Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93M for Poisoning Town

Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93 Million for Poisoning Town

Big wins can happen in small places.

The West Virginia State Supreme Court finalized a big blow to the biotech giant Monsanto this month, finishing a settlement causing Monsanto to pay $93 million to the tiny town of Nitro, West Virginia for poisoning citizens with Agent Orange chemicals.

The settlement was approved last year, but details were worked out only weeks ago as to how the funds were to be spent.

The settlement will require Monsanto to do the following:

  • $9 million will be spent to clean dioxin contaminated dust from 4500 homes.
  • $21 million will be spent to test to see if people have been poisoned with dioxin.
  • Citizens will be monitored for such poisoning for 30 years, not just a few months.
  • An additional $63 million is to be allotted if additional tests for dioxin contamination testing is necessary.
  • Anyone who lived in the Nitro area between Jan. 1, 1948, and Sept. 3, 2010 will be tested for dioxin. Although they must show proof they lived in the area, they will be eligible for testing even if they no longer live in Nitro.
  • Former or present employees of Monsanto are not eligible for any of these benefits.
  • An office will be set up to organize testing for Nitro citizens. The registration of participants is to be overlooked by Charleston attorney Thomas Flaherty, who was appointed by the court.
  • Residents have a right to file individual suits against Monsanto if medical tests show they suffered physical harm due to dioxin exposure.

Monsanto Produced Toxic Chemicals in Nitro

Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93 Million for Poisoning TownJust how were Nitro citizens exposed to dioxin? Monsanto was producing the toxic herbicide Agent Orange in Nitro, and dioxin is a chemical byproduct of the substance. It is known to cause serious health conditions. The factory which produced Agent Orange was opened in Nitro in 1948 and remained in operation until 2004, even though usage of this herbicide in the past (in Vietnam and other Asian countries) was fatal to millions of citizens and the war veterans who were exposed to it.

“There is no doubt that during and after the war, many Vietnamese absorbed this very toxic material [dioxin]. It is our belief from toxicological research and epidemiologicalstudies from many countries that this dioxin probably resulted in significant health effects in Vietnam.” – Arnold Schecter and John Constable

“It’s been a real long haul,” attorney Stuart Calwell told The Charleston Gazette. Calwell represented Nitro area residents in a class action suit that prompted Monsanto to make the settlement.

“The politics of dioxin has been bitterly debated since the Vietnam War, but … we know that there is a health issue there and hopefully people will get their houses cleaned and the risk will come to an end and those exposed in the past will have the benefit of keeping an eye on their health.”

The people of Nitro still need to fill out a register to receive the benefits outlined in the settlement. Due to the pivotal nature of this landmark settlement, Nitro citizens need to participate as fully as possible to set a precedent for other class action suits that farmers and consumers of GMO foods around the world might wage against Monsanto in the future to finally take them down. If enough of us do it at once, then even their bloated coffers will finally be depleted, and we can enjoy a world without being poisoned to death.

While this case did not involve glyphosate, another deadly toxin used in Monsanto herbicides such as RoundUp, its time will come soon.

About the Author

Christina Sarich is a musician, yogi, humanitarian and freelance writer who channels many hours of studying Lao TzuParamahansa YoganandaRob Brezny,  Miles Davis, and Tom Robbins into interesting tidbits to help you Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.

(photo by msdonnalee)


  1. Sarah Lenard Lancaster via Facebook says

    It’s a start. Too bad they are making billions. Fines are considered nothing more than a cost of doing business.

  2. Angela Roberts Glattli via Facebook says

    Wow! This is def pocket change. And to think they are actually coming up with a replacement for Roundup derived from Agent Orange. If we can come up with a class action lawsuit against Roundup then I think we could make some real progress. A class action lawsuit against GMOs would def make them break. We are making progress. Its just depressing to see so many people suffering. They must answer to their actions.

  3. Ericca Littleton Souther via Facebook says

    It’s something. It’s better than the nothing that’s been happening for years.

  4. Ellen says

    Unfortunately that’s pocket change for Monsatano. The winners are those who do all this testing. As usual, the people get no compensation. I don’t see this as much more than an annoyance for BigM.

  5. Allan Michaud says

    Interesting to know but seeing as it is such an emotive subject, is it really necessary to make outrageous statements such as the following. “…was fatal to millions of citizens and the war veterans who were exposed to it.” Utter bollocks, 10’s of thousands for sure and quite probably well into 6 figures, but millions is a ridiculous number and just makes your blog look ignorant. I often work in an area on the Ho Chi Minh trail and am all too aware of the issue. Still, very good news that these thieves are being held accountable for something.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude says

      Allan, I’m looking for the exact statistical projection right now to post but i’m not so sure she’s citing such an ‘outrageous’ claim about ‘millions’ of deaths caused by this Dioxin since its usage began.

      As a victim myself of this poisoning, I remember a medical or scientific report somewhere a couple years ago that, indeed, millions of cancer deaths were caused by it.

      When you think about it, ‘millions’ is a relatively small percentage number over the world population span of ‘billions’.

      Right now ‘millions’ are being ‘exposed’ just in the United States to toxic chemicals directly from weather chemtrail experiments being conducted in the sky.

  6. Mahatma Muhjesbude says

    Thank goodness we still have forums like this to reach enough people to make a difference that can stand up to huge plutocratic Corporatism.

    Another effort that those of concerned about toxic poisoning of our environment need to start ‘addressing’ is the ‘Chem-trail’ weather modification experimentation going on in our fragile clear blue skies.

    Monsanto actually was heavily involved in this and when too many people started ‘looking up’ in the sky and wondering what those strange very long white trails left by jets were doing not ‘evaporating’ like normal unburned fuel water vapor’ exhaust but staying in the air traversing the entire sky in some areas, AND THEN EXPANDING into cloud-like haze!

    People who pushed the issue discovered a community of scientists (What the ‘F’ are they spraying. HAARP experiments) and started complaining to their Reps. Turns out the extremely fine nano particles of aluminum and barium and who knows what other toxins, were causing ‘bad’ environmental changes, to include one in every 35 newborn males to be born with Autism in Texas where there was continuous spraying the last couple years.

    Monsanto and their current regime advocators then got nervous–especially during these critical election times–and turned everything over to the military so they could effectively ‘hide’ the operations.

    But you can’t ‘hide’ the Chemtrails. Just look up on one of those nice clear blue sky days more often. You’ll see them.

    • Aimee says

      Glad you brought this up. Most people scoff at the idea and classify it as a conspiracy theory. We live in a rural area of the Texas Hill Country and see the skies sprayed constantly. Almost every time rain is forecasted, the skies are sprayed 24 hours before and we get no rain. It is completely logical to believe that Monsanto is paying to dry up all of the small local farmers, ranchers and vineyards.

      Monsanto has earned themselves a special place in hell. Glad for this small victory.

      • Mahatma Muhjesbude says

        Yup, same thing is happening in Wisconsin. There’s no reliable weather ‘forecasting’ anymore. Actual Temperature fluctuations from forecast vary as much as 10 degrees plus or minus.

        They seem to spray a lot in the Jet Stream flow from West to East.

        I, too, was a scoffer some years ago when the ‘theory’ first surface. I’m a pilot so i just assumed the ‘wackies’ were just once again ignorant of regular Contrails from jet engine exhaust at high altitudes where the unburned moisture in the gases freezes immediately in a white ‘trail’.

        But like most people, i never looked up in the sky for more than a passing glance. So I was the ignorant one! When i should have known better.

        Then i was chatting with a couple pilots at the Oshkosh EAA air show a couple years ago and somehow the subject was brought up and we laughed but one of them, an ex military jet pilot, suggested we do some ‘research’ before we laugh anymore…
        and since i actually was a real detective back in the days, I figured i should get it ‘explained’, one way or the other, at least for my own knowledge.

        I became amazed at how otherwise intelligent and educated people, can still be so ‘ignorant’ and gullible about what’s really going on around them, just because the government, or the Bible, or Uncle Billy ‘SAYS SO’, or says IT AIN’T SO!

        Chem trails are not a myth. They are a covert government sponsored (meaning your tax dollars fund it) weather manipulation experiment where companies like Monsanto provide the chemicals, for the purpose of weather control.

        Remember trying to control the weather has been going on since WWII as a military black operation. Because weather control can actually be used quite dramatically when ‘weaponized’ against the enemy? Consider being able
        to dump 10 feet of snow on the battlefield almost anytime you needed to stop enemy convoys in their tracks?

        The actually did ‘cloud seeding’ in Viet Nam over the Ho Chi Minh trail so that the enemy supply wagons and vehicles would get stuck in the mud and make easy bombing targets!

        Modern chem-trailing takes it to a new level. They actually CREATE the clouds in the first place! When you first see a chemtrail, it’s long and straight but as you watch it and depending upon the wwind, it doesn’t evaporate and disappear like a regular jet Contrail from the sun. Chemtrails slowly dissipate and and spread out to merge with each other to form Clouds. After only a couple hours the clear blue sky you noticed earlier now has that greyish overcast where they were spraying. Then the winds aloft move the ‘weather system’ onward to where the HAARP electronics come into play.

        Anyway, there’s much more to it and anybody interested–and we all should be–should check out the Youtube video-
        ‘Why are they spraying/HAARP’ By now there probably many segments on it, but tthere i think this one is a good hour long documenting with accredited investeigators, how Monsanto was involved and how they use this ‘weather control’ to control droughts in certain places in the country, AND, believe it or not, (like we all believed the G doesn’t spy on its own citizens and record everything we do, until Mr. Snowden ‘enlightened us’) the actual comodities market was affected!

        In other words, if you know where there would or would not be any rain for a year, you could make a fortune on crop commodities, now couldn’t you?

        But the worst, most insidious, danger is that if they control the weather here, they can actually control our food supply. Think about THAT for an insane minute. With GMO seeds having limited or recycle ability–intentionally, i might add, so that the farmers have to keep buying from–who else, Monsanto, instead of keeping ‘seed’ from the current crop for the next crop!

        Well this one Youtube video is really well done on it. Starts out with a scientist in his cowboy hat examining the contaminated soil in Texas and explaining how bad it is. Even has professional weather scientists explaining what ‘they’ are doing up there.

        We all should review this, take pictures like i did when they spray in patterns which are quite obvious, and send them to their Reps with the youtube link and a firm ‘inquiry’ as to WTF is UP with this?!

        It’s much worse than anybody thinks.


        • Aimee says

          All true. Any sane person cannot look at the evidence without seeing the truth, which is a conspiracy against the health and well-being of the American people. The YouTube video you mentioned is definitely something I will look up. Unfortunately, none of it shocks me–I see the evidence everywhere. Thanks for speaking up.

  7. Cookie says

    We on the upper peninsula of wa. st. see those ‘chem’ trails. I’ve seen a colored substance being sprayed. There isn’t a crop around here….just trees. No answers seem to be available. So talk talk talk……….it doesn’t fix anything. Monsanto would gain in the ongoing shipment of ‘border workers’ being trucked across our borders wouldn’t they. Don’t monsanto owners/staff/etc have families too?

  8. mjski says

    First off, Roundup has an LD50 that is less than aspirin. What is an LD50? If you don’t know, you shouldn’t misrepresent the *proper* use of many horticultural chemicals. After all, the FDA has approved many horticultural chemicals for use by those that are certified “organic,” including those sainted organic farmers charging premium prices at the local farmers’ market. Do your homework before you spew misinformation.

    I am glad that the West Virginia Supreme Court (not “a court in Virginia” as you stated in your newsletter … WV hasn’t been in VA for quite a while) has granted justice to a small town that was poisoned as a result of their needing the jobs that the plant provided. In the food system, as in most aspects of American life, business interests are more important than human interests. We can only hope that Monsanto can not find any persons or agencies to pay off and get this decision overturned.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude says

      mjski, you’re obviously a dealer or supplier of Roundup. As someone who once had a crop duster’s applicatorlicense, I learned the ‘Lethal Dose’ rating of chemicals is relative.

      It’s ‘toxicity’ is relative to things like
      gross expusure/amounts over duration/time of exposure. and whether or not the toxin has a tendency to build up. While The LD50 rating of Roundup is ‘benign’ enough by comparison to say…Parathion, which by ‘application of one drop, which could potentially kill you immediately if you injested or injected it, for instance, like we did back in the MACVSOG days to suspected enemy agents and mixed a couple drops with DMSO and smeared it on a doorknob or something the ‘mark’ would grasp so that quick absorption through their sweat glands in their palms would render them sick, in pain, and near enough to death…for us to get them to ‘talk’ before we gave them medical treatment.

      But ALL pesticides are TOXIC to varying degrees and levels in exposure and individual organic sensitivity. Some just take longer to kill you.

      You’d be singing a different song if you or your child were experiencing the debilitating effects.

  9. Esther says

    That’s awesome! :) But it says the employees aren’t eligible for these benefits? I would think they would be some of the most sick. Or if Nitro is such a small town, wouldn’t a large percentage of them have worked for Monsanto?

    • Michelle Rose says

      Thank you for sharing this great news! I am delighted to see Monsanto being forced to pay the price for their short-sighted focus on the bottom line- making big bucks with no concern for humans or the planet. I still continue to sign every GMO labeling petition I come across. I believe we can win the battle some day!

  10. Wendy W. says

    We sure wonder about the effects that all the Roundup that is sprayed on the crops around our house. And if they quit making that one, they will just go on to something else terrible, because this type of crop farming can’t make it any other way. The farmers have no idea how to farm any other way.

  11. says

    I confess that I have not yet read all the above comments, but here is a suggestion:
    Monsanto Corporation was one of the leading contributors donating to a fund to defeat the citizens initiatives to label GMOs in California and Washington State. I do not have their $$amount, but my memory tells me it was far more than any other.
    For those of us who feel discouraged about the Big Guys and what they are getting away with, here is something you can do. Join the Organic Consumers Association boycott.
    Who are the Traitor Brands? Here are the worst culprits, their parent companies, and the amount they spent just to defeat Prop 37 and I-522:
    PepsiCo ($4.8M) – IZZE, Naked Juice, Simply Frito-Lay, Starbucks Frappucino
    Coca-Cola ($3.2M) – Honest Tea, Odwalla, Keurig/Green Mountain Coffee (10%)
    Nestle ($3M) – Gerber Organic, Sweet Leaf tea
    Kraft/Mondelez ($2.4M) – Boca Burgers, Green and Black’s
    General Mills ($2.1M) – Cascadian Farm, Larabar, Muir Glen
    ConAgra Foods ($2M) – Alexia, Pam organic cooking sprays
    Kelloggs ($1.1M) – Bear Naked, Gardenburger, Kashi, Morningstar Farms
    Campbells ($980k) – Plum Organics, Wolfgang Puck organic soups
    Smuckers ($900k) – R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz organic, Smuckers Organic
    Hershey’s ($880k) – Dagoba
    Bimbo Bakeries ($560k) – Earthgrains bread
    McCormick ($400k) – Simply Asia, Thai Kitchen
    Even if you don’t eat organic, these companies sell plenty of non-organic food you can refuse to buy.
    Here is what I have done:
    1. I have singled out the food items that I no longer buy.
    2.I have written to the companies that I am boycotting, or the parent company, telling them that I will no longer buy the product until they change their policy. We need to call these people out one by one, face to face and let them know how we feel and what we are doing in response to their policies.
    3. Then, the hard part: I have been seeking out replacements for those items, which includes making my own, buying an alternative brand or just plain going without!(see for my post about this issue.
    Here is the link for the consumer boycott:

    Or go the Organic Consumer Organization website.
    Why does this matter? Monsanto is involved with GMO research and development on a large scale.Taking them down requires changing they way we buy food and letting the big corporate people, and they ARE people, know that we will not buy their products. Just labeling does not solve the problem. I personally believe that all GMO research and development must cease! GMO is a misnomer: this is genetic engineering!
    Take heart, all of you, and do everything possible to defeat these people!
    Mary Bonnier
    Washington State

  12. says

    Do you live in areas that are “Roundup Ready”?? I hope this domino’s and they go belly up. Then the mad scientist and corporate management need to be put behind bars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>