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April 01, 2006
Doing research

In a casual, internet-research kind of way, and after this morning's Agent Orange story, I thought maybe I could encapsulate a brief history of Dow and Monsanto, the brilliant specimens of corporatehood who brought us that particular distilled poison in a can.

As you might expect, it's all too complicated to summarize.

I didfind this story of an Agent Orange dump found under a New Zealand town.

Dow, of course, is famous in recent years for the antics of now-subsidiary Union Carbide and that corporation's involvement in a massive chemical spill in India 21 years ago, not to mention Union Carbide's asbestos problems.

One does have to wonder why any rational corporation, if that's isn't an oxymoron, would acquire such a problem-riddled entity? Union Carbide has a rather chequered past, but so do both corporations.

Hiroshima, vinyl chloride, dioxin (Agent Orange), faulty breast implants, illegal re-exportation of triethanolamine (a potential WMD ingredient), asbestos, radiation poisoning of employees, and on and on.

I take it back. These two deserve each other.

So, what about Monsanto? Besides the Manhattan Project connection, I mean.

"In 1967, Monsanto entered into a joint venture with IG Farben" "It is the German chemical firm that was the financial core of the Hitler regime, and was the main supplier of Zyklon-B to the German government during the extermination phase of the Holocaust"

They say you're known by the company you keep, right?

PCB's of course. Round-Up Ready seeds...the ones that become sterile in Season Two, so that farmers are forced to go back to the company again and again and again to keep buying seeds. (I don't know about the rest of you, but I won't ever become comfortable with the idea of plants engineered not to reproduce. What kind of capitalistic insanity turns that loose on an ecosystem?)

And how about those Terminator seeds? Yep. Monsanto.

"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.'s job" - Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications. "Playing God in the Garden" New York Times Magazine, October 25, 1998.

I dunno. At this point, Agent Orange seems like less of a disaster than happened than part of a pattern, you know?

Posted by AnneZook at 07:42 PM