Exposing corporate wrongdoing
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Bayer is a chemical and pharmaceutical company that was founded in 1863. Recently it expanded into agricultural products via the acquisition of Monsanto. One of the first controversial products made by Bayer was heroin (named and trademarked in 1898). Monsanto's list of controversial products include Agent Orange, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), genetically-modified crop seeds, and Roundup (the trade name of a toxic glyphosate-based weedkiller. The company is in the process of paying out billions of dollars to convince some 100,000 people to drop lawsuits over Roundup use.
Bechtel is a privately-owned construction company that was founded in 1906. It builds big projects like dams, roads, fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. In the 1930s, it was charged with 70,000 separate labor violations during the construction of the Hoover Dam. It has also been charged with installing the San Onofre nuclear reactor backwards and botching the clean up of the nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania. Bechtel was in charge of the Boston Central Artery tunnel project (aka the "Big Dig") estimated to be the most expensive highway project in U.S. history. (The $2.5 billion cost estimate ballooned to $24.3 billion.) The company’s contract to privatize the water system in Cochabamba, Bolivia, resulted in price hikes of up to 300 percent.
BP (British Petroleum)
BP (formerly British Petroleum) is a fossil fuel exploration company that was founded in 1909 to drill for oil in Iran (then known as Persia). It has been responsible for numerous catastrophic accidents around the world such as the death of 13 workers when its Sea Gem oil rig collapsed in the North Sea in 1965; a 2005 explosion at its Texas City refinery that killed 15; and most recently, the death of 11 people on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, that also caused lasting damage to the ocean environment.
British American Tobacco
British American Tobacco is a tobacco company whose roots stretch back to tobacco sales in 1786. It is now the largest tobacco company in the world. Despite the fact that the company's own internal research showed that tobacco causes cancer, the company continued to deny this fact as recently as the 1980s. Documents leaked from Brown & Williamson (the U.S. subsidiary of British American Tobacco) in 1994 conclusively exposed “the three big lies” of the tobacco industry that 'cigarettes don’t cause cancer, nicotine is not addictive and we don’t market to kids.' Later Jeffrey Wigand, a former research executive at Brown & Williamson, blew the whistle on how the company had added chemicals like ammonia to increase the effect of nicotine in cigarettes.