On December 8th 2016, the State of Washington's Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit against Monsanto for contaminating rivers, land, air, people and wildlife. 120 bodies of water in Washington were named as suffering from PCB contamination. This recklessness by Monsanto comes as no surprise and is a glimpse as what to expect if the Bayer Monsanto merger is completed.
From Bayer's systematic killing of and forced-testing on people in Nazi Germany, to their preventable spread of HIV to thousands, and Monsanto’s deadly development of Agent Orange, PCBs and dioxin, this merger would mark a dangerous new precedent for the biotechnology/biochemical industry if approved.
Together, these two corporations have been responsible for the suffering, torture and deaths of millions. Communities, organizations, small farmers and social movements are working to resist these corporations, and have made a resounding rejection of their merger.
Bayer, Monsanto, Heroin and PCBs--the early years
Bayer, based in Germany, became famous for producing the headache-relieving drug Aspirin in 1899. In 1897, heroin also gained traction with the public, as Bayer was the first to commercially manufacture it. Bayer coined it “Heroin” for the "Heroic" effects upon its first volunteers – Bayer's very own factory workers. Bayer marketed Heroin as a drinkable health tonic and a remedy for coughing fits. Today, heroin is a key player in the drug abuse epidemic (1).
The first well-documented incident of Monsanto’s disregard for human health originated with the manufacturing of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In 1935, Monsanto purchased the Swann company to sell PCBs used to make coolant fluids and as components for electrical transformers and motors. Monsanto contracted licenses to manufacture PCBs in the US and internationally, including to Bayer in Germany. In 1979, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the manufacture of PCBs, ruling that they caused cancer in humans and animals.