April 11, 2012
In a developing news piece just unleashed by a courthouse news wire, Monsanto is being brought to court by dozens of Argentinean tobacco farmers who say that the biotech giant knowingly poisoned them with herbicides and pesticides and subsequently caused ”devastating birth defects” in their children. The farmers are now suing not only Monsanto on behalf of their children, but many big tobacco giants as well. The birth defects that the farmers say occurred as a result are many, and include cerebral palsy, down syndrome, psychomotor retardation, missing fingers, and blindness.
The farmers come from small family-owned farms in Misiones Province and sell their tobacco to many United States distributors. The family farmers say that major tobacco companies like the Philip Morris company asked them to use Monsanto’s herbicides and pesticides, assuring them that the products were safe. Through asserting that the toxic chemicals were safe, the farmers state in their claim that the tobacco companies ”wrongfully caused the parental and infant plaintiffs to be exposed to those chemicals and substances which they both knew, or should have known, would cause the infant offspring of the parental plaintiffs to be born with devastating birth defects.”
The majority of the farmers in the area used Monsanto’s Roundup, an herbicide with the active ingredient glyphosate that has shown to be killing human kidney cells. What’s more, the farmers say that the tobacco companies pushed Monsanto’s Roundup on the farmers despite a lack of protective equipment. In other words, these farmers — many in dire economic conditions — were being directly exposed to Roundup in large concentrations without any protective gear (or even experience or skills in handling the substance). Still, the farmers say the tobacco giants required the struggling farmers to ‘purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides’.
Most shocking, the farmers were ordered to discard leftover herbicides and pesticides in locations in which they leached directly into the water supply. With Monsanto’s Roundup already known to be contaminating the groundwater, this comes as a serious threat to pure water supplies.
The farmers end their landmark case with an explanation as to why the tobacco companies allowed Monsanto’s herbicides and pesticides to be unloaded on the small family farms in such vast quantities and purchased in excessive amounts. In their claim, the farmers state that the tobacco companies were ”motivated by a desire for unwarranted economic gain and profit,” with zero regard for the farmers and their infant children — many of which are now suffering from severe birth defects from Monsanto’s products.
This article first appeared at NaturalSociety, putting a spotlight on Monsanto’s ongoing controversies.