To those who know me, I consider myself an "amateur" corrupt watchdog. I consider it an individual's duty and responsibility to be an informed
consumer and member of the international community. I am not biased, nor do I listen to those people who like to proclaim that "corruption, pollution
and underhanded tactics" do not exist in the United States, and even if they did, the EPA or the FDA or the SEC would catch them.... Anyway, enough
of my ranting and on to the real topic.
Everyone knows what General Motors is. Simply put, it is the largest car manufacturer the world has ever seen and it is one of the largest
corporations in the world. Founded in 1908 in Flint, Michigan, General Motors now employs more than 200,000 people worldwide and is located in 35
countries, with plans to continue expanding internationally.
Perhaps best known for its recieveing of a massive bailout from the United States, Canadian and Ontarian Governments of over $50 billion US Dollars,
almost 80% of which came in the form of equity purchases. Essentially meaning that while GM has paid back its $6.7 billion dollar cash loan, GM stock
would have to reach $55 dollars a share just to allow the North American taxpayers to break even (GM is currently trading at $20.27).
However, most American do not know about GM's other terrifying legacy. This one, mainly suppressed by mainstream news, is a disgusting history of
pollution that spans over a century.
In North America alone, there are well over 60 factories that produce GM automobiles and parts alone (Mexico, USA, Canada). This do not include the 10
factories in Europe and the 3 factories in Australia, nor the 15+ factories in other nations throughout the world.
Nowadays, the media and GM likes to potray their factories as futuristic, clean, and automated facilities in which the dangerous toxins used in the
production of cars--including arsenic, benzene, PCBs and mercury--are disposed of properly and environmentally safely. Tip: They Lied.
In cities throughout America, city councils and state/federal agencies bend, and completely ignore, laws that might affect the financial output of
said factories. Many times bribes, or threats, are used to keep regulators and nosey reporters away from GM factories.
In 2002 the EPA cited General Motors and Ford as two of the top 100 corporate air polluters. Again in March of 2006 the Political Economy Research
Institute rated General Motors as the 20th worst polluter.
In March of 2000, Stanford University released a report on GM pollution worldwide. They reported that a factory in New Delhi, India, a single General
Motors factory released over 600,000 tons worth of chemicals in 1994 alone.
It went on to report that a similar factory in Arlington, Texas had
either "accidentally" or purposefully released over 1,000 tons of toxic chemicals into the environment in a single year.
At a factory in Indiana an EPA report stated that GM had released PCBs into surrounding creeks that had contaminated the waters and flood plains for
well over five miles, and had recently spread to surrounding wildlife. Similar conditions at a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, led to workers forming a
union and demanding an investigation into the deaths of workers at the plant. An independent report stated that deaths from stomach and pancreatic
cancers were as much as 7 times the normal level.
Dumping Grounds: Toxic and Illegal
Many Americans alive during the 1970's and 1980's remember the Love Canal Incident. In 1978, a report broke about a neighborhood in Niagara Falls,
New York in which thousands of chemicals began seeping out of the ground and poisoning the locals. The site, originally built in 1898 as a canal,
became a dumping ground for multiple companies during the 1920's, most notably General Motors. During its use as a dumping ground, over 21,000
chemicals were dispossed of in the canal, including waste from the Manhattan Project (Yes, the US Army's Manhattan Project) and multiple
hydrocarbons. In 1953, the site was covered and began to be overgrown with vegetation. In January of 1954, the Niagara Falls School District began the
construction of two schools on the site, even after being alerted of the presence of the dangerous chemicals.
By 1978, this toxic time bomb began to burst, releasing more than 80 different chemical compounds, including 11 carcinogens rising upwards through the
earth into the homes, yards and schools.
The residents saw dead trees, dead gardens and horrific health problems. Eventually, the air was choking to breathe, and the children were burned by
the presence of toxic wastes as they played outside. Miscarriages and retardation mushroomed within the circle of contamination. One third of the
residents were found to have undergone chromosomal damage. High white blood cell counts, a precursor to leukemia, were found everywhere. One survey
found that 56 percent of the children born from 1974-1978 suffered birth defects.
Besides, Love Canal, GM is known to have had multiple other dumpsites in which thousands, if not millions, of individuals were put at risk.
One of the most notable was the GM foundry division plant located in St. Lawrence County, New York, that has been in operation since 1958. Here, the
EPA listed it as a "Specific threat to human health" in which over 850,000 yards of PCB and hydrocarbon contamination. So concerned was GM that it
began to hand out bottled waters to the locals, however, only after the EPA report came out in 1983.
Along the Mexican border a report broke out in the later 1990s about babies born to young Mexican mothers.
In June 2001, reporters Mark Feldsein and Steve Singer produced a Time investigation titled "Border Babies" which discussed one lethal event that
crippled and killed dozens of newborn babies from 1988-1992 in Brownsville, Texas. Thirty children were born with almost no brain matter, and 25 other
children were born with spina bifida. They had shocking openings in the back of their skulls that Brownsville doctor Manuel Guajardo declared, “look
like somebody took a knife and just whacked the top of their head off.” Internal corporate documents obtained by and released by CNN suggested that
American corporations were using Mexico’s border as a private dumping ground and taking advantage of Mexico’s lax environmental enforcement to
contaminate the region with hazardous waste.
General Motors is not alone in its evil practices. Other car companies can easily be identified in this list, and an entire thread could be devoted
to Ford, or Chrysler, or Buick, or almost any other multinational car brand.
I believe everyone should stand up and demand that General Motors and other multinational's testify before Congress for their actions. If they are
allowed to do this in North America and Europe, imagine the Asian countries such as Thailand and China where they operate.
I hope everyone thinks twice the next time you buy a car and I hope you thoroughly enjoyed this thread. I will post links in a subsequent post for
anyone who would like to read the source of my information.
Thanks and Happy New Year.