A Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences, [Len] Ritter is one of Canada’s leading experts on the effects of pesticides and herbicides on humans, and was awarded a medal by the WHO in 2006, in recognition of his contributions as an advisor to the organization.
But Ritter also has a history of championing some of the industry’s most controversial agrochemical products.
The fact that Ritter is a professor emeritus of environmental toxicology at the University of Guelph comes as no surprise to his detractors. Located in the city of Guelph, one hour west of Toronto, the university—nicknamed “Moo U”—is Canada’s top agricultural school…. [T]he university remains focused on supplying graduates for the agricultural, farming, forestry, and veterinary industries. This, inevitably, has meant that the school often teams up with the companies that dominate those sectors, forming partnerships that have paid dividends for the institution, which today claims to attract more research dollars per capita than any other comprehensive university in Canada.
Academic critics warn that the arrangement is a Faustian bargain. Faculty members, they say, are being recruited by agrochemical giants to undermine criticisms levelled at their products, and therefore help keep potentially dangerous chemicals on the market.
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