The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Los Angeles Coast Heavily Contaminated by Toxic Chemicals

Aug 15, 2022

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that Montrose Chemical Company, which manufactured DDT in the Los Angeles area, had dumped massive amounts of acid waste directly from massive barges into the Pacific Ocean off the Los Angeles coast.

Montrose Chemical Company produced DDT as a pesticide in Los Angeles from 1947 to 1982. Over the last couple of decades there have been “new discoveries” of just how much DDT and toxic chemicals associated with its manufacture Montrose had dumped. In 2008, the EPA reported that Montrose dumped tons of DDT and other forms of toxic waste directly into the sewer system. This toxic waste was ultimately discharged near White Point Beach on the Los Angeles coast. Last year scientists at UCLA and the EPA announced that there are more than half a million barrels of toxic waste that Montrose dumped along a 12-mile swath of seafloor 3,000 feet deep, in an area that is larger than the city of San Francisco.

The U.S. government banned the use of DDT in the U.S. in 1972 after it was found that in humans, exposure to DDT is linked to breast cancer, immune system deficiencies, obesity, birth defects, reduced fertility, and testicular cancer. DDT also causes deadly diseases in fish, birds, and sea mammals, leading to widespread die-offs. But the U.S. government allowed Montrose and other U.S. chemical companies to continue to produce DDT for sale to foreign markets until 1982.

Montrose wasn’t the only company dumping highly toxic waste in Southern California waters. From the 1930s to the early 1970s, California and the Federal Government also approved 13 other areas off the Southern California coast for the dumping of military explosives, radioactive waste, and various chemical and refinery byproducts—including 3 million metric tons of petroleum waste.

Today, the ocean floor off the coast of Los Angeles is the world’s largest known repository of DDT. Said one scientist, “These chemicals are still out there, and we haven’t figured out what to do. They are an issue, and we still don’t have a plan.”

What plan? Which plan are we expecting to have after the EPA and other sources have reported such toxic dumping for more than 40 years? There is no plan because these companies won’t pay for such a plan. The U.S. government won’t make any plan. They won’t clean it up for the same reason they dumped it there in the first place: profit before life.