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Poisoned By PCBs: "A Lack of Control"

Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 anniston's PCBs in the press

From the beginning, Monsanto withheld vital information and delayed complying with regulators' requests in an increasingly desperate attempt to appear in control of the problem - when "in fact," according to a confidential Monsanto memo from 1970, increasing PCB levels in Snow Creek "indicate a lack of control." (view entire document)

Starting in 1929, the Swann Chemical Co. plant in Anniston became the first site in the world to make PCBs, an industrial coolant most widely used in the manufacture of electrical equipment. Monsanto Industrial Chemicals Co. bought the plant in 1935, and continued to dump PCBs into the creek without question until the late 1960s, when the environmental effects of the chemical became widely known. Monsanto was the only US manufacturer of PCBs, producing about 1.5 billion pounds in Anniston and Sauget, IL. PCB production in Sauget was stopped in 1977, two years before PCB production was officially banned by the government.

In 1969, the Anniston plant was discharging about 250 pounds of PCBs into Snow Creek a day, according to Monsanto records marked "CONFIDENTIAL-F.Y.I. AND DESTROY." (view entire document) By August 1970, after implementing measures to limit discharges, the plant was dumping about 16 pounds of PCBs per day, though the waste load sometimes spiked as high as 80 pounds a day. (view entire document)

In August 1971, Monsanto finally stopped production of PCBs at Anniston, although the plant continued to discharge smaller quantities of PCBs in its waste as a result of continued production of related compounds. (view entire document)

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last updated: march.27.2009

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