신젠타사가 아트라진의 독성을 둘러싼 법률 소송에 의해 경제적 이윤이 위협받자 제초제
아트라진을 옹호하기 위해 더러운 행동을 했다는 사실이 폭로되었습니다.(원문 자료는 맨
신젠타사는 사설 흥신소 직원을 고용하여 아트라진의 독성을 연구한 과학자들을 뒷조사
했으며, 신젠타사는 객관적이고 독립적인 제3자가 자신들을 옹호하는 것처럼 위장
(제3자 동맹 기법, 담배회사들이 담배를 옹호하기 위해 사용했던 전략)하기 위해 돈을 주고
제3자를 고용하기도 했습니다. 또한 비밀리에 130명의 전문가들을 모집하여 마치 신젠타사와
전혀 관련이 없는 것처럼 위장하기도 했습니다.
이러한 사실은 신젠타사의 아트라진을 옹호하기 위한 전략이 담긴 문서가 법정에서 공개됨
신젠타사의 공격 목표가 된 대표적인 과학자가 캘리포니아대학 버클리캠퍼스(UC-Berkeley)
의 타이론 헤이즈(Tyrone Hayes) 교수였습니다. 그는 아트라진에 노출된 개구리 수컷이
암컷으로 완전히 바꿀 가능성이 있다는 연구결과를 2002년 미국국립과학원회보(PNAS)에
발표한 바 있습니다. (Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/12/0909519107.abstract?sid=409d7474-79ea-4b04-8d6b-adfc6d468bac)
이 논문은 아트라진의 환경유해성 논란의 종지부를 찍는 연구결과였으며, 신젠타사의 경제적
이윤에 치명적 타격을 입힌 결과를 초래했습니다.
아트라진의 환경유해성을 제기한 타이론 헤이즈(Tyrone Hayes) 교수팀의 연구결과가 2002년
에 발표되었음에도 불구하고, 미국 환경보호청(EPA)는 2003년 10월 아트라진의 재등록을
허가하였습니다.(회전문 인사와 신젠타의 로비에 대한 연구가 필요한 대목입니다)
참고로 아트라진은 잡초를 제거하거나 잔리를 관리하기 위해 사용되는 제초제입니다.
옥수수를 비롯한 작물에 많이 사용되며, 골프장, 방목장, 숲, 휴양지, 조경지 등을 관리하기
위해서도 사용됩니다. 유럽의 많은 나라에서는 아트라진의 인체 건강 및 환경 유해성 때문에
사용을 금지하고 있습니다.
아트라진은 살포된 이후 수개월에서 1년 이상의 기간 동안 토양에 장기적으로 잔류할 수
있으며, 공기를 통해서도 노출될 수 있기 때문에 유아와 어린이들, 임산부와 노인들에게
특히 유해할 수 있습니다. 심지어 농장에서 일하는 농업노동자나 농장주의 옷이나 신발,
농기구 등을 통해서도 집으로 유입되어 가족들이 아트라진에 노출될 수 있습니다.
아트라진에 단기간 노출되면 눈, 피부, 점막에 자극을 유발할 수 있으며, 동물실험에서
고용량의 노출은 간, 신장, 심장에 손상을 유발한다는 사실이 밝혀졌습니다.
먹는 물 중 아트라진의 농도가 높을 수 록 신생아의 발달에 큰 영향을 끼치는 것으로
나타났으며, 아트라진을 사용하는 농장에서 거주한 부부들에게서 조산의 비율이
증가하는 현상이 나타나기도 했습니다.
미국 중서부에서 수행된 조사에서는 아트라진, 알라클로르, 다이아지논 등에 노출된
남성들에게서 정액의 질적 수준이 떨어지는 것으로 나타났으며, 동물 실험에서 아트라진에
노출된 수컷 실험용 쥐는 정자 개수가 감소하고, 정자의 운동성이 떨어졌으며, 전립선 염증이
미국 지질조사국이 2010년 5월 Aquatic Toxicology에 발표한 연구에서 “농업용 하천이나
강에서 흔히 발견되는 아트라진은 실험실 연구에서 조직 기형을 일으킬 뿐 아니라 조직
어류의 번식 및 부화를 감소시킨다”고 밝혔습니다.
뿐만 아니라 서울대 의대 이홍규 교수팀은 아트라진의 만성적인 노출이 인슐린 저항성을
유도하여 비만을 유발한다는 연구결과를 발표하기도 했습니다.
(Chronic exposure to the herbicide, atrazine, causes and insulin resistamitochondrial dysfunction resistance. PLoS One. 2009;4(4):e5186. Epub 2009 Apr 13)
따라서 아트라진은 호르몬과 유사한 작용을 하거나 호르몬 작용을 방해할 수 있는 내분비계
신젠타는 아트라진 뿐만 아니라 맹독성 제초제인 파라콰트(그라목손)로도 물의를 일으킨 바
있습니다. 신젠타는 공격적으로 맹독성의 제초제인 ‘파라콰트’ 판매를 늘렸고 이를 사용한
수많은 농부들이 죽거나 중독되었습니다.
이러한 이유 때문에 신젠타사는 삼성과 함께 2012년 환경과 인권을 가장 심각하게 침해한
악명높은 기업을 선정하는 ‘공공의 시선(Public Eye)’ 상 후보에 오르기도 했습니다.
특별 보고서 : 살충제 아트라진을 옹호하기 위한 신젠타의 캠페인, 신뢰할 수 없는 비평들
Special Report: Syngenta’s campaign to protect atrazine, discredit critics
100Reporters and Environmental Health News, June 17 2013 [extracts only]
To protect profits threatened by a lawsuit over its controversial herbicide atrazine, Syngenta Crop Protection launched an aggressive multi-million dollar campaign that included hiring a detective agency to investigate scientists on a federal advisory panel, looking into the personal life of a judge and commissioning a psychological profile of a leading scientist critical of atrazine. The Switzerland-based pesticide manufacturer also routinely paid “third-party allies” to appear to be independent supporters, and kept a list of 130 people and groups it could recruit as experts without disclosing ties to the company. Recently unsealed court documents reveal a corporate strategy to discredit critics and to strip plaintiffs from the class-action case. The company specifically targeted one of atrazine’s fiercest and most outspoken critics, UC-Berkeley’s Tyrone Hayes, whose research suggests that atrazine feminizes male frogs. The campaign is spelled out in hundreds of pages of memos, invoices and other documents from Illinois’ Madison County Circuit Court, that were initially sealed as part of a 2004 lawsuit filed by Holiday Shores Sanitary District. The new documents, along with an earlier tranche, open a window on the company’s strategy to defeat a lawsuit that could have effectively ended sales of atrazine in the United States.
…Discovery documents from the lawsuit were unsealed by the Madison County Circuit Court in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by 100Reporters, a nonprofit investigative journalism group.
The documents show that the company conducted research into the vulnerabilities of a judge, and Hayes’ personal life. Sherry Duvall Ford, Syngenta’s former head of communications, ranked strategies that Syngenta could use against Hayes in order of risk, according to her notes from Syngenta meetings in April 2005. One possibility: offering “to cut him in on unlimited research funds.” Another: Investigate his wife.
In her deposition, Ford read from a memo emailed to her colleagues indicating that Syngenta had hired a detective agency to investigate members of an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel [SAP] examining atrazine…
The company also secretly paid a stable of seemingly independent academics and other “experts” to extol the economic benefits of atrazine and downplay its environmental and health risks, without disclosing their financial ties to the company, according to memos and emails between Syngenta and the public relations firms it hired. At the same time, the company provided strict parameters for what these experts would say.
Don Coursey, Ameritech Professor of Public Policy at the University of Chicago collected $500 an hour from Syngenta to write economic analyses touting the necessity of atrazine, according to an April 25, 2006, email from Coursey to Ford. Syngenta supplied Coursey with the data he was to cite, edited his work and paid him to speak with newspapers, television and radio broadcasters about his reports, without revealing the nature of his arrangement with the corporation, according to Ford’s deposition. Coursey’s work, presented in 2010 at the National Press Club, was widely picked up as independent analysis by newspapers across the country. Coursey also is affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a libertarian nonprofit focused on environmental regulations.
In one document dated 2005, Ford noted areas of vulnerabilities of a Madison County judge the corporation thought might be assigned to the case: “Not showing up for work. Personal conduct. Skybox from Tillery. Dating websites – pic in robes.”
Stephen Tillery, whose firm, Korein Tillery, represented plaintiffs in the suit, said his firm had never given the judge a skybox. “I was never with the judge in a skybox,” Tillery said, adding, “He was not the judge in the case. They thought he might be, and they were looking for ways to disqualify him.”
The allegation over the skybox was the basis of a formal complaint Syngenta filed against Tillery with the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission. The complaint was dismissed as without merit.
At least four public relations firms were hired to work on the Syngenta campaign, according to the documents. The White House Writers Group, based in Washington, D.C., and Jayne Thompson & Associates, based in Chicago, were heavily involved. Invoices show that the White House Writers Group received more than $1.6 million in 2010 and 2011. Thompson is Illinois’ former first lady, wife of former Gov. Jim Thompson.
Tillery said, “They did everything they could with dirty tricks. The extent they went to was unprecedented.” He added that only one firm working on behalf of Syngenta, McDermott, Will & Emery of Chicago, did not engage in “dirty tricks.”
Hayes in the Crosshairs
Hayes, a leading atrazine researcher and critic, became a major target. His published research reported that exposure to atrazine chemically castrates male frogs and makes them viable females, able to produce eggs that can be fertilized.
Hayes began his atrazine research in 1997 with a study funded by Novartis Agribusiness, one of two corporations that would later form Syngenta. Hayes said that when he got results Novartis did not expect or want, the corporation refused to allow him to publish them. He secured other funding, replicated his work and released the results: exposure to atrazine creates hermaphroditic frogs. That started an epic feud between the scientist and the corporation.
The new documents show that the company commissioned a psychological profile of Hayes. In her notes taken during a 2005 meeting, Ford refers to Hayes as “paranoid schizo and narcissistic.”
Syngenta tracked Hayes’ speaking engagements and arranged for trained critics to attend each event, sometimes videotaping his remarks, according to a strategy proposed in 2006 memos by Jayne Thompson and later confirmed by Hayes. Syngenta explored the idea of purchasing “Tyrone Hayes” as a search word on the Internet and directing searches to its own marketing materials, but appeared to have ultimately decided against it.
Hayes said he had been unaware that Syngenta had discussed purchasing his name as an Internet search word. “Given some of the things they did, that doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “This clearly shows they went beyond science and academia. It was all PR and tricks.”
Hayes accused Syngenta of pressuring him through UC-Berkeley officials. He said he now pays as much as 20 times more than other researchers for his lab operations. He added that his federal grant applications have been getting the highest scores in evaluations, but are being turned down. He suspects the company of involvement in the sudden hurdles he is facing.
Hayes said Syngenta employees had threatened him verbally and said they were going after his family, but this was the first time he knew these plans were in writing.
“They impacted my professional and personal life,” he said. “It’s sobering to get substantiation of the verbal attacks they made.”
…In one memo, the company denied pressuring Duke University not to hire Hayes, but in her deposition on June 9, 2011, Ford, Syngenta’s former spokeswoman, said that Gary Dickson, a Syngenta employee, contacted a dean at Duke to inform him of the contentious relationship between Hayes and Syngenta.
…Ford also said Syngenta gave financial support to the Hudson Institute and had asked Alex Avery, at the institute’s Center for Global Food Issues, to write reports critical of Hayes. She later said that unlike Hayes, Avery has not published in any peer-reviewed journals that she knew of and he did not disclose payments from Syngenta.
The Hudson Institute is a conservative nonprofit focused on shaping public policy on issues ranging from international relations to technology and health care.
In one document, Ford noted that a principal with the White House Writers Group taped a phone call with Hayes and “set him up.” Hayes was baited through emails from Syngenta’s army of allies. The scientist’s emails were posted on the Syngenta web site as part of the campaign to discredit him.
“If TH [Tyrone Hayes] is involved in scandal, the enviros will drop him,” Ford wrote. “Can prevent citing of TH data by revealing him as non-credible,” she added.
Secret Payments to “Independent” Allies
Court documents include a “Supportive Third Party Stakeholders Database” of 130 people and organizations the company could count on to publicly support atrazine, often for a price.
Documents show people on the list were coached, their statements in support of atrazine were edited by the company and payments to them were not publicly disclosed.
In some cases, Syngenta or its PR team wrote the Op-Ed pieces and then scanned its stakeholder database for a signer.
In an Oct. 17, 2009, memo to Syngenta’s Ford, Jayne Thompson warned that some of the language in four Op-Eds penned by the White House Writers Group is suggestive of their source, which “should be avoided at all costs.”
Court documents include an email dated Oct. 28, 2009, from a Syngenta employee asking her boss how to pay these third-party allies who write in support of atrazine. There are consistent warnings to be sure supporters appear independent, with no links to the corporation.
In one case, Syngenta paid $100,000 to the nonprofit American Council on Science and Health for support that included an Op-Ed piece criticizing the work of journalist Charles Duhigg of the New York Times, who wrote a story on atrazine as part of its Toxic Waters series in 2009. Without disclosing this financial support from Syngenta, president and founder Elizabeth Whelan derided the New York Times article on atrazine as, “All the news that’s fit to scare.” ACSH is a nonprofit that advocates against what it considers government’s over-regulation of issues related to science and health.
“Dear Syngenta friends,” began a 2009 email from Gilbert Ross, a physician at ACSH, thanking Syngenta for its payments and financial support over the years. “Such general operating support is the lifeblood of a small nonprofit like ours, and is both deeply appreciated and much needed,” wrote Ross.
In response to emailed questions for this article, Ross defended the decision not to publicly disclose the payments, and dismissed Hayes as an “outlier.”
…Steven Milloy, publisher of junkscience.com and president of Citizens for the Integrity of Science, is also in Syngenta’s Supportive Third Party Stakeholders Database.
In a Dec. 3, 2004, email to Syngenta, Milloy requests a grant of $15,000 for the nonprofit Free Enterprise Education Institute for an atrazine stewardship cost-benefit analysis project.
신젠타사가 아트라진의 독성을 둘러싼 법률 소송에 의해 경제적 이윤이 위협받자 제초제