Humans have thought themselves so clever when using their brains for scientific endeavour. Indeed, we marvel at what chemical inventions have taken place, creating products which were meant for human consumption without any thought that they might be harmful. The companies always conveyed to us a belief in their positive contribution to humanity.
Let us briefly study the timeline through history of inventions which took place during the industrial revolution when we believed we were capitalising on being the brightest creatures on earth. Certainly that word ‘capitalising’ is the right word to apply. For generating income for company profits was now a legal obligation since the law would treat a company as a ‘person’ with human and civil rights after the law abolishing slavery.
Monsanto and Bayer
We will go back a century to industries in the USA. Let us look at a familiar name to us all. Monsanto.
John Francis Queeny, a thirty-year pharmaceutical pro. The company, Monsanto Chemical Works, was named after his beautiful wife, Olga Mendez Monsanto. Founded in 1901, Monsanto’s first chemical invention was saccharin, an artificial sweetener. Incorporating saccharin into their beverage formulas, Coca-Cola was the first company to jump on board with Monsanto’s toxic influence. The U.S. government had evidence of saccharin’s toxicity and even ventured to sue Monsanto, but the government lost. This only emboldened Monsanto for many years to come.………………….
Monsanto scientists knew about PCB toxicity in the beginning, but saw a great global business opportunity nonetheless. PCBs are oils that don’t burn nor degrade and therefore can be used as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, cutting oils, waterproof coatings and liquid sealants. Approximately 50 years after PCBs hit the market, prosecutors had enough evidence to show that Monsanto hid PCB toxicity from the public. PCBs cause reproductive, developmental, and immune system disorders. Today PCBs are banned but they can still be detected in animal and human blood tissue around the world.
In the 1940s the corporation was conscripted by the government to enrich uranium and work for the Manhattan Project. Monsanto had its hands on the world’s most nefarious invention, the first atomic bomb, which was ultimately used to burn the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki into shadows on the concrete.
Monsanto was also the brainchild behind the insecticide DDT, used from 1944 to 1957. In those days, benign childhood infections such as polio became serious nervous system disorders in large part because DDT was liberally sprayed throughout communities and directly on children to combat mosquitoes. DDT not only was banned because it destroyed ecology, but it also imposed serious immune system issues in humans. Dr. Morton S. Biskind’s brave scientific work showed how DDT destroyed the central nervous system, causing damage to the cerebellum and spinal cord.
DDT to Roundup
In the 1940s, Monsanto began manufacturing dioxins. Their marketing team concealed dioxin’s presence in several mass-produced products. Pesticides that contained dioxins poisoned both the food and the water supply for years, creating a geno-toxic nightmare for humans. Dioxin was a concealed ingredient in Agent Orange, the chemical that was sold to the government and used on soldiers in Vietnam. The courts initially sided with Monsanto’s research on dioxin, but it was later revealed to be an effective, deadly poison. Legislation to prevent dioxins from being dumped in the water supply ultimately failed in the 1990s. Monsanto survived countless lawsuits proving that dioxins cause disease in plant workers. Hundreds of thousands of birth defects are the result of Monsanto’s dioxins: $100 million settlements became routine for Monsanto. Flush with billions of dollars in profit, these settlements are just the cost of doing business for Monsanto.
See 50 years on continuing suffering as a result of Agent Orange harm.
Read of the victims today in Vietnam.
Today, it’s only fitting that Monsanto has merged with Bayer, a company that manufactured and sold the chemicals that were used to kill Jews in Nazi Germany. Bayer, along with BASF and Hoechst, originally merged as IG Farben and contributed heavily to Adolf Hitler. In return, Hitler relied on the chemical manufacturers to create Zyklon B, a chemical weapon used in Auschwitz and other concentration camps to exterminate the Jews who were too old, too small, or too weak to work. The Monsanto-Bayer merger provides perpetual funds to settle upcoming cases on glyphosate.
To protect their image and appeal to the next generation, Monsanto partnered with Walt Disney Company in the 1960s and constructed several attractions at Disney’s Tomorrowland. Praising chemicals and plastic, Monsanto introduced the world to some of the most non-biodegradable, hormone-disrupting plastic fibers ever to be invented. Made of indestructible plastic fibers, the “House of the Future” was viewed by 20 million people in a ten year span at Disney, but it eventually had to be torn down piece by piece with choker cables because Monsanto lied about the plastic’s degradability and toxicity. Monsanto would go on to mass produce styrene, introducing yet another hormone-disrupting chemical to humans and the environment.
When a company is finally seen for what it is, it will do a brand change. However, in this case Monsanto and Bayer simply use the brand Bayer as if that name doesn’t have similar negative connotations. As long as the profits roll in and maybe Bill Gates adds his name to their promotional strapline of ‘Feeding the World’ as their global reach extends daily.
Maybe the fact that Bayer are famous for providing us with Aspirin is enough to gain good PR traction.
An article suggests:
Monsanto’s takeover by Bayer could create a GMO juggernaut too powerful for Europe to resist, while conveniently “disappearing” a tarnished brand, critics say. Concerns abound over concentration in the seed market.
Do we really need to see more harm, such as headlines like this?:
Bayer and NFU battling to overturn neonicotinoids ban
………...The ban covered the use of three active ingredients, Bayer’s imidacloprid and clothianidin and Syngenta’s thiamethoxam, for use on flowering crops considered attractive to bees, such as oilseed rape, maize and sunflowers.
………...In May 2018, Bayer and Syngenta launched a legal challenge against the ban, but the EU General Court threw out the challenge and ruled that the commission had correctly applied its “precautionary principle”, which “gives precedence to the requirements relating to the protection of public health, safety and the environment over economic interest”.
PFOA and DuPont
Then we have DuPont, the chemical giant which dominated employment for West Virginians, they gave us PFOA.
There is a very sad story retold in a recent movie ‘Dark Waters’. The story dramatizes Robert Bilott’s case against the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont after they contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals.
I urge you to buy this book by Robert Bilott. We do not have enough strong characters like this man to help us fight mighty corporates when they do immense harm to our world. Here is an extract from the beginning of the book:
Earl had sought help, but no one would step up. After contacting the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, he felt stonewalled. The state vet wouldn’t even come out to the farm. He knew the folks at the DNR, because they gave him a special permit to hunt on his land out of season. But now it seemed they were ignoring him.
“It don’t do you any good to go to the DNR about it. They just turn their back and walk on,” he told the camera. “But you just give me time. I’ll do something about it.”
Thing was, time was running out. It wasn’t just his cattle dying. Deer, birds, fish and other wildlife were turning up dead in and around Dry Run. He had stopped feeding his family venison from the deer he shot on his land. Their innards smelled funny and were sometimes riddled with what looked to him like tumors. The carcasses lay where they fell. Not even buzzards and scavengers would eat them.
Hunting had been one of Earl’s greatest pleasures. He had carried a rifle as he went about the farm, always ready to shoot dinner. He was an excellent marksman, and his family had always had enough meat to eat. His freezer had brimmed with venison, wild turkey, squirrel and rabbit.
Now it was filled with specimens you might find in a pathology lab.
Many of us do not get worried until we see other humans suffering a disproportionate amount of cancers in our community.
But when we humans suffer, as well as animals, we get increasingly concerned. We trusted those who provided our water. If there was a danger in our environment, we trusted those whose job it was to monitor health risks, to do their job and protect us. We expected the law to back up those protections with stringent and tightly adhered to processes.
But deregulation, corporate profit before people, has reduced that trust over time until we now know we are all dying of preventable illnesses caused by our own human actions to poison our Planet.
Here is another extract from Bilott’s book:
.……”the friend mentioned that her granddaughter, five or six years old, was having problems with her teeth. They were turning black, and no one knew why.
A week after that, Joe learned that a friend across town had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Wasn’t that a rare kind of cancer? Then he learned that his next-door neighbour, a young woman who was also a teacher, was fighting another type of cancer. Come to think of it,cancer had been making its way through the neighbourhood dogs. The folks across the street had recently found both their dogs riddled with tumours. Coincidence? Joe Kiger thought about that letter in with the water bill. It had said something about chemicals in their drinking water.”
Wildlife are the ‘canary in the mine’
Wildlife and animal livestock should be a major prior concern, if we recognise their suffering as a signal to us to act, not prevaricate, but ACT DECISIVELY. Locate the cause, close down the offender, and do not allow lobbying, corporate influence or social media lies to allow them to continue to put the Planet in danger.
Here is a useful article which discusses cancer in animals:
Cancer seems to affect all animals, from anteaters to zebras. Much less is known about the cancers that affect wild animals, in part because it is hard to study. Animals move around and may not be easily observed for long periods of time. The cancers that have been studied are very interesting and will certainly prove useful in the study of human cancer. As an example, Tasmanian devils have a type of cancer that can be spread from animal to animal by biting!
- Dinosaur cancer
- Tasmanian Devil cancer
- Cancer in wild fish
- Naked mole rats
- Clam cancer
- Tapeworm cancer (in human host)
But we humans and many animals have been poisoned by man made chemicals. 99% of us have levels of PFOA in our blood. We are all victims of a toxin which has pervaded our environment and it is only now, after 60 odd years of suspecting it might be harmful, do we begin to find tools to analyse the harm it has done to all living things.
What is PFOA, you ask? Answer: Perfluorooctanoic acid. Is is known coloquially as C8.
It is an industrial surfactant in chemical processes and as a material feedstock, and is a health concern and subject to regulatory action and voluntary phase-outs
It is cancer inducing
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), Teflon, and Related Chemicals
What are Teflon and PFOA? Where are they found?
Teflon® is a brand name used for a group of man-made chemicals, the most common of which is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE has been in commercial use since the 1940s. It has a wide variety of uses because it is extremely stable (it doesn’t react with other chemicals) and can provide an almost frictionless surface. Most people are familiar with it as a non-stick coating surface for pans and other cookware. It is also used in many other products, such as fabric protectors.
Teflon was invented by DuPont.
Here is an article about Teflon and consequent poisoning of consumers.
One of the key ingredients in DuPont’s Teflon was C8, a toxic, man-made chemical created by Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, better known as 3M, to make Scotchgard. The chemical, also known as PFOS or PFOA, is what gave Teflon its non-stick properties.
Both 3M and DuPont were well aware of the health hazards associated with C8. But that didn’t stop DuPont from dumping the toxic chemical into local waterways, where it made its way into public drinking water and subsequently sickened thousands of people, and ultimately killing many of them.
You could watch this YouTube about this notorious and heinous crime here.
Efforts are at last being made to reduce our reliance on oil based industrial applications. See this research paper.
In the modern world, dependency on petroleum-based polymers has extensively increased over the years. Synthetic polymers like polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), nylon, polyester (PS), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), and epoxy (commonly known as plastic) are derived from petroleum hydrocarbons . These polymers are an incredibly versatile group of compounds—so versatile, in fact, they can be found in all sorts of unexpected places. Society uses synthetic polymers because many of them have highly desirable properties, such as strength, flexibility, resistivity, chemical inertness, and so forth [2–4].
All petroleum-based inventions have been shown to be non biodegradeable. Currently they are likely to last forever, we can only recycle them and hope one day we can end their immortality. Their harm dominates our lives, our environment, our World.
In the UK there was a massive petrochemical fire in Buncefield, Hertfordshire. The fire brigade doused the fire in a PFOS related foam. This was later found to have seeped through the ground and contaminated the water table.
In 2019, an attempt was made to ban any further use of PFOS related use. Sadly the Treaty had exemptions which make it near to meaningless.
I am not sure we have time, but we must create the infrastructure to prioritise the threat, just as we have with Covid, and only reward Corporates when they stop lying to us and prove they exist only with the safety of life on earth as their mission statement.