The Monsanto Company is once again dealing with negative publicity after it was announced that they have been fined by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice for the release of toxic cheicals into the environment without prior warning.
The incidents occurred at the company’s Soda Springs, Idaho facilities according to the Associated Press and resulted in a $600,000 fine (a paltry sum considering Monsanto’s vast profits).
Officials said that hazardous chemicals that can pose “serious health risks” were released during between 2006 and 2009 as hydogen cyanide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury were all given off.
According to the letter of the law companies are required to report such releases immediately.
“Each of these chemicals are hazardous and can pose serious health risks to workers and the community if mishandled or released in an uncontrolled manner,” federal officials said in a statement.
The Soda Springs facilities are operated by P4 Production LLC, a wholly owned Monsanto subsidiary. The company said it reconciled differences with the EPA, some as early as 2009, and received the EPA’s violation notice in May 2011.
“The protection of our employees, public health and the environment is always our No. 1 priority,” said Roger Gibson, P4’s vice president of operations. “As a long-time neighbor within the Soda Springs community, we care deeply about public health and the quality of our air, land and water, and we are committed to complying fully and transparently with all applicable laws and regulations.”
The company mines phosphate ore in southeastern Idaho which is then refined to make products including aviation fluids, herbicides and fire retardants, the AP report said.
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Monsanto has also been in the news this week over a report that glyphosate is a likely carcinogen, but dodged a bullet when a lawsuit against it by the city of San Diego was ignored by the mainstream media.