Self-proclaimed anti-atrazine activist researcher damages his already shaky cred with e-mails

Friday, July 30, 2010 0 comments
(Courtesy of ksgrains blog)
Tyrone Hayes is an icon, at least according to Tyrone Hayes. He is a University of California at Berkeley researcher whose research generated to ban atrazine is certainly prolific. In addition to several amphibian studies that he says prove atrazine turns male frogs into not-so-male frogs, Hayes also hosts an anti-atrazine website and has a busy anti-atrazinespeaking schedule. But Hayes has spent a lot of time on something else—writing bizarre and harassing emails to those on the other side of the atrazine argument.

Employees of Syngenta and others, including EPA staffers, have been receiving strange e-mails from Hayes for several years. Syngenta is the primary manufacturer of atrazine. The company recently filed an ethics complaint with UC Berkeley about Hayes’ communications. Syngenta says that Hayes has sent their employees emails that are “aggressive, unprofessional and insulting, but also salacious and lewd.” The emails are taunting, harassing and sexually explicit in nature,” according to the complaint.

Hayes certainly has sent a lot of emails to Syngenta employees. The company posted a collection of Hayes e-mails, and it is 102 pages in length. In fact, in one e-mail, Hayes says he hopes his emails and poems will be published.

After a toxicology meeting in early 2008 (SETAC), Hayes sent a Syngenta employee a rambling six-page “manifesto”. Hayes says he doesn’t care about professionalism, but says he sure puts on a good show. Here is an excerpt. A couple of notes: The ellipses in the text were placed by Hayes. And IDGAF means, I don’t’ give a f***.

“IDGAF! Come on????? you think I care about propriety and professionalism? I do what I do, because it’s what I do…IDGAF!!! Look, my first SETAC, I rolled up 15 and 15!... autograph- signing, room-packing, rhyme-busting, *ss-whoopin… and toldem’ “please don’t ever invite me back” …I have used the “F-word” in my talks, have quoted DMX, Busta Rhymes, Tyra Banks, Marvin Gaye…I have jumped off stage, brandished emails…entitled my talks everything from “Opening up shop” (from DMX’s “Stop, drop, shuttem’ down, open up shop”) and “America’s Next Top Model” ….I pack the room, havem’ call out security, was the stimulus for the “Hayes clause” at registration, and have been invited back every year. That’s my house, Trick! Do I care what you, (deleted) and your *ss kissin’ H*’s think?

I’ve already been invited to the next one…guess people like being entertained.”

Alex Avery, center for Global Food Issues, posted a good column on this, which we have posted on our website, or visit the CGFI website at

If you want to read Syngenta’s complaint to Berkeley, follow this link:

If you want to read all of Dr. Hayes’s emails, go to

For full coverage of the atrazine issue, visit

The Strange Case of Dr. Tyrone Hayes

Thursday, July 29, 2010 0 comments
Frog Researcher Attacks Atrazine Maker Through Obscene E-mails

by Alex Avery, Center for Global Food Issues

Warning to reader: Some of the emails quoted below from Dr. Tyrone Hayes are obscene.

For years, the Natural Resources Defense Council and their trial lawyer allies have worked to persuade EPA to ignore 6,000 studies, as well as the agency’s recent determinations, to re-investigate atrazine, the herbicide that corn growers and other farmers have safely used for more than fifty years.

Exhibit A in their case is Dr. Tyrone Hayes, a University of California at Berkeley biologist, who links atrazine to endocrine disruption in amphibians. Hayes specifically asserts that atrazine interferes with the sexual development of frogs and is, therefore, a likely cause of abnormalities in humans.

The EPA, alarmed by these claims, designed and oversaw the execution of two multi-million dollars frog studies, one in Germany and one in Maryland. Neither test could replicate the results Hayes claimed to have found. U.S. EPA officials have also informed state legislators in Minnesota and Illinois that Dr. Hayes refuses to make his data available to them—although a willingness to share data is the sine qua non of any reputable scientist. A careful analysis of Dr. Hayes’s recent publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found numerous weaknesses in his methodology and misrepresentations in his cites of other studies.

Now we have evidence that Dr. Hayes is not only biased but seriously unbalanced in his attitude toward atrazine and its manufacturer, Syngenta.

In an ethics complaint posted to the president, regents and chancellor of UC Berkeley, Syngenta claims that for years Hayes has subjected its employees to emails that are “aggressive, unprofessional and insulting, but also salacious and lewd.” These emails, writes Syngenta litigation counsel Alan Nadel, are “taunting, harassing and sexually explicit in nature.”

One such email, sent from Hayes’s email address on Feb. 13, 2009, says:

aww shucks … I’m bouta’ handle my biz right now
see you bucked…wondering…”what it is right now?”
ya outa’ luck…bouta show you how it is right now

see you’re ****ed (i didn’t pull out) and ya fulla my j*z right now!

In another from 2008, Hayes writes (apparently in response to a public statement from a Syngenta spokesman):

tell your little lap dog to wear knee pads next time and wipe the *** from
his mouth before he steps up to the mic.

Sexually explicit imagery and obscene words sprinkle Dr. Hayes’s communications to Syngenta, which he sends out under his name from his UC email address. His communications are also grandiose, if not paranoiac.

you talkin’ ‘bout my wealth
say you worried ‘bout yo health
cuz your bp goes up with your loathing
maybe you should settle down
…stop following me around
and bow down to the wolf in black clothing

The wolf, of course, is Dr. Hayes (he frequently wears all black). In one email he writes:

i am more than just a scientist, a rock star, a preacher…
i am an icon.

In another, Hayes speculates who will play himself in a Hollywood movie.

In a March, 2008, email, Hayes goes on at length about a dream he had in which he describes Syngenta executives as “defiled souls” stranded on a small island, in frozen air that causes their tears to turn painfully into icicles. They are subsequently judged and punished by seven thunderbolts, seven infernos, seven tsunamis and seven serpents . . .

with your nakedness facing the tundra wished for only one thing…
that you never met the ONE…
nobody from no where…
that your paths would have never crossed…
a man named…tyrone

everywhere i go
i cause a raucus
act like you know
that’s how i do it m*th*f*ck*s

In other emails, Hayes brags about his personal wealth, the value of his house, his $150K remodeled kitchen, and his prestigious education. In what appears to be his only communication that contains self-awareness, he writes:

But consider that crazy people think that they are normal and that everyone else is crazy. Again, I figure to maintain my sanity, it is best to acknowledge my insanity . . .

Then this moment of self-awareness soon melts away, devolving back to Hayes’s private demons:

but what kind of insane man is sane enough to recognize his own insanity?

This missive ends up:

would you rather get your *ss whopped (and you ARE getting your *ss whopped) by a fool or a genius?

Perplexed and alarmed, Syngenta tried more than once to resolve this matter privately. In 2009, University Counsel Michael Smith forwarded Syngenta’s appeal for an end to the harassing emails to Nancy Chu, Assistant Vice Provost. Chu and Dean Mark Schlissel met with Hayes about the Syngenta emails.

In a letter dated April 1, 2009, Chu wrote: “Professor Hayes has acknowledged that some of the language in the email communications was unprofessional. He has agreed that he will cease using any language that could be considered offensive or unprofessional in future email communications. Should there be any further complaints of this nature,” Chu wrote, “please do not hesitate to contact me.” (To see Syngenta’s ethics filing with UC Berkeley, go to:

The admonition was ineffective. Dr. Hayes’s email campaign continued well into this year. What, if anything, UC Berkley will do is an open question. That Hayes has given female executives at Syngenta real reason for offense and alarm is beyond dispute. (To see a fuller compendium of Dr. Hayes’s emails, go to

The larger question is, given the fact that Hayes refuses to share his data (as EPA most recently confirmed in a May, 17, 2010 letter from Donald Brady, Director of EPA Environmental Fate and Effects Division, Office of Pesticide Programs) why does anyone still regard Hayes as a credible source about anything having to do with atrazine?

Why does the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences continue to publish Hayes’s articles?

And when will the press quit trumpeting Hayes’s studies?

In short, what does it take for a scientist to be discredited?

# # #

Toxic Environmental Regulations Poison the Job Market

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 0 comments
by Robert James Bidinotto
The media continue to report dismal economic news, raising the specter that our teetering economy may fall back into a “double-dip recession.” Continuing high unemployment is the biggest worry for most Americans. The percentage of working-age people in the labor force last month fell to 64.7 percent—the lowest figure in a quarter century.

You would think that the administration’s top priority, then, would be to foster a pro-investment, pro-hiring business atmosphere. You’d certainly not expect them to pursue policies that could push any impending recovery, fragile at best, over the “tipping point” and down into another economic chasm.

That, however, appears to be just what they’re doing.

The administration’s entire agenda—from “stimulus” spending, to government-run healthcare, to takeovers of financial institutions, to higher taxes—has spread paralyzing uncertainty throughout the investment community. But that hasn’t caused them even to slow down, let alone change course.

Consider three job-killing measures imposed by this administration in a single area: environmental regulation.

1. The drilling moratorium. In response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the environmentalists heading the Interior Department imposed a six-month ban on all deepwater drilling in the Gulf last May, “while safety regulations are updated.” According to the New York Times, “The action has put hundreds of people who operate and service deepwater wells out of work and brought long-term uncertainty to the Gulf Coast economy. Politicians all along the coast have called the moratorium a case of federal overkill that threatens the livelihood of the region.”

Indeed; an analogy might be to shutting down all driving in Colorado for six months after a single major traffic accident in Denver.

Though a federal judge struck down the administration’s ruling, saying it had failed to justify “a blanket, generic, indeed punitive, moratorium” on deepwater drilling, work on the wells has not resumed, pending Interior Department appeals. And even if the administration loses its appeals, they plan to impose yet another moratorium. Meanwhile, oil rig workers have joined the swollen ranks of the unemployed.


3. The war on agro-chemicals. I’ve previously reported on the EPA’s renewed assault on agro-chemicals, including the crucial weed-killer atrazine, here and here. In those articles, I focused on the dire consequences to our food supply and health if environmentalist bureaucrats ban this safe, vital agro-chemical.

Now comes an important new study showing that such a ban also would lead to tens of thousands of job losses, especially in the farm sector of our ailing economy.

On July 7, University of Chicago economist Don L. Coursey appeared at the National Press Club and in a media teleconference to announce his findings. Dr. Coursey—a respected researcher who has worked for three decades with the EPA, foreign governments, nonprofits, and corporations—told us that “the economics are clear. The ban on atrazine at the national level would have a devastating—devastating—effect upon the U.S. corn economy.”

Drawing upon the EPA’s own prior studies, Coursey found that replacing atrazine would cost farmers between $26 and $58 per acre—meaning “the total loss to corn farmers from a national ban on atrazine would be between $2.3 billion and $5.0 billion per year.” Losses of that magnitude “will erase between 21,000 and 48,000 jobs related to or dependent on corn production, with additional job losses coming from both sugar cane and sorghum production losses.”

If all the job losses were concentrated in the agriculture sector, Dr. Coursey said, farm unemployment would grow by as much as 2.6 percent—rising from the current high 12 percent rate to a whopping 14.6 percent. And if all those job losses were concentrated in the area of corn farming, its current unemployment rate of 11 percent would soar into the catastrophic range of 30 percent. “A good ninety to ninety-five percent of the impact in the corn sector would be felt by small, rural, family farms,” he added.

Such economic losses would be in addition to many other harms noted in my previous articles. These include threats to food crops, higher food prices, and the resulting dietary impacts, especially among the poor. Ironically, there would be environmental harm as well. For example, atrazine is an invaluable aid to “conservation tillage,” which permits far less plowing—thus resulting in less agricultural runoff into streams and drinking water.

“Corn is a very important crop to the world economy,” Dr. Coursey concluded in his teleconference. “A ban on atrazine in corn production in the United States would be devastating to farmers, and devastating to the communities in which they live. The last thing we need is to ban something that’s a safe product, and that will cause more people to lose jobs in our economy, given current conditions.” If the Obama EPA bans atrazine, it would express “wanton indifference to our need for economic recovery.”

Read the full Big Government article here.

Up to 48,000 jobs lost if atrazine is ever banned, new study says

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 0 comments
University of Chicago economist says even more losses would come when sorghum, sugar cane and other crops are considered

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 7, 2010) – Banning the agricultural herbicide atrazine would cost between 21,000 and 48,000 jobs from corn production losses alone, according to University of Chicago economist Don L. Coursey, Ph.D.

Dr. Coursey announced his findings at a briefing sponsored by the Triazine Network today at the National Press Club in Washington.

Coursey estimates atrazine’s annual production value to corn alone to be between $2.3 billion and $5 billion. Atrazine’s additional value to sorghum, sugar cane and other uses increases these totals.

“The economic data on atrazine are very clear. As a first-order estimate, banning atrazine will erase between 21,000 and 48,000 jobs related to or dependant on corn production, with additional job losses coming from both sugar cane and sorghum production losses,” Coursey said.

“The range is wide because we have never before banned a product on which so many depend and for which suitable replacements have a wide variety of prices and application regimes.”

“If all of that job loss were concentrated in the agricultural sector, its unemployment would grow by as much as 2.6 percent. Replacement costs for corn farmers could reach as high as $58 per acre,” Coursey said.

Atrazine has been a mainstay of corn, sorghum and sugar cane production for 50 years. The second most-used herbicide in the U.S., it controls a broad range of yield-robbing weeds, is safe for the crop and supports a variety of farming systems, including soil-saving conservation-till agriculture.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) re-registered atrazine in 2006 based on the evidence of nearly 6,000 studies and more than 80,000 public comments. It began an additional, unscheduled review of atrazine in late 2009.

“Atrazine is essential to U.S. agriculture. We appreciate Dr. Coursey’s findings and will distribute them to our members, the EPA and to our elected representatives. With unemployment still painfully high across the nation, we can’t afford to lose as many as 50,000 jobs and the corn yield that sustains them,” said Jere White, Triazine Network chairman and executive director of the Kansas Corn Growers Association.

EPA cited a media report and claims by a longtime anti-atrazine group when it announced the additional, unscheduled review. It was the first time in history EPA did not cite sound science to initiate a review process.

Coursey’s statement can be viewed at

Coursey is the Ameritech Professor of Public Policy Studies in the Harris School at the University of Chicago, where he served as dean from 1996 to 1998.