When you think of Monsanto, you might remember their wonderful accomplishments such as Agent Orange and GMO’s. Perhaps some of your family is no longer able to eat U.S. produced wheat or soybean products, like a slice of bread or pizza without breaking out in hives or having severe stomach pain. Thank Monsanto.
However, you can add another Monsanto chemical to the list of things to their accomplishments – PCB’s (Polychlorinated Biphenyls). According to online magazine Climate Progress “Several decades ago, Monsanto produced about 99 percent of the PCBs used in the United States. The company marketed its product under the trade name Aroclor.”
It has been widely reported that in a 1970 internal memo, Monsanto told its development committee that PCBs had been shown to be a highly toxic pollutant, and yet the company continued producing PCBs for seven more years.
San Diego is just one of 6 western cities suing Monsanto for damages for their production of PCB’s (Seattle, Spokane, Berkley, Oakland, San Diego, and San Jose). If the City of Portand decides to sue, that would make a total of 7 cities. Portland’s Harbor is now a “Superfund Site” due to elevated PCB levels which are toxic to fish and humans.
San Diego filed its lawsuit against Monsanto on March 16, 2015, stating “PCBs manufactured by Monsanto have been found in Bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life in the Bay. PCB contamination in and around the Bay affects all San Diegans and visitors who enjoy the Bay, who reasonably would be disturbed by the presence of a hazardous, banned substance in the sediment, water, and wildlife.” America’s “Finest City” has one of America’s most polluted bays. Just don’t tell the tourists. There are usually a couple of hundred people fishing off of piers located around San Diego Bay ever day who bring the fish home to feed their families.
According to the San Diego lawsuit, the risks did not deter Monsanto from trying to protect profits and prolong the use of PCB compounds such as Aroclor, as shown in a report from an ad hoc committee that Monsanto formed in 1969. The following is an excerpt from the internal Monsanto report: “There is little probability that any action that can be taken will prevent the growing incrimination of specific polychlorinated biphenyls as global environmental contaminants are leading to contamination of human food (particularly fish), the killing of some marine species (shrimp), and the possible extinction of several species of fish eating birds. Secondly, the committee believes that there is no practical course of action that can so effectively police the uses of these products as to prevent environmental contamination. There are, however a number of actions which must be undertaken to prolong the manufacture, sale and use of these particular Aroclors as well as to protect the continued use of other members of the Aroclor series.”
For those of you -besides the farmers of Kansas- who might still look up to this company as a glowing example of environmental responsibilty, it is interesting to note that there is one company -BAYER (a German company) – that is in the process of trying to acquire Monsanto. Last month, Bayer offered $62 billion USD to acquire Monsanto, that would make it the world’s largest agricultural company, and controller of your food supply. For Bayer, the Monsanto acquisition would allow Bayer to ” offer farmers an integrated supplier of pesticides and seeds. (read this as – the seeds develop their own pesticides as the plants grow.) The irony is that Bayer would not be able to sell Monsanto’s seeds in their own country nor in any EEC countries since GMO crops are banned in Europe. However, there are still places such as the U.S. where politicians are in the pocket of these large corporations, allowing them to continue to poison the public. Bayer and Monsanto as of this date are still negotiating a purchase price. (Monsanto is refusing to open their books until Bayer raises their offer price. Bayer won’t increase their offer until Monsanto shows their books. )
I prefer to take photos of happy healthy fish – outside of San Diego Bay – such as this snapper below swimming along Grand Cayman Island. The small spots you see swimming around the snapper are recently hatched fish larvae.