monsanto and agrochemical companies to make decisions about regulating pesticides, putting us all at risk. This book shines in its portrayal of those who claim to Gillam does an excellent job of highlighting the dangers of a widely-used pesticide, glyphosate. The dangers of glyphosate are revealed through testimonials from experts and the message shines through: there are warning signs to suggest that glyphosate is harmful to humans, but our government relies mainly on spurious data supplied by Monsanto and agrochemical companies to make decisions about regulating pesticides, putting us all at risk. This book shines in its portrayal of those who claim to have been affected by glyphosate, but gets a bit repetitive when discussing the corruption of regulatory agencies. Overall, this is a book that has the potential to empower American consumers to advocate for safer food and communities.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This is a must read for anyone wanting to know the truth behind Glyphosate, pesticides in general, and big corporations like Monsanto. It outlines the problems which have arisen around the world where Glyphosate (Roundup) is used which are extremely severe including birth defects, cancers and other serious health issues. It also highlights the dirty tricks of Monsanto and others, who pay 'independent' scientists to say their products are safe, and also the failure of all these big companies to pub This is a must read for anyone wanting to know the truth behind Glyphosate, pesticides in general, and big corporations like Monsanto. It outlines the problems which have arisen around the world where Glyphosate (Roundup) is used which are extremely severe including birth defects, cancers and other serious health issues. It also highlights the dirty tricks of Monsanto and others, who pay 'independent' scientists to say their products are safe, and also the failure of all these big companies to publish their data on the grounds of 'corporate confidentiality' If you read this I believe you will become as anti-Glyphosate as I am.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Great, dense book about the disturbing influence of Big AG on not just our food, but also health and politics. After reading this I will likely avoid GMO foods, eat more organic, and avoid companies that are known to use Monsanto products. Whatever your opinion on the matter, several things struck me about this information. 1. Regardless of the validity of the accusations, I can't respect the lack of corporate transparency and ethical responsibility. 2. It is impossible to ignore the marked incr Great, dense book about the disturbing influence of Big AG on not just our food, but also health and politics. After reading this I will likely avoid GMO foods, eat more organic, and avoid companies that are known to use Monsanto products. Whatever your opinion on the matter, several things struck me about this information. 1. Regardless of the validity of the accusations, I can't respect the lack of corporate transparency and ethical responsibility. 2. It is impossible to ignore the marked increase of certain health problems, and food allergies and intolerances. I can only wonder at how pesticides and GMO crops are related to that.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    The main characters in Whitewash are the herbicide glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) and Monsanto an agrochemical corporation just purchased by Bayer. Even if you do not want to read this book, you should. What we do to the environment we do to ourselves. https://greengroundswell.com/gmos-and... The main characters in Whitewash are the herbicide glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) and Monsanto an agrochemical corporation just purchased by Bayer. Even if you do not want to read this book, you should. What we do to the environment we do to ourselves. https://greengroundswell.com/gmos-and...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robin Thomas

    Wow. Where to begin. It's all very disturbing. Monsanto, the maker of Round-Up and other pesticides, has tested glyphosate as a single ingredient; but not when combined with the other chemicals found in Round-Up. They do their own studies and lab tests. When using so called independent labs or scientists they pay them off in round about ways that cannot be tracked or come to the public's attention. The EPA uses data from Monsanto rather than performing their own research and studies. Same with th Wow. Where to begin. It's all very disturbing. Monsanto, the maker of Round-Up and other pesticides, has tested glyphosate as a single ingredient; but not when combined with the other chemicals found in Round-Up. They do their own studies and lab tests. When using so called independent labs or scientists they pay them off in round about ways that cannot be tracked or come to the public's attention. The EPA uses data from Monsanto rather than performing their own research and studies. Same with the USDA and other regulatory agencies that are supposed to be looking after the public's health and best interests. Some quotes from the book ... "It's not clear just how much glyphosate (active ingredient in Round-Up) residue remains in your salad, sandwich, or snack, largely because regulators have elected for years not to look for glyphosate residues when they do annual testing of pesticide residues in food." "Glyphosate is present at all levels of the food chain: in water, plants, animals, and even in humans. Every single study that has measured human contamination with glyphosate has found it." "The laboratory said the average rate of glyphosate found in the MEP's (Members of European Parliament) urine was 1.7 micrograms per liter, an amount that is roughly seventeen times the permitted level of glyphosate in European drinking water." "The fact that a single strawberry sample contains residues of more than a dozen different pesticides cannot be brushed aside as inconsequential." Glyphosate is not working as well as it used to. After having been sprayed on the ground and directly on crops before harvesting, weeds have become immune to it. To combat the stronger weeds more glyphosate is being applied. Eventually, glyphosate will lose its usefulness. It is now being combined with other chemicals including 2,4-D (an ingredient from Agent Orange). Bottom line is that our regulatory agencies should not be controlled or influenced by corporate america. Whatever happened to Corporate Responsibility? Perhaps it never really existed.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    The third-to-last and second-to-last chapters are by far the best in this book. A good book to read if you don’t already know about the way science is funded by corporations. I would have like to see the personal stories of individuals discussed in the book fleshed out to a much greater degree. The experts are characterized through Wikipedia-style listing of their education and awards, wow we just don’t see enough of people like Teri McCall, which would make the book come alive. There’s really n The third-to-last and second-to-last chapters are by far the best in this book. A good book to read if you don’t already know about the way science is funded by corporations. I would have like to see the personal stories of individuals discussed in the book fleshed out to a much greater degree. The experts are characterized through Wikipedia-style listing of their education and awards, wow we just don’t see enough of people like Teri McCall, which would make the book come alive. There’s really no serious analysis of the studies cited; the “argument“ seems to be that if industry funded it it is ipso facto bad, while studies that are opposed by industry must therefore be good, with no analysis that shows whether, say, Monsanto had any case in saying a study was flawed. Key takeaways: more research is needed, and we need to work to curtail industry interference in regulation and academic funding. I actually came away feeling a little bit less concerned about glyphosate than I started, which I’m sure was not the author’s intention.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Cui

    While it is obviously unsettling that the food we consume is loaded with pesticides/herbicides that have long-term impacts on human health, I was more appalled by the degree to which esteemed scientific agencies chose to turn a blind eye when presented with evidence that the use of the chemical in question, glyphosate in the Roundup herbicide, was found to be correlated with the development of cancer and numerous other health conditions for farmers as well communities that are frequently in cont While it is obviously unsettling that the food we consume is loaded with pesticides/herbicides that have long-term impacts on human health, I was more appalled by the degree to which esteemed scientific agencies chose to turn a blind eye when presented with evidence that the use of the chemical in question, glyphosate in the Roundup herbicide, was found to be correlated with the development of cancer and numerous other health conditions for farmers as well communities that are frequently in contact with the substance. It is obvious through the evidence presented in this book that the agency scientists implicated in this scandal knew what they were doing, the scientists were not bamboozled by the agribusinesses into believing that glyphosate posed no harm for human health as there was research showing otherwise. They just chose to not follow the precautionary principle, especially when the benefit of using Roundup seems to only reside with the agribusiness behind it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marguerite

    Top-notch reporting on a complex topic, made more difficult by obstreperous chemical companies and the government agencies and officials in their pockets. It doesn't matter if you don't use Roundup in your yard. If your neighbors or food producers do, it's probably in your body. And, the people whose job it is to protect you from poisons in your food and your environment are looking the other way, going along with junk science and making it impossible for citizens and journalists to learn the tr Top-notch reporting on a complex topic, made more difficult by obstreperous chemical companies and the government agencies and officials in their pockets. It doesn't matter if you don't use Roundup in your yard. If your neighbors or food producers do, it's probably in your body. And, the people whose job it is to protect you from poisons in your food and your environment are looking the other way, going along with junk science and making it impossible for citizens and journalists to learn the truth. Carey Gillam cuts to the chase here, despite pressure/bullying from chemical giants and public servants. The picture she paints is ugly, but the situation has gotten even worse in the age of alternative facts, the wholesale rejection of science and lying as policy. Read this book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    M. Mangan

    This tome is nothing but an extended conspiracy theory, attempting to sow doubt in the discussion of GMOs and farming. It consists of hilarious hypocrisy, astonishing omissions, and just utter deceit on Gillam's part. For someone to claim to have no bias but "truth", it's is entirely untruthful to leave out the scientific research on the topic. Completely ignoring the comprehensive National Academy of Sciences report known as the #GECropStudy is like pretending the IPCC doesn't write about clima This tome is nothing but an extended conspiracy theory, attempting to sow doubt in the discussion of GMOs and farming. It consists of hilarious hypocrisy, astonishing omissions, and just utter deceit on Gillam's part. For someone to claim to have no bias but "truth", it's is entirely untruthful to leave out the scientific research on the topic. Completely ignoring the comprehensive National Academy of Sciences report known as the #GECropStudy is like pretending the IPCC doesn't write about climate and doesn't belong in a climate science text. Full details about the manufactured ignorance Gillam delivers can be found in my full review elsewhere.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Frightening and deeply depressing, Whitewash features chapters with cheerful titles like “When Weeds Don’t Die, But Butterflies Do.” The book is very well researched but a little too scientific for me; as the author notes, “For the average individual, reading through scientific research can be daunting, not to mention confusing.” (p. 91) Still, Whitewash is an important book that is long overdue. I hope it will be as influential as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. TLDR: Monsanto: bad, Roundup: bad, Frightening and deeply depressing, Whitewash features chapters with cheerful titles like “When Weeds Don’t Die, But Butterflies Do.” The book is very well researched but a little too scientific for me; as the author notes, “For the average individual, reading through scientific research can be daunting, not to mention confusing.” (p. 91) Still, Whitewash is an important book that is long overdue. I hope it will be as influential as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. TLDR: Monsanto: bad, Roundup: bad, glyphosate: bad; FDA, EPA, and USDA: complicit.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Goddard

    It's curious to me that this book hasn't had the explosive impact popularly that Rachel Carson's Silent Spring did in 1962. Maybe it's because 2018 is a different era, when we are more cynical about the power of big business and impact of environmental activism? Or maybe it's because Gillam's writing is drier and more cerebral than Carson's? Either way, it's too bad, because the research here seems, to my inexpert eyes, to be thorough and thoughtful. A powerful book of popular science. It's curious to me that this book hasn't had the explosive impact popularly that Rachel Carson's Silent Spring did in 1962. Maybe it's because 2018 is a different era, when we are more cynical about the power of big business and impact of environmental activism? Or maybe it's because Gillam's writing is drier and more cerebral than Carson's? Either way, it's too bad, because the research here seems, to my inexpert eyes, to be thorough and thoughtful. A powerful book of popular science.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    This is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about their health, exposure to chemicals, and the general food supply. It's also a good way to learn about how much influence Monsanto and other chemical companies have in our country, especially with the EPA and other regulatory agencies. Warning: this book will probably make you really angry about how little our government is protecting individual citizens, and how much they do to appease big corporations. This is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about their health, exposure to chemicals, and the general food supply. It's also a good way to learn about how much influence Monsanto and other chemical companies have in our country, especially with the EPA and other regulatory agencies. Warning: this book will probably make you really angry about how little our government is protecting individual citizens, and how much they do to appease big corporations.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ed Stoddard

    Full disclosure: Carey is a former Reuters' colleague of mine who I worked with in the US and a friend. That aside, this is an excellent expose of the disturbing link between corporate interests, government regulators and the politicisation of science. The US right often maintains that the left manipulates science to advance political agendas (see climate change). They would do well to look in the mirror. Gillam, who has since uncovered Monsanto's efforts to target and discredit her, holds up a Full disclosure: Carey is a former Reuters' colleague of mine who I worked with in the US and a friend. That aside, this is an excellent expose of the disturbing link between corporate interests, government regulators and the politicisation of science. The US right often maintains that the left manipulates science to advance political agendas (see climate change). They would do well to look in the mirror. Gillam, who has since uncovered Monsanto's efforts to target and discredit her, holds up a lens to the corporate white-washing of science. The image it shows is not a pretty one ...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stevo Brock

    This book was a Best of the Best for the month of November, 2019, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet / Stevo's Nobel Ideas. You can find me at http://forums.delphiforums.com/stevo1, on my Stevo's Novel Ideas Amazon Influencer page (https://www.amazon.com/shop/stevo4747), on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Stevo4747), on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/brocksteve/) or search for me on Google for many more reviews and recommendations. This book was a Best of the Best for the month of November, 2019, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet / Stevo's Nobel Ideas. You can find me at http://forums.delphiforums.com/stevo1, on my Stevo's Novel Ideas Amazon Influencer page (https://www.amazon.com/shop/stevo4747), on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Stevo4747), on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/brocksteve/) or search for me on Google for many more reviews and recommendations.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This is a well-researched look into the politics of science. I was already skeptical of Monsanto (now Bayer), but I did not realize how professors, scientists, and politicians can influence the approval process for chemicals or be influenced by the industry. It was a little dry in some parts, but worth the read in order to become a better consumer.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Johnson

    important topic for everyone to know about. I followed it fine until it bogged down in the middle with names of scientists and committees and hearings and dates. I know this documentation is important, but maybe lots of it could go into an appendix?

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