A key tool that the agricultural chemical industry uses to convince consumers that their products are safe is by utilizing voices other than their own to echo pro-chemical sentiments. The use of science-sounding organizations to argue the non-toxicity of chemical agriculture is incredibly effective.
When a consumer reads or hears about the negative health impacts of pesticides, the natural thing to do is do a search on that chemical and see what the internet says. It is there that the industry-paid front groups intercept the consumer, and quite effectively defend chemical safety.
A Sampling of Agricultural Chemical Company Front Groups
Monsanto hired the PR Firm Ketchum, who developed the website GMO Answers to collect “expert commentary” on GMO and pesticide safety from paid academics. GMO Answers is funded by the industry group Croplife America, which is funded by Bayer, BASF, Corteva, Syngenta, and others.
Cornell Alliance for Science
The Cornell Alliance for Science sounds like it should be highly trustworthy – after all, isn’t Cornell an Ivy League University? In reality, the Alliance is a PR campaign to promote GMOS and pesticides, and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Notably, Gates has been an enormous proponent of GMO and chemical agriculture, previously owning shares in Monsanto and encouraging the global use of GMOs. He also sits on the Board of Directors of Impossible Burger, a company that makes meat alternatives out of chemical laden GMOs and other artificial additives.
Genetic Literacy Project
A covertly industry-sponsored website dedicated to defending industry interests in marketing the safety of GMOs and pesticides. That name is pretty weighty, and likely works to convince casual readers of glyphosate safety.
The American Council on Science and Health is a website that purportedly has been “promoting science and debunking junk since 1978.” The work of ACSH is a well-known industry propaganda tool that serves to attack scientists and other critics of glyphosate. ACSH is supported not only by Bayer/Monsanto, but also Philip Morris, ExxonMobil, Syngenta, and CocaCola.
There are far more front groups than those that I’ve highlighted – remember to always carefully consider who might be funding the websites from which you are collecting your information.