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Sci Tech

Monsanto, a half-century of health scandals

By Soren Seelow, Le Monde  Posted by Siv O'Neall (about the submitter)     Permalink       (Page 2 of 3 pages)
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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.

    Is Roundup herbicide toxic?

Do you remember the advertising and the good dog Rex: "Roundup does not pollute either the earth or Rex' bones." It caused Monsanto to be convicted twice, in the United States and France, for false statements placed on the packaging of the total herbicide (which eliminates all plants).

In 1975, the company launched Roundup, a very powerful herbicide presented as "biodegradable" and "good for the environment" . In 1996, the New York prosecutor condemned Monsanto which was fined 50,000 dollars and forced to withdraw statements deemed misleading. In January 2007, the firm was condemned in France for the same reasons ... 15,000 euros in fines. Roundup is today the world's best selling herbicide.


Several corroborating studies say however that the pesticide which is Monsanto's flagship - and its active ingredient, glyphosate - is potentially teratogenic, that is to say responsible for fetal malformations. One of them, published late 2010 in Chemical Research in Toxicology, shows that direct exposure of amphibian embryos at very low doses of glyphosate herbicide results in malformations.

Monsanto refutes these conclusions: "Glyphosate has no harmful effects on reproduction in adult animals and does not cause malformations in the offspring of animals exposed to glyphosate, even at very high doses," the firm says on its website.

Monday, February 13, the rapporteur of the Supreme Court has dealt another blow to Monsanto's flagship product: he directed the Ministry of Agriculture to analyze the toxicity within six months and decide once again whether the marketing of the pesticide should be authorized.

>> News: In Argentina, people exposed to the herbicide complain of multiple health problems.

    Herbicide Lasso : off sale

The sentence that struck Monsanto's second herbicide on Monday 13 February is more significant. French judges have in effect held that the manufacturer of crop protection products must "fully" indemnify the plaintiff, Paul Francis. This farmer is now working only part-time, suffering from chronic fatigue and persistent headaches. Doctors consider his central nervous system was affected as a result of inhalation of Lasso.

Monsanto appealed. "Monsanto's products comply with safety requirements in place at the time of the placing on the market. [The company] has a very strict policy regarding the scientific assessment of safety of plant protection products", the company responded in a statement. Still considered dangerous, this herbicide has however been banned in Canada since 1985, in Belgium and the UK since 1992 and in France since 2007 (it was authorized on December 31, 1968).

    Growth Hormones: scandal on Fox News

In early 1990, Monsanto launched their first product derived from biotechnology: Posilac, the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), genetically engineered hormone designed to increase the production of milk in cows by nearly 20%. This hormone leads to mastitis, inflammation of the udder, which forces farmers to treat their cows with antibiotics, which one then finds traces of in the milk. This miracle product is now banned everywhere except in the United States. (emphasis added)

A Canadian documentary, The Corporation, talks about how Monsanto pressured Fox News (Murdoch) to prevent it from disseminating a survey revealing the dangers of Posilac in 1997. This excerpt illustrates the particularly aggressive lobbying this company has been paying for: not only was the investigation never released, but its authors were dismissed by Fox News.

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Monsanto is one of the major genocidal corporate m... by Stephen Fox on Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 at 8:39:33 PM
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. Th... by Tom James on Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 at 10:24:46 PM
Round-up is what may well ruin the plants and ecos... by Siv O'Neall on Monday, Mar 26, 2012 at 7:24:14 AM
Thanks Stephen Fox. That was hard work, but I'd do... by Siv O'Neall on Monday, Mar 26, 2012 at 2:46:17 AM
I'm pleased to read in the article of the dumping ... by Len Aldis on Monday, Mar 26, 2012 at 4:41:31 AM
I bought three packets of Tang, instant iced tea d... by molly cruz on Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 9:00:34 PM
I'm aghast by what's happened to you, Molly. Is th... by Siv O'Neall on Monday, Apr 2, 2012 at 2:44:32 AM
Chemicals that mimic hormones interfere a... by Dr. Hans J. Kugler, PhD on Sunday, Apr 1, 2012 at 5:09:27 PM
Re. previous posting MONSANTOIf you weren't able t... by Dr. Hans J. Kugler, PhD on Sunday, Apr 1, 2012 at 5:56:53 PM
I will go to the sites indicated by you right away... by Siv O'Neall on Monday, Apr 2, 2012 at 2:36:47 AM