Monsanto

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Monsanto was founded in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1901, by John Francis Queeny, a 30-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry. He funded the start-up with his own money and capital from a soft drink distributor, and gave the company his wife's maiden name. His father in law was Emmanuel Mendes de Monsanto, wealthy financier of a sugar company active in Vieques, Puerto Rico and based in St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies. The company's first product was the artificial sweetener saccharin, which it sold to the Coca-Cola Company. It also introduced caffeine and vanillin to Coca-Cola, and became one of that company's main suppliers.[citation needed]

In 1919, Monsanto established its presence in Europe by entering into a partnership with Graesser's Chemical Works at Cefn Mawr near Ruabon, Wales to produce vanillin, salicylic acid, aspirin and later rubber.

In its third decade, the 1920s, Monsanto expanded into basic industrial chemicals like sulfuric acid, and the decade ended with Queeny's son Edgar Monsanto Queeny taking over the company in 1928.

The 1940s saw Monsanto become a leading manufacturer of plastics, including polystyrene, and synthetic fibers. Since then, it has remained one of the top 10 US chemical companies. Other major products have included the herbicides 2,4,5-T, DDT, and Agent Orange used primarily during the Vietnam War as a defoliant agent (later proven to be highly carcinogenic to any who come into contact with the solution), the artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet), bovine somatotropin (bovine growth hormone (BST)), and PCBs.[6] Also in this decade, Monsanto operated the Dayton Project, and later Mound Laboratories in Miamisburg, Ohio, for the Manhattan Project, the development of the first nuclear weapons and, after 1947, the Atomic Energy Commission.

Monsanto began manufacturing DDT in 1944, along with some 15 other companies.[7] The use of DDT in the U.S. was banned by Congress in 1972, due in large part to efforts by environmentalists, who persisted in the challenge put forth by Rachel Carson and her book Silent Spring in 1962, which sought to inform the public of the side effects associated with the insecticide, which had been much-welcomed in the fight against malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. As the decade ended, Monsanto acquired American Viscose from England's Courtauld family in 1949.

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