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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why Not to Trust Monsanto

Why Not to Trust Monsanto
© 2012 Josh Sager – SarcasticLiberal.blogspot.com
Open to publishing with attribution, but not alteration

All Credit for Graphic to Rasa13
The Monsanto Corporation is one of the largest pesticide and biotechnical corporation in the entire world; their products are used in most sectors of agriculture and can likely be found in most markets across the United States.  Monsanto is a multi-billion dollar company with a diverse product base and is among the largest producers of genetically engineered crops. As a company, Monsanto promises to be the creator of new, safer, pesticides as well as stronger bio-engineered crops. Unfortunately, the reality of what Monsanto will deliver to the world is likely very different from what they promise, or what we, as a society, desire.

Monsanto has produced many products, from new types of pesticide to genetically engineered crops, and has been the center of several severe controversies. In numerous cases, the Monsanto Corporation produced and marketed products which they knew to be potentially toxic, yet gained a profit from selling. While not illegal, largely due to their massive lobbying efforts reducing safety standards (Follow this link for the OpenSecrets.org report on Monsanto lobbying), the sale of toxic chemicals for a corporate profit is both highly immoral and very relevant to those in society who wish to assess the use of Monsanto products. Put plainly: Monsanto’s history of selling poison, labeled as a useful product, casts doubt on whether any product that they sell should be trusted (even if they claim it to be entirely safe, they have lied before).

During its early years, Monsanto was a major producer of PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyl) to be used in various industrial applications. Monsanto was the primary North American supplier of PCBs from the 1930 to the late 1970s, when these chemicals were banned for their highly toxic nature. PCBs, while very stable and good at acting as a liquid insulator, are extremely toxic to virtually all forms of life – they are carcinogenic, highly toxic, and corrosive upon contact with skin or mucus membranes. Even with the mounting evidence of the toxicity of PCBs, Monsanto continued to produce them up until they were forced to stop by the government banning their production.

The Monsanto Corporation has a long and sometimes unfortunate history of creating new and powerful pesticides. The infamous “Agent Orange”, used in Vietnam to destroy jungles, and the powerful pesticide DDT were two of the primary pesticides produced by Monsanto during its early years. While Agent Orange and DDT are now outlawed due to the massive damage they cause human life as well as the environment, Monsanto continued producing them for as long as the law allowed. The gigantic costs to human health and to the environment caused by the sale of Monsanto pesticides, even once they were deemed too dangerous for use, resulted in many ruined lives and destroyed ecosystems for society but huge profits for Monsanto.

A large portion of Monsanto’s business is currently in the field of “genetically modified organisms” (otherwise known as GMOs); this simply means that they alter the genetic structures of crops in order to (hopefully) make them more resistant to disease, easier to grow, higher yield, or less susceptible to predation by pests. Unfortunately, GMOs are often plagued by unintended consequences and side effects of genetic modification which make them risky for human consumption. Monsanto has been embroiled in several serious controversies surrounding the safety of their GMO products – namely GE corn and recombinant bovine growth hormone – yet they have consistently continued to sell their goods. 

Just recently, a study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences seems to indicate a link between the consumption of Monsanto genetically engineered corn and organ damage (primarily in the liver and kidneys). This damage is consistent with the genetically engineered pesticide utilized by the corn, and seems to refute Monsanto’s claim that the pesticide will degrade long before it is consumed. Despite evidence that Monsanto’s GM corn may cause organ damage in its consumers, they have refused to recall their products. The refusal to recall their potentially toxic corn, in combination with their history of damaging their consumers for a profit, shed considerable doubt upon their care for the health of those who consume their goods.

Monsanto’s corporate behavior, both historically and currently, demonstrates a prioritization of profits over the safety of their consumers. It is evident that Monsanto will sell products, regardless of whether they may be toxic, for as long as they are legally able to sell them. Not only does Monsanto have a pattern of selling toxic goods, but they lobby to prevent these goods from becoming illegal (even after determining their toxicity), thus compounding the harm that they cause society.

Monsanto may very well make some quality products but, given their pattern of negligence, there is no reason for the public to believe them when they promote their goods. The Monsanto Corporation has proven numerous times that it will sell poison for a personal profit, regardless of the harm which their products inflict upon society; in the absence of regulators sanctioning Monsanto for its negligence, it is up to the public to stand up to Monsanto and call them out for their bad acts.

The next time you hear the name Monsanto in relation to a good which you are thinking of buying, please reconsider your purchase. It is entirely possible that the food is safe, or even of higher quality than other food, but there is also the very real likelihood that this food will damage your body. Why gamble with your, or your family’s, health when there are so many other alternatives to the potentially toxic goods of Monsanto?

1 comment:

  1. Right on, excellent article. Monsanto sucks.