Monsanto and Others Left Everett, Massachusetts Doused in Toxins

Monsanto Chemical Company

In 1929, Monsanto purchased an island stretching approximately thirty acres located on the Mystic River in Everett, Massachusetts (Johnston,  2010).  These thirty acres were formerly a small portion of Merrimac Chemical Company‟s empire.  Monsanto Chemical Company was, at this time, the largest chemical manufacturer in the nation.  This land in Everett was one of Monsanto‟s largest chemical plants in the U.S., early in the company‟s history.  While in the hands  of  Monsanto, the island was used to produce  plasticizer, sulfuric acid, and polyvinyl butyral, as well as to store acids, aluminum, and dyes (O‟Reilly et al. 1995; Johnston 2010).  Monsanto also produced pentachlorophenol  (PCP).  Genealogist Jim Denning  reports that the safe levels of PCP levels in the air were approximately 0.000072 parts per billion (ppb) prior to 1940.  In Everett, Monsanto’s level of PCP exceeded 2.0 ppb.

Additional Contaminant Sources

At various times, Cochrane, Merrimac, and Monsanto Chemical companies owned  the land comprising the East and West Side  parcels.  Nevertheless, these parties were not the only ones responsible for the atrocious
condition along the Mystic River.  The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) also had, and continues to have today, though in a lesser degree, a presence in close proximity to the East and West Side parcels.  The original Everett Station was near the Mystic River.  Everett Station was the beginning of the orange line, prior to the construction of Oak Grove, Malden, and Wellington stations.   In   addition, an MBTA bus garage and maintenance  facility  is  also  located  off  of  Alford  Street/Route 99.  It has been reported and is certainly true that MBTA property (soil,  groundwater, air)was contaminated as a result of the pollution brought on by the area chemical companies.  However, while the chemical companies are responsible for the majority of the contamination on the East and West Side parcels and much of the Mystic River, the MBTA holds responsibility as well.  During our visit to the East Side parcel, we learned from Officer Patrick Johnson that the MBTA would discard unwanted,
broken down subway motorcars and buses by dumping them into the Mystic River when the tide was low.  The parts would be set ablaze and left to wash away and disintegrate over time.


Everett, Massachusetts

Everett is a city in Middlesex County, just north of Boston. Incorporated in 1870 as a town, and again in 1892 as a city, Everett has a landmass of slightly less than 3.5 square miles and a population of just over 38,000 people. Everett is governed by a mayor and a city council consisting of a Board of Alderman and a Common Council, making it the only city in the country with a bicameral legislature.

Early 19th-century Everett was primarily an agricultural community. Farms and fruit orchards provided produce for local use and sale in Boston and neighboring communities. Timber, brick, and rope for construction were all made locally. By 1870, the Eastern and Grand Junction Railroad served as a vital link for commerce and transportation. Though small, Everett’s substantial water access along the Island End and Mystic Rivers proved attractive to heavy industry. Chemical plants, oil refineries and power plants occupied much of the city’s riverfront areas. Companies such New England Coke Works, Colonial Beacon Oil Company, and the James A. Cochrane Chemical Company established a foundation for later companies such as Humble Oil and Refining Company and Monsanto Chemical Company. Ancillary companies such as the Dampney Company, founded in 1917 to produce specialty anti-corrosion coatings for boilers and turbines, also sprang up. The early decades of the 20th century saw some stagnation of industry, due to labor disputes and economic depression. However, the approach of World War II saw a return to productivity. In 1939, General Electric established a plant in Everett, and by 1943 was operating on a 24-hour basis in aid of the war effort. The H.K. Porter Company opened its plant in 1942. In 1943, the first unit of Boston Edison Company’s Mystic Station power generation plant came online. Much of the economic growth of this period lasted well into the second half of the 20th century.

Asbestos exposure has been a problem in Everett over the years, due to the city’s high population-density and tradition of heavy industry. If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos, you may be at risk for asbestos lung cancer or other illnesses. Mesothelioma clinics in and around Everett are listed at the bottom of this page.
Large Jobsites in Everett where Asbestos Exposure Occurred

The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance has compiled information obtained from a number of sources to identify the following large job sites in Everett where asbestos exposure was known to have occurred. These sites are listed below. Click on them to get more detailed information.

Sithe Mystic Station Power Plant

Other Jobsites in Everett where Asbestos Exposure Occurred

These additional jobsites in Everett, Massachusetts have been identified as harboring asbestos containing materials. These sites, at one point in their history, were known to have exposed a variety of tradesmen to asbestos. We will be documenting in more detail how asbestos exposure occurred at these sites in the future on this web site.

Avco Research Lab
Bond Brothers
Boston Consolidated Gas Company
Boston Edison Company
Boston Elevated Railway Company
Boston Gas Company
Boston Market Terminal Company
Cochrane Chemical Company
Coleman Company
Esso Refinery
Esso Standard Oil Company
Everett Powerhouse
General Electric Company
Humble Oil Refining Company
Koppers Company, Inc.

Market Forge
Market Terminal
Merrimac Chemical Company
Monsanto Chemical Company
Morehaven Sugar Growers Cooperative
Mystic River Powerhouse
National Coal Tar Company
New England Gas and Coke Company
Petrolite Corporation
Pump Equipment & Engineering Company
Shahmoon Industries Inc
Shannon Oil Burner Service
Standard Oil Company of New Jersey




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Posted in Environment, Health
3 comments on “Monsanto and Others Left Everett, Massachusetts Doused in Toxins
  1. Vito Aluia says:

    I have grown up in Everett in the middle 50’s thru early 70’s. As a kid we used to play down at the railroad tracks right across from the Charlestown Chew candy factory. There was a small stream coming from the direction of Monsanto. I remember the orange water and the real bad smell that would burn your eyes. I also remember playing with Mercury that oozed out of the ground. We used to move it around with sticks but never touched it. We never stayed around there too long knowing it was a bad place.
    My parents and other people living on Lewis Street continued to live there long after i got married and moved away. I would continue to visit my parents and would constantly hear of people in that area coming down with cancer. My Dad got it and my sister.I believe it was from the exposure of that area.
    At one point I noticed that they were putting crushed stone on top of that area along the RR tracks. I Definitely know what is lurking below because I know they never cleaned it up…

  2. B.A. Mahrab says:

    We lived down the Village in Everett…played on the same tracks as Vito above (second bridge), right across from the Charleston Chew factory. This was in the 70s-80s and that same nasty smelling “stream” was there. When I was in my teens, they started pouring down the crushed rock and putting up fencing/keep out signs. Every member of my family has had cancer. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. Some have been able to fight and win, my sister is one who lost her battle. I know what’s buried out there – most people in Everett know Monsanto buried it deep, deeper than the EPA was allowed to “test”…and it’s still there, brewing up a chemical storm under the Gateway Mall and over where they’re building the casino. Folks doing the construction over there are wearing hazmat suits. Superfund site or not, there’s far more left to do to clean up the space…IF it can ever BE cleaned up.

    • Anonymous g says:

      Yes I also was diagnosed with 2 separate cancers nearly 2 years ago one kidney and half of my colon removed permanent colostomy currently undergoing c chemo to extend my life lived in west everett all my life never drank or smoked.. About 1/4 mile from river.Constant south wind over the river straight in my face. Scores of my neighbors have died and currently have cancer.Thank you Monsanto and GE All the talk is about building the rivers edge trees on the walking park won’t even grow. Big secret in this area money more important than people

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