Monsanto’s history is one steeped with controversial products, deadly consequences, massive cover ups, political slight of hand, and culminates as a modern day plague on humanity, a plague that is about to peak to biblical proportions. Created in 1901, the company started producing its first form of poison, the artificial sweetener saccharin. The rise in use of saccharin really began 70 years later. Monsanto had plenty of time for a realistic and long term study on the impact of saccharin on human health. Instead, Monsanto learned how to finagle political support and grow its empire despite the growing consensus that saccharin caused cancer.
No surprise then that the company continued on a path of controversy. Here’s a bullet point history.
• Contributed to the research on uranium, for the Manhattan Project, during WWII.
• Operated a nuclear facility for the U.S. government until the late 1980s.
• Top manufacturer of synthetic fibers, plastics and polystyrene (EPA’s 5th ranked chemical production that generates the most hazardous waste).
• A top 10 US chemical company.
• Agriculture pesticides producer.
• Herbicide producer – herbicides 2,4,5-T, Agent Orange, Lasso, and DDT.
• Agent Orange (used in Vietnam), had the highest levels of dioxin and contaminated more than 3 million civilians and servicemen of which only partial compensation awarded.
• Nearly 500,000 Vietnamese children were born deformed and never compensated.
• Lasso was banned in USA, so weed killer “Roundup” is launched in 1976.
• A major producer of both dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which generated many law suits and environmental cleanups
• $180 million settlement for Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange
• Fined $1.2 million for concealing the discharge of contaminated waste water
• Ordered to pay $41.1 million due to hazardous waste dumping
• Paid $600 million in settlement claims to more than 20,000 Anniston residents in Abernathy v. United States.
• Produced GM cattle drug, bovine growth hormone (called rBGH or rBST)
• Acquiring seed companies from the 1990’s and forward.
• Monsanto Filed 144 lawsuits against struggling farmers and settled out of court with 700 farmers, for reportedly violating seed patents. A full time staff of 75 Monsanto employees investigates patent infringement. They are dedicated solely to finding farms that have been contaminated by their unwanted seed. As of 2007, Monsanto was awarded in 57 recorded judgments against farmers a total of $21,583,431.99. Monsanto vs. Farmers.