According to reports, Monsanto both sprayed and stored a product known as Penncap-M that contains a banned insecticide known as methyl parathion, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified as an "acute hazardous waste."
Not only did Monsanto illegally spray and store Penncap-M on the Hawaiian island, but it did so with full knowledge that the EPA had prohibited the chemical's use in 2013, a full year before Monsanto decided to break the law and douse its test crops with it.
Monsanto had apparently told its employees to illegally spray Penncap-M on corn seed and other research crops in the town of Kihei on Maui's southwest shore, as well as reenter the field seven days after spraying the chemical, even though the minimum waiting period should have been at least 31 days.
Prosecutors from the United States Attorney's office for the Central District of California reportedly struck a deal with Monsanto, which is now owned by German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG, to not prosecute the company so long as it agrees to pay $6 million in criminal penalties along with $4 million in community service payments.
In a statement, Bayer spokesman Darren Wallis tried to claim that these serious violations were a major deviation from his company's core values – which may have some truth to it, seeing as how it was Monsanto that did this before being bought out by Bayer.
At the same time, Bayer has committed crimes of its own that in many ways rival those of Monsanto, which makes its sainthood claims laughable at best.
"As stewards of the land, it is our responsibility to use agriculture products safely and to manage waste correctly," Willis hilariously stated, implying that his company's continued littering of the planet with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and associated crop chemicals somehow translates as taking care of the planet.
"We take this very seriously and accept full responsibility for our actions," he added. "We have taken steps to improve internal processes and implemented additional training. We did not live up to our own standards or the law."
Commenting on the banned insecticide in question, Beyond Pesticides had this to say about what Monsanto exposed its workers to, as well as the surrounding community, by spraying Penncap-M in violation of federal law.
"Methyl parathion may cause death, loss of consciousness, dizziness, confusion, headaches, difficult breathing, chest tightness, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, tremors, blurred vision, and sweating, according to federal health agencies."
Beyond Pesticides further warns that methyl parathion, an organophosphate insecticide, "has been found to jeopardize the survival of dozens of endangered species, adding that it was "canceled in 2012" and "no products containing the chemical were permitted for use beginning January 1, 2014."
While it might sound like a lot to us ordinary folks, $10.2 million in fines is next to nothing compared to the billions of dollars in profits that Monsanto, and now Bayer, rake in from illegal actions such as this, the vast majority of which never even get prosecuted.
"Bayer's third-quarter earnings were $1.15 billion," noted Beyond Pesticides on its Twitter account. "Thus, the company's payment for endangering public health and environmental safety standards stands at 0.009% of its recent profits."
To keep up with the latest news about chemical companies and their constant assault on public health and the environment, be sure to check out ChemicalViolence.com.
Sources for this article include: