The Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) Session on Agrochemical Transnational Corporations Case Summary
Worldwide, it is estimated that 355,000 people are killed by pesticides every year. This means that a thousand men, women, and children die every day at the unseen hands of silent killers: pesticides manufactured and sold by agrochemical TNCs.
Agrochemical TNCs have full knowledge of their toxic and irreversible effects on human health and the environment. In fact, they have tried to cover up the harmful effects of these pesticides. For instance, Monsanto Company suppressed studies in the 1960s that showed the toxicity of dioxin, found in its herbicide 2,4,5-T, on its workers. Instead, the herbicide was sold to the U.S. government as one component of Agent Orange, which was sprayed on thousands of innocent civilians during the Vietnam War. The Union Carbide Company (now owned by Dow Chemical Company) also claimed that methyl isocyanate, the deadly chemical which leaked in Bhopal, was merely a “mild throat and ear irritant.”
The lies with which agrochemical TNCs promote pesticides and hazardous technologies today are as treacherous as ever. It must be remembered that the pesticide industry started off as producers of noxious gases that were produced for chemical warfare during the First World War. Today, agrochemical TNCs have formed their own corporate empire—an empire that was built solely on lies about “feeding the world.” Under this mantra, the Green Revolution was launched in the 1960s with the aid of governments and international financial institutions. The Green Revolution made farmers around the globe dependent on chemical inputs. It immensely benefited agrochemical TNCs, which wilfully manufactured and sold these products while knowing of the extreme harm that they could inflict upon people and the environment.