The monocult
corp. control
gm test sites
untangling us





contact us
our aims

DuPont "The Miracles of Science?"

DuPont moves to control and manipulate seed

On October 1st 1999 Dupont bought the worlds largest seed company Pioneer Hi-bred for $7.7 billion [1]. Dupont now has 18% of the entire global seed market, and a 42% share of the North American hybrid corn seed market, US biggest crop [2]

This gives Dupont control of the world's largest proprietary seed bank and a global seeds sales force.

E.I. du Pont de Nemours, began manufacturing explosives in 1802, making DuPont one of the oldest corporations in the world. By the turn of the century du Pont de Nemours were America's biggest armaments manufacturer
The du Pont family, who still own the controlling interest of the company today, became one of the richest and most powerful families in the US.

In the 1910's and 1920's duPont scientists came up with a whole range of new polluting manufacturing processes based on petro-chemicals. The company became, and still remains, the world's leading producer of artificial fibres [3], patenting nylon and rayon in the 1930's, and expanding into Europe and Asia.

There is hardly a single chemical toxin in which Du Pont has not played a major role.
Dupont pioneered sulfur dioxide, leaded petrol [4], CFC's [5] and recently deep well injection of hazardous waste [6] and used dubious science, political manipulation and cover up to avoid restrictions on their use.

biohazard: dupont is investing heavily in biotechnology
As the US's chief armourers Dupont have close ties with the US government and have worked on the nuclear programme since developing the A-Bomb in WWII [7]. They have operated the infamous Savannah River nuclear plant, where all the weapons grade plutonium in the Western Hemisphere is produced, since 1952.[8]

Today the corporation's major businesses are chemicals, fibres and polymers, DuPont are the world's forth largest producer of agro-chemicals.[9] With operations in 65 countries half of 1999's $1 billion sales were outside of the US. Dupont's transglobal power often goes unnoticed; most products are not sold under the Dupont name, brand names include Nylon, Teflon, Gore-Tex, Lycra, Silverstone, Stainmaster, Antron, and Remington, and petrol sold under the names Jet and Seca.

Dupont are expanding and rearranging, particularly in agriculture, pharmaceuticals and related biotechnology, $1 billion a year is spent on research. In the 21st century the aim is to derive increasing amounts of products from plants and microorganisms through genetic engineering, euphemistically called "life sciences". This includes GE plants producing plastics, industrial enzymes, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

The share of the global seed market will be used to market this biotech seed directly to farmers. DuPont cynically present this as "green" technology, the real motive is anticipated profits from lowering costs of production. Decreasing oil resourses are likely to push up costs of production of petro-chemical derived products.

Dupont were one of the corporations who formed the Intellectual Property Committee and persuaded the US government to introduce legislation at the WTO to enforce member countries to enact patent laws on plant varities and industrial processes. This became the TRIPs legislation, which will enable Dupont and other transnational corporations to expand into profitable "new markets". Dupont are particularly interested in agricultural and pharmaceutical markets in Brazil, India, SE Asia and the former Soviet bloc.

Monsanto, Novartis and AgrEvo (now Aventis) commercialised GE crops first, relying on their early acceptance, which has not happened as they planned, particularly in Europe. Dupont meanwhile maintained a low profile while quietly investing heavily in biotech and planning for longer term acceptance. In addition to Pioneer Hibred, Dupont investments include a state-of-the-art gene sequencing facility to map the corn and soybean genome and the largest soy protein company in the world, Protein Technologies International (PTI).

PTI produces soy protein isolate, the most concentrated source of soy protein. Dupont aims to commercialise "healthy" low cholesterol products containing soy isolate, such as sport drinks, protein bars and milk substitutes, made from GE soy beans with traits such as high sucrose, high oleic acid and low saturated fat supplied by Dupont's seed empire.[10]

In 1998 Dupont launched a new non-GE soy variety, STS, which is pushed to farmers as an alternative to Monsanto's GE roundup ready variety. Dupont have deals with the largest grain handlers, to pay US farmers premiums for STS soybeans.[11] STS beans are tolerant to sulfonylurea herbicides, a highly toxic class of broad spectrum hebicides.[12] Dupont produce most of the world's sulfonylurea herbicides and have produced a GE sulfonylurea resistant cotton.

Chemical resistant seeds are all about control whether GE or not. Dupont make farmers sign up to a contract that dictates every aspect of the growing of the crop, including the use of Dupont's patented sulfonylurea herbicide Synchrony. The STS grower's contract states that Dupont's representatives must be allowed "free and easy access to the fields, harvesting equipment, transportation vehicles, and grain storage facilities used in the production of STS Grain, and to inspect, evaluate and monitor the progress and condition of the crop." [13]

Notes and references

[1] DuPont already owned a 20% stake in Pioneer, bought in late 1997 for an estimated $1.7 billion. The $7.7 billion paid in 1999 was for the remaining 80%

[2] "Dupont: Seeding Corporate Power", A.V.Krebs, The Agribusiness Examiner no. 25, 16th March 1999

"AgBiotech's Five Jumbo Gene Giants, Just Five survive Consolidation Squeeze", RAFI, 1/7/2000


[3] Dupont established itself as the world leader in synthetic fibres, with such new inventions as Nylon and Raylon, with the aid of the global outlawing of one of the most useful natural fibres, hemp. This was achieved in the US by the1937 Marijuana Transfer (Tax) Act, which was passed in the same year DuPont patented both nylon and the polluting wood-pulp sulfide (sulfur dioxide) process used to make paper. The Act was the result of political pressure and a sustained propaganda campaign by du Pont and logging and oil companies.

Americans were familiar with hemp, which was widely grown and used as fibre, oil and paper, the propagandists began circulating stories of the dangers of the drug "Marijuana". Marijuana was the Mexican word for cannabis used for it's racist conations and as an excuse to prohibit hemp, despite the fact that hemp cultivated as a fibre crop is a strain that contains less than thirtieth of the amounts of psychoactive compounds than cannabis bred for it's high.

Hemp produces four times as much paper as trees and does not require the sulfur-based acid chemicals used to break down the glue-like lignin that binds the fibers of wood pulp. Hemp would be a much less damaging way of making many of du Pont's products, but without them profiting, as this plant grows easily without chemicals and could not be patented. Back in 1935, more than 58,000 tons of hemp seed alone, were used just to make non-toxic paint paint and varnish.

Source: "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" by Jack Herer (There is acres of material on the internet about this topic)

[4] In the 1920's Dupont scientists produced a gasoline additive "no knock" tetraethyl lead. At this time the du Pont family owned General Motors, and they formed a 50-50 joint venture with one of the most powerful of petroleum corporations, Standard Oil (now Exxon), to produce and market the chemical. In 1924 the story broke that 80 percent of the workers who produced tetraethyl lead had either been killed or were suffering acute poisoning. Employees suffered such severe nerve damage and extensive hallucinations that one production plant was dubbed "the House of Butterflies." The du Pont family used their political power and advertising campaigns to prevent restrictions on Ethyl, which they still produce to this day, causing nearly 90 percent of airborne lead pollution in cities.

Source: "History of Precaution, pt. 1", Rachel's Environment & health weekly, March 27, 1997

[5] DuPont is the world's largest producer of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) and continued their production long after research proved these chemicals are destroying the ozone layer. With the support of a few prominent environmental groups including Friends of the Earth, DuPont agreed with the US Environmental Protection Agency to redefine CFC's into three new chemical categories. Products containing two of these chemicals CFC-22 and HCFC-22 are now often labeled "ozone friendly" or "CFC-free" despite the fact that these are the same chemicals and are ozone destroyers

Source: "Industry Response to the Montreal Protocol," by Curtis A. Moore, Ambio, Vol. 19, No. 6-7, October 1990, pp. 320-323

[6] Dupont are the world's leaders at using deep well injection to dispose of hazardous waste. One Dupont facility in New Johnsonville, north-east of Memphis, is the world's largest manufacturers of titanium dioxide, a pigment used in products from paint to toothpaste. When it was opened in the 1950s, the operators simply pumped the acidic iron-chloride waste into the Tennessee River. But, in 1967, regulations were tightened and the company began to inject its waste, up to 3.5 million litres daily, into limestone formations more than a kilometre below the earth's surface. The 28 years of waste that now lie deep underground may seep into water supplies.

Source: "Dupont, Asarco Top Polluters in the United States" by Pratap Chatterjee Aug 22, 1996

[7] Dupont's work on the production of the A-bomb during WW II required vast amounts of a highly poisonous chemical, fluoride. When a lawsuit ensued against DuPont from growers whose crops had been destroyed by fluoride leaking from a DuPont plant, DuPont and the US government deliberately suppressed scientific evidence of the toxicity of fluoride and instead produced fictitious studies showing the health benefits of fluoride. [13] Thus began one of the biggest experiments in forced exposure to a toxin. The fluoridation of public water supplies continues to this day and serves the purpose of disposing of a poisonous waste product of the nuclear and chemical industries.

Source: "Toxic Secrets: Fluoride And The Manhattan Project" by Joel Griffiths and Chris Bryson Nexus Magazine Vol. 5 No. 3 , April-May 1998

[8] Workers at the Savannah River plant have suffered from the effects of long term exposure to "low level" radiation. There have been at least 30 serious accidents involving radiation leaks, which Dupont have never admitted and still deny. The plant operations have caused radioactive contamination of the Tuscaloosa aquifer.

Source: "Human harm from low-level exposure. Radiation--part 3" Rachel's Environment & Health Weekly #185 -June 13th, 1990

[9] "AgBiotech's Five Jumbo Gene Giants, Just Five Survive Consolidation Squeeze" RAFI Genotypes 7th Jan 2000

[10] "Soy Story: The Politics Behind the Boneless Protei
n" by Britt Bailey,

[11] Sources: "US Farmers Paid Premiums for Non-GMOs" Genetic Market Intelligence September 1999

"One Eyed Jacks: The ADM-DuPont Soybean Deal"
Steve Sprinkel Scotland County, Missouri May 12, 1999,

[12] Sulfonylureas are acutely toxic, expanding usage due to herbicide resistant crops will have a serious impact on the reproduction of both crop and native plants, reducing agricultural production, threatening natural plant communities and thus wildlife's food resources. Studies have revealed that minute doses (about one thousandth of that applied as an herbicide) cause cherry trees to fail to produce as much fruit as they usually do The use of sulfonylureas also changes the abundance and diversity of microorganisms in the soil and threatens populations of endangered species.[8]

In 1990 Benlate DF, a fungicide made by DuPont became contaminated with sulfonylureas produced at the same plant leading to one of the world's worst incidents of poisoning of agricultural land. DuPont received complaints from more than 2100 U.S. growers that the chemical had ruined their crops. Over 1400 farmers chose to sue; according to a judge Dupont used fraud, tampered and witheld evidence and committed perjury. By 1993 an estimated $1 billion in damages had been paid on the Benlate claims.

Sources: "Sulfometuron methyl Sheet." Caroline Cox. Journal of Pesticide Reform, Volume 13, Number 4, Winter 1993. Published by The Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

"Human-Made Agricultural Disaster Multinational Monitor 1993's Corporate Hall of Shame"

[13] STS soybean farmer's contract

home . sitemap . search . contact us . top