I don't normally create my own threads, unless I feel they are relevant and have not been covered nor become aware to the majority of ATS Members.
During the last year or so, I have become extremely interested in GMO's and their legality. This research has led to me to the conclusion that, as is
popular opinion, Monsanto Corporation is indeed evil to the bone. This all started with my watching of Food, Inc. and The World According to Monsanto,
which to my surprise, is available for free on YouTube.
The World According to Monsanto
Now. Onto my main topic. During my research into Monsanto, I became aware of a true Environmental Crisis that in my personal opinion, dwarfs the BP
Anniston and Monsanto (Solutia)
Anniston, Alabama. Ever heard of it? Probably not unless you are from the Southeast. A town of a little over 23,000 people in Central Alabama, it is
situated about halfway between Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.
Anniston's main claim to fame were its massive military presence at Fort Mcclellan, which also happened to include the Anniston Chemical Activity.
The Army has stored approximately seven percent of the nation’s original chemical weapons stockpile at the Anniston Army Depot since the early
1960s. In August 2003, the Army began disposing of these weapons at the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. By July 2010, it has destroyed by
incineration 75% of the depot's total stockpile including all 437 tons (397 metric tons) of GB (sarin) and all VX nerve agent on site.
In addition to the Army, Anniston also had a large chemical production plant owned by none other than Solutia (a spin off of Monsanto).
The Site is not listed on the NPL, but is considered to be a NPL-caliber site. Solutia Inc.'s Anniston plant encompasses approximately 70 acres of
land and is located about 1 mile west of downtown Anniston, Alabama.
Opened in 1929, under control of the Swann Chemical Plant Co. the facility was the first site in the world to begin producing PCB's for use in
Industrial coolants. In 1935, Monsanto Corporation bought the plant, and continued producing PCB's at that plant, and another in Illinois, until
1977. Just two years prior to its banning by the Federal Government.
The plant produced massive amounts of fluids for use in capacitors, transformer oils, heat transfer fluids in closed systems, plasticizers, hydraulic
fluid, adhesives, and in carbon paper. All of these materials are essentially the main sources of PCB's in the environment today.
No one is sure just how many pounds of PCB's the plant leaked into the environment during the 37 years it was in operation. A Monsanto report from
reported that the plant was:
What does this mean for Anniston?
From the background data presented it appears that something of the order of 80 million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) are produced
So what exactly does the production of 80 million pounds of PCB's mean for the environment? Well, nothing, besides the fact that since the early
1960's it has been a proven chemical that is detrimental to both human and environmental health. Unfortunately for Anniston, Alabama, Monsanto choose
to hide the fact that it was dumping unknown amounts of these chemicals into the local watershed.
In 1969, the Anniston plant was discharging about 250 pounds of PCBs into Snow Creek a day, according to an internal memo marked "CONFIDENTIAL-F.Y.I.
250 pounds per day? Well, that's not THAT bad. Right? Oh, well it gets worse.
"On Thursday (November 6, 1969) the line on the bottom of the #3 Aroclor still receiver failed which resulted in the loss of approximately 1,500
gallons of Aroclor 1242 to the acid sewer. To date we have only been able to recover approximately 350 gallons of this material."
So, in one day alone, Monsanto released over 1,500 gallons of Aroclor (PCB's) into the environment. But, its okay. They ended up capturing 900
gallons of it.
By the time the Government stepped in, Monsanto had completely wrecked the Anniston Ecosystem. With almost 2% of the sediment of its rivers comprised
of Aroclor, nothing would ever again be normal in Anniston.
In 1970, Monsanto investigators discovered that in many areas of the Choccolocco Creek, the mud tested almost 1656 PPB, compared to the normal 6 PPB
in most regions of the United States. Later that year, Monsanto released information to the Alabama Water Improvement Commission, who choose to not
only ignore the reports, but not release the information to the public.
Monsanto learned that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had taken fish samples from Choccolocco Creek and found fish with more than 55 times the
legal limit of PCBs
So now the FDA has received this information, it should go public right? Well yes, in fact, in did. But, the reporter who was given the reports was
"convinced" to write a "factual" report that would assure that there was, "no cause for alarm". Monsanto promised to do better, but in fact the
problem got worse. Instead of dropping, the plant actually began leaking 900 times the amount they had hoped per day. In other words, they were
leaking almost 90 pounds per day, compared to their hope of .01 pounds per day.
Remember, this is all during or before the year of 1970
So when did the people of Anniston, Alabama discover the PCB problem?
A contractor, now deceased, had found deformed fish in Choccolocco Creek and had tested the fish for PCBs. The results, given by the contractor to
regulators, showed enough contamination to prompt an investigation by the State. On November 2, 1993 the Alabama Department of Public Heath issued the
first fish consumption advisory officially warning residents not to eat fish caught from Choccolocco Creek
According to The World According to Monsanto, Anniston residents have upwards of 3000 PPB of PCB's in their bloodstream, compared to the average of 6
Part Per Billion. This has led to rates of Cancer being much higher than the average American, and the cordoning off of many areas of the city for
complete renovation or uninhabitability.
Starting in 1996, Monsanto began buying up residential properties in highly-contaminated areas, and bulldozing them into the ground. This was after
the plant in the region became part of Solutia, Inc. and the FDA reported that atleast 8 properties in the town had higher than legal limit for PCB
Fortunately, many residents of the town have taken Monsanto to court, including a suit involving over 4600 residents. That suit ended up being
rewarded $43 million in damages to 3,500 of the residents.
A later lawsuit resulted in:
Lawyers for more than 20,000 plaintiffs in federal and state trials over PCB pollution in Anniston reached an agreement Wednesday with the companies
accused of chemical contamination.
The $700 million settlement, announced in federal district court in Birmingham, would resolve all outstanding Anniston PCB litigation.
So, what are your opinions? I personally am not surprised with Monsanto.