September 21st, 2011 by Joe Mohr
In putting together this infographic (I have a larger version of the image if anyone wants it) it struck me that nearly all of the Monsanto endeavors I chose to highlight here rode the same wave of public opinion. In regards to nuclear weapons, DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, and aspartame, the talking point was that each was beneficial to America/Americans. But time (life’s best teacher) taught us that these were all highly toxic and deadly endeavors with the same two outcomes:
- people got sick/died and
- Monsanto got rich.
I am confident that GMOs will (eventually) follow suit.
The company’s toxic and deadly past is enough to make any Monsanto supporter turn coat. Yet it’s the case of the PCB cover up in Anniston, Alabama that highlights their lowlights and scares me most:
(excerpt from SourceWatch “Monsanto’s Global Pollution Legacy”)
“In 1966, Monsanto managers discovered that fish submerged in a creek (in Anniston, Alabama) turned belly-up within 10 seconds, spurting blood and shedding skin as if dunked into boiling water. They told no one. In 1969, they found fish in another creek with 7,500 times the legal PCB levels. They decided ‘there is little object in going to expensive extremes in limiting discharges.'”
“Sylvester Harris, 63, an undertaker who lived across the street from the plant, said he always thought he was burying too many young children. ‘I knew something was wrong around here,’ he said.”
There was a 1969 Monsanto directive to “a committee the company formed to address controversies about PCBs.” It was to have “only two formal objectives: ‘Permit continued sales and profits’ and ‘protect image of . . . the corporation.'” “We can’t afford to lose one dollar of business.”
The next year, Monsanto secretly agreed that “any written effluent level reports [on PCBs] would be held confidential by the Technical Staff and would not be available to the public until or unless Monsanto released it”. And that was apparently the final word because nothing changed for decades. According to a Washington Post article (2002), the public did not become fully aware of the problem until 1993 when, “after a local angler caught deformed largemouth bass [in a local creek] … the first advisories against eating fish from the area” were issued. This was “27 years after Monsanto learned about those bluegills sliding out of their skins”.
Monsanto’s PCB monopoly had been netting them $22 million dollars a year.
More info on Monsanto’s past, present, and future (sources for the infographic)
From Sierra Club: CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE (Monsanto’s PCB cover up)
From PublicIntegrity.org: The Superfund document (pdf) sited in the infographic
From Cornucopia Institute: Take action to safeguard organic standards
…Oh, I almost forgot this from Grist: (Monsanto’s) Roundup weed killer is showing up in air and water
Awesome! No weeds in my lungs, EVER!
Keep up to date with all the most interesting green news on the planet by subscribing to our (free) Planetsave newsletter.