It’s in our food, our water, our air, soil and our own bodies. It’s the most widely used herbicide in all of human history, and while farmers and homeowners alike use it regularly, this pesticide carries an array of dangers the corporations that profit from it don’t want you to know about. Whitewash makes it clear that we have forgotten the lessons Rachel Carson taught us 55 years ago — trying to dominate nature with synthetic pesticides is a recipe for health and environmental destruction. Just as Carson’s story-telling vehicle was DDT, Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide, known commonly by consumers as Roundup, is the focus now. Whitewash contains many revelations not only about how pervasive this and other pesticides are now in our food production system, but how hard corporate entities like Monsanto have worked to conceal the truth.
It’s the pesticide 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 pesticide 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.
“Whitewash reads like a mystery novel, as Gillam skillfully uncovers Monsanto’s secretive strategies to convince countries around the world that its Roundup products were safe. The book unravels a tapestry of pesticide industry tricks to manipulate the scientific truths about their products while placing profits above human health and the environment. As someone who has experienced similar actions by corporations firsthand in my work far too often, I am hopeful that Carey’s book will be a wake-up call for more transparency about the dangers surrounding many chemicals in the marketplace.”