Wednesday, August 09, 2017

As If You Need Another Reason to Hate Monsanto

This is what happens in the neoliberal order where too much power passes into corporate hands as government surrenders its oversight and regulatory function. Nestle is despised for muscling in on scarce groundwater reserves, plundering water for pennies that it puts in plastic bottles and flogs on store shelves for several dollars. Exxon suppressing its own research linking fossil energy and global warming for more than a decade as it worked to defeat environmentalists. Monsanto, okay RoundUp, enough said? Hardly.

There's new evidence that Monsanto produced and distributed industrial chemicals laced with PCBs eight years after it learned of its hazards.

Monsanto continued to produce and sell toxic industrial chemicals known as PCBs for eight years after learning that they posed hazards to public health and the environment, according to legal analysis of documents put online in a vast searchable archive.

More than 20,000 internal memos, minuted meetings, letters and other documents have been published in the new archive, many for the first time.

Most were obtained from legal discovery and access to documents requests by the Poison Papers Project, which incorporates the Bioscience Resource Project, the Center for Media and Democracy and Chiron Return.

Bill Sherman, the assistant attorney general for the US state of Washington – which is suing Monsanto for PCB clean-up costs potentially worth billions of dollars – said the archive contained damning evidence the state had previously been unaware of.

[O]ne Monsanto pollution abatement plan in the archive from October 1969 suggests that Monsanto was even then aware of the risks posed by PCB use.

In a section on “damage to the ecological system by contamination from PCBs,” it said: “The evidence proving the persistence of these compounds and their universal presence in the environment is beyond questioning.”

“Direct lawsuits are possible” it continued, because “customers using the products have not been officially notified about known effects nor [do] our labels carry this information.”

The plan offered three courses of action, each accompanied by “profit and liability” flow charts. The options were: “Do nothing”, “discontinue manufacture of all PCBs” or “respond responsibly,” admitting environmental contaminations, and taking remedial action.

Sherman said: “At the same time that Monsanto was telling the public that that PCBs were safe, they were literally graphing their potential legal liability against the lost profits and public image boost that might accompany being responsible and honest. At the end of the day, Monsanto went for the profits instead of for public health and environmental safety.

Another internal memo from September 1969 lists PCB leakages in the Gulf Coast, Great Lakes and San Francisco Bay areas and outlines potential cleanup actions. But the memo also says Monsanto’s strategy should be to “let govt prove its case on a case by case basis”.

Bad as this looks for Monsanto the real culprits are governments that fail to protect their people from companies like Monsanto and Nestle and Exxon and so many others that prey on the public for profit. That includes most of our governments in Canada - Liberal, Conservative or New Democrat (yes, Rachel, you too). Their embrace of free market capitalism, Every Day Low Taxes, and deregulation has moved them from being on our side to being on the side of corporatism. That goes for Trudeau as it did for Harper. Enough.


Anonymous said...

Anyong......Can you guess what Monsanto is doing in Mexico?

The Mound of Sound said...

I'd rather not. When I read this Washington business my mind went to the experience of Ford and the exploding Pinto gas tank. I sure hope Monsanto winds up before a jury.

Gyor said...

Charges should be laid against whoever was in charge.

Gyor said...

Charges should be laid against whoever was in charge.