Thursday, March 13, 2014

Attack On Ag

The attack on agriculture continues:

Dear colleague:

 One of Syngenta’s core products—atrazine—has been the center of on-going dialogue for some time. The company has focused on the proven science about the safety of atrazine and tried to stay away from the controversy surrounding various personalities and agendas. That said, Syngenta employees have gracefully weathered negative attacks for years and some have been on the receiving end of unprofessional conduct in this ongoing story.

 In recent weeks, this rhetoric crossed the line. Outrageous and utterly false accusations were made against one of our scientists on “Democracy Now!,” a syndicated program airing on National Public Radio as well as other radio and online media outlets around the world.  This targeted and very personal attack forces us to take action. It is indefensible that this program would not only allow such defamatory statements to air, but that it would also further promote these falsehoods online without attempting to check the credibility of the claims.

 We cannot allow this malicious treatment of a colleague to go unchallenged. We also want to be fully transparent about taking necessary steps to ensure our employees are treated with respect and dignity. This week, we sent letters to “Democracy Now!” and the parties involved, making it clear these allegations are completely untrue. Further, we’re asking them to retract their comments and publicly apologize.

 For more than a decade, the company has been trying to figure out how best to deal with these personal attacks. But sensationalized and devastating harassment of real people with real reputations should not be allowed to go unchecked.

 Our employees have every right to be fiercely proud of the work they do. We are helping to provide the technologies that will make it possible to feed a hungry world in the 21st century. Syngenta operates according to the highest ethical and scientific standards and will continue to do so.

Here’s the link to the letters referenced above. If you have questions about the letters, please contact our Attorney Alan Nadel. For any other questions about this matter, contact Communications Manager Ann Bryan.

 Vern Hawkins

Region Director

North America

I support Vern.  Do you?

Ed Winkle


  1. I agree the name calling was out of line but you need to hear or read the original story that aired on DemocracyNow, there seems to be much more defamation on Syngenta's side. There are real Syngenta documents referencing Tyrone Hayes that were subpoenad and made public during the class action suit. It looks like a classical legal strategy to discredit someone involved as a witness in that suit, but I would not presume to know what's happening, this is a big mess any way you look at it.

    With the problem they also have with Duracade that I posted about on NAT (, Syngenta has multiple PR problem on their hands. Focusing the debate on the name calling issue is a great way to deflect the attention of the public from atrazine which apparently turns male frogs into females by disrupting sex hormones, as Hayes and other scientists found out.

    Hayes' work was not even available to European scientists who reported similar effects and more long before Hayes, which eventually led to the banning of atrazine in Europe in 1991 (Italy, Germany) before being totally banned in 2004:

    This link contains both the video of the interview and a full text transcript, but the mention of Tim Pastoor at 36:30 was apparently edited out and seems to be the only one edited out:

    Here is the latest 2010 paper from Hayes, which also contains links to his previous studies and other studies on atrazine:

  2. I am surprised we have kept atrazine this long. It is usually the number one pesticide found public drinking "where corn is grown and future farmers meet." Cyanazine is the best corn herbicide I've ever used and they sacrificed that good chemical to try and keep atrazine.

    Yes, this one is mess.