Just a slap on the wrist

(This is a re-post from last August.)

For decades, Monsanto had been polluting a creek in the town of Anniston, Alabama.

On the west side of Anniston, the poor side of Anniston, the people ate dirt. They called it “Alabama clay” and cooked it for extra flavor. They also grew berries in their gardens, raised hogs in their back yards, caught bass in the murky streams where their children swam and played and were baptized. They didn’t know their dirt and yards and bass and kids — along with the acrid air they breathed — were all contaminated with chemicals. They didn’t know they lived in one of the most polluted patches of America.”

“Today, parts of Anniston are so contaminated that residents have been told not to grow vegetables in the soil, kick up dirt, eat food, chew gum or smoke cigarettes while working in their yards. ‘Our children have to play in the streets, on the sidewalks, because they can’t play in the grass because it’s contaminated,’ says resident David Baker. ‘We have to wear masks if we cut our grass. Where else in the United States of America are people doing that?'”

“In my judgment, there’s no question this is the most contaminated site in the U.S.,” says Dr. David Carpenter, a professor of environmental health at the State University of New York in Albany. [10].

(source Wikipedia)

Besides dumping PCBs into the streams, Monsanto has also dumped mercury and lead down the Company’s sewer drains which eventually made its way to the sewage treatment plant.

In 2002, a jury found Monsanto guilty of polluting for decades in the Anniston area. This opened up the opportunity for further lawsuits.

Monsanto was found negligent because back in 1966, Monsanto managers discovered that fish turned belly within 10 seconds, spurting blood from their mouths and shedding their skin as if they were dropped in boiling water. Instead of reporting this information, Monsanto decided to keep it secret and the residents of Anniston continued to fish and swim in this toxic soup which was once a pristine stream. Monsanto hid decades of pollution.

As posted in Mindfully.org, (if you have the time, read the entire article)

They also know that for nearly 40 years, while producing the now-banned industrial coolants known as PCBs at a local factory, Monsanto Co. routinely discharged toxic waste into a west Anniston creek and dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into oozing open-pit landfills. And thousands of pages of Monsanto documents — many emblazoned with warnings such as “CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy” — show that for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew.

Monsanto has been dumping PCBs for over 40 years and creating “super fund” sites and we, the taxpayers, are stuck with the clean-up bill.

How long have we known about the toxicity of PCBs?

In early 1967, a group of Swedish scientists demonstrated publicly that PCBs were a threat to the global environment. The Swedes identified traces of PCBs throughout the food chain: in fish, birds, pine needles, even their children’s hair. They proved that PCBs are persistent — which, as one lawyer drawled in court last spring, “is nothing but a fancy word for ‘won’t go away.’ ” But Monsanto’s primary response was to prepare for a media war.

Monsanto has no scruples and continues to provide products that are risky to our health.

Additional reading:

http://www.greenleft.org.au/1997/292/15855

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