Monsanto chemical company pleaded guilty to illegal use of Penncap-M, a pesticide containing neurotoxin, and was fined $ 10 million.
According to a Monsanto filing filed in the US federal court of Honolulu on November 21, the company admitted spraying the Penncap-M insecticide on corn seeds and other research crops at its Valley Farm facility. Maui Island, Hawaii in 2014, despite knowing the chemical was banned by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
"This illegal activity poses a threat to the environment, surrounding communities and staff of Monsanto," said lawyer Nick Hanna. Monsanto also admitted letting employees into the fields a week after spraying, even though they knew the area should be isolated for 31 days.
Under the plea agreement, Monsanto accepted to pay a fine of $ 6 million and to pay $ 4 million to Hawaiian authorities.
Monsanto is also facing 11,200 lawsuits in the US involving Roundup, a product containing the global controversial glyphosate herbicide for safety.
Three grand juries demanded that Monsanto pay large sums of money to affected people, including about $ 2 billion for a couple in California. However, Bayer, a German chemical group that acquired Monsanto in June 2018, confirmed that "global regulatory authorities have determined that glyphosate-containing herbicides are safe if used as directed."
Monsanto produced a defoliant, also known as Agent Orange, which the US army sprayed on Vietnam during the war. Dioxin toxins in Agent Orange cause many dangerous diseases for humans such as cancer, birth defects, leaving millions of Vietnamese affected.
In 2004, the victims filed a lawsuit against 37 American chemical companies, most notably Monsanto and Dow Chemical. However, the lawsuit was dismissed by the US federal court on grounds of insufficient grounds. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam said that Monsanto needs to compensate Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange during the war.