Anniston, Alabama: another case where a chemical corporation ran above the law, and left tragic consequences for generations to come. The families of West Anniston live with the legacy of a Monsanto plant, and the toxic soil Monsanto left behind. Now the science shows that residents have diabetes from exposure to chemicals (PCBs, in particular) in that soil. Those with diabetes are mostly African American, and mostly women. Truly, their health has been taken away, even as safer alternatives to compounds such as these exist.
The recent news from Anniston is about the link between chemicals and diabetes. Environmental Health News reported on the story, documenting that Monsanto produced polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that somehow, "nobody knows just how," ended up in the waterways and soil. Reverend Thomas Long, an Anniston resident, comments on the toxic legacy,
"Monsanto walked away not doing their job. They left a community still sick, still dying and very dissatisfied."
PCBs have since been banned in the U.S., but their legacy is far from gone. In Anniston, it's mostly women, half of them facing poverty (and lacking health insurance), who live with the health costs. How's that? As women, we carry a larger percentage of the fat cells in our bodies (think breasts) where dangerous, long-lasting chemicals like to lodge. PCBs are linked not just to diabetes, but to a whole host of health problems, with lowered IQ, weakened immune system and liver cancer among them.
And so what for Monsanto, the corporation that left behind the health problems and contaminated soil? As you likely know, they've gone national, and even global. Now, U.S. government studies report that we live with a new Monsanto chemical every day: a study of Iowa and Mississippi streams and rivers showed all streams and most air samples laced with a chemical that came next: RoundUp, which Monsanto assures us is "among the safest." A team of international scientists link RoundUp to birth defects, and following the science, mothers across Argentina are demanding retribution for the children they've lost or who've been harmed from Monsanto's pesticide/GM seed soy.
Monsanto's track record is miserable and their legacy toxic: their guarantee of safety proved wrong in Anniston, and proved wrong with Agent Orange. So, I'm with the mothers on this one, not Monsanto. We need them out of our food system, and now. Join me.