The giant U.S. agribusiness Monsanto was found guilty on Monday Feb. 13, after being sued by a small farmer from Charente who had been poisoned by a herbicide. This event is a first in France. On the scale of the history of the one-hundred-year-old multinational, this sentence constitutes just one more episode in an already long record of court procedures.
PCBs, Agent Orange, dioxin, GMO, Aspartame, growth hormones, herbicides (Lasso and Roundup) … a number of products that have made the fortune of Monsanto, have been marred by health scandals and trials sometimes leading to their prohibition. But nothing has so far hindered the irresistible rise of this former chemical giant who converted back to biogenetics and has mastered the art of lobbying. Portrait of a multinational multi-recidivist.
A chemical giant …explosive
Since its creation in 1901 in St. Louis, the small producer of saccharin that became one of the leading seed producers on the planet, has continued to make headlines. After the Second World War, the accidental explosion of a Monsanto plastics factory caused by a French freighter loaded with nitrate, which caused 500 deaths in Texas City in 1947, has remained in history as one of the first disasters of the chemical industry.
PCBs: the trial of shame
In 2001, 3,600 inhabitants of the city of Anniston, Alabama, attacked Monsanto for PCB contamination. According to a report, declassified by the U.S. Agency of Environmental Protection (EPA), Monsanto for almost forty years dumped thousands of tons of contaminated waste in a stream and an open garbage dump in the heart of a black neighborhood in the city.
Agent Orange: convinced of “poisoning”
During these same years, between 1961 and 1971, Monsanto produced Agent Orange, made up from the herbicide 2,4,5-T, whose dangerousness has been widely known ever since the explosion of the Nitro plant. This defoliant was massively dumped by U.S. aircraft over Vietnamese forests during the war. The consequences are still felt today, with many cancers and birth defects occurring in Vietnam, as well as various effects felt by many U.S. veterans.
In the 1970s, the Vietnam veterans opened a class action against the manufacturers of Agent Orange. Monsanto, alongside six other companies, was found to be the major guilty party in a lawsuit concerning damages for poisoning. In 1987, the seven manufacturers of Agent Orange were sentenced to pay $ 180 million to a compensation fund to U.S. soldiers.
During the trial, Monsanto presented scientific studies showing no link between exposure to dioxin and the cancers suffered by many veterans, in order to dismiss their action. It was demonstrated in the early 1990s that the studies based on the consequences of the explosion at the Nitro plant in 1949 were biased.
This scientific fraud is confirmed by the National Research Council, which found that Monsanto’s studies “suffer from misclassification between those exposed and not exposed to dioxin, and that this scientific fraud is confirmed by the National Research Council, and that they were biased in order to obtain the desired effect. “The case will be brought up again in 1990 by Greenpeace and the researcher Joe Thornton in a report entitled Science for Sale.
Read The Entire Article for more on Is Roundup herbicide toxic?, Herbicide Lasso : off sale, Growth Hormones: scandal on Fox News, GMO: Law suits galore, Aspartame health scandal,