Stories | April 25, 2017
Questions about Products of the Former Monsanto
At Monsanto, we are dedicated to providing farmers the broadest choice of products and services that will help them produce more, conserve more and lead improved lives. Monsanto is no longer in the industrial chemical business. However, we still get questions about, and in some cases maintain responsibility for, products that were once part of the former Monsanto.
PCBs – or polychlorinated biphenyl – were man-made chemicals used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications from the 1930’s to 1970’s. Because PCBs were non-flammable and provided electrical insulating properties, they were intended to increase the safety of products, such as electrical equipment, motor oil, fluorescent light ballasts, cable insulation, caulk and thermal insulation. In fact, many electrical and building codes and insurance companies required PCBs for use in electrical equipment in buildings where the possibility of fire presented a risk to human life.
In 1966 Swedish scientists first reported the detection of PCBs in animal tissues. Monsanto and others immediately began to study PCB persistence in the environment as well. These later studies determined PCBs do not readily break down and can remain in the environment (air, water and soil) for long periods of time. These discoveries helped to lead to the decision by one of the former Monsanto to stop manufacturing PCBs and, later, to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to ban their production and use.
Monsanto and Agent Orange (1965-1969)
From 1965 to 1969, the former Monsanto Company manufactured Agent Orange for the U.S. military as a wartime government contractor. The current Monsanto Company has maintained responsibility for this product since we were spun-off as a separate, independent agricultural company in 2002.
Equal and NutraSweet (Aspartame) (1985-2000)
Monsanto has not produced or sold aspartame for more than a decade. In 2000, we sold the NutraSweet Company to J.W. Childs and sold Equal to Merisant. Both of these companies continue to manufacture and market these products. For more information on aspartame, we recommend visiting www.aspartame.org.