(Acclaimed News) Monsanto is one of the largest biotech and agrochemical companies in the world that was founded in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1909. Over the course of the century, Monsanto expanded its growth from the US to South America, Asia, and other parts of the world.
Only a few hours back, Syngenta, the Swiss biochemical company, refused a $45 billion takeover by its corporate rival Monsanto. As the largest supplier of seeds in the world, Monsanto could potentially control the biochemical industry in the world if their Swiss rivals give in!
Monsanto has been notorious in its entire history for contaminating and poisoning fields across the US. Just last year in July, Monsanto had to reach a settlement of $93 million for cleaning up the toxic and hazardous contamination they caused in Nitro, West Virginia. For 54 years until 2004, Monsanto operated an herbicide plant in Nitro and produced various chemicals including Agent Orange. If you remember, Agent Orange was infamous during the Vietnam War.
What many people don’t remember is the poisoning caused the by-products that deemed the town ‘hazardous’!
A History of Corporate Violence
Regarded as a horror story and an evil application of you reap what you sow, Monsanto poisoned the Choccolocco Creek in Anniston, Alabama, for over 50 years. What makes it worse is that the management knew what they were doing since realizing in 1966 that fishes in the creek were shedding skin and spurting blood within seconds of submerging. We’re talking about a creek where children and adults played, livestock drank from, and fishes were caught and eaten.
It wasn’t until the early 90s when an old fisherman found a horrifically deformed fish in the creek that the truth was revealed. For more than five decades Monsanto dumped polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) into the creek and nearby landfills. When the story of a family who grew up in Anniston and suffered from various deformities and cancers broke, that’s when public scrutiny started catching up with Monsanto. In 2003, Monsanto finally settled for the first ever major lawsuit for admitting wrongdoing in releasing toxins in Anniston. The company eventually paid $700 million to over 20,000 citizens who were suffering who weren’t even breathing clean air.
Not Just Towns
Despite the continuous outcry by environmentalists, agriculture advocates, and general public, Monsanto continues to expand its empire. According to a TSW report, Argentina and Brazil are suffering from more or less similar horror stories as Anniston, only on a larger scale. In both countries, Monsanto supplies pesticides for soybean farmers.
As regulations are more moderate for chemical use in South America, these pesticides, loaded with ‘fatal chemicals’, are being used on a large scale. Cancer rates are almost four times higher in Argentina, along with respiratory and skin conditions.
Monsanto no longer produces PCB. However, the company has switched its attention to genetically engineered organisms that supposedly promote food growth. As there are no regulations on stating on the food packaging if genetically engineered organisms were used, a large population not only in the US is unaware that 70% of American grown foods are produced this way.
With climate change finally becoming a publicized reality, when are we going to realize that one of the factors contributing to it and to poisoning the earth is going to be addressed?