Biologist Tyrone Hayes was inspired by the frogs around his boyhood home. That love put him on a path leading to Harvard University, then UC Berkeley. It led him to a study putting him at odds with a maker of pesticides — and to a 100Reporters investigation.

This story is told again, this time as a short documentary, the first in a series by The New Yorker Presents and Amazon Prime.

In June 2013, 100Reporters published “Pest Control: Syngenta’s Secret Campaign to Discredit Atrazine’s Critics.” The story parted the curtain on a secret corporate effort to protect the market for atrazine, used on 80 percent of the corn grown in the United States. The company planted hecklers at Hayes’ talks, sought to exploit his private life and acted to insure he did not get a job teaching at Duke University.

Tyrone Hayes at his UC Berkeley lab.
Tyrone Hayes at his UC Berkeley lab.

Court documents obtained by 100Reporters under an open records request revealed 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, Tyrone Hayes of the University of California, Berkeley, whose research suggests that atrazine feminizes male frogs.

Want to read up on Dr. Hayes, and what happens to beings exposed to Atrazine?

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