Monsanto Corporation, the agribusiness giant best known for its pesticides and genetically-modified crops, also manufactured white phosphorous for the U.S. government over at least the past 20 years. Used in incendiary military weapons, the United States sold white phosphorous-based weapons to Israel, which used those weapons to commit brutal war crimes against Palestinians living in Gaza in 2009.
White phosphorous is created from phosphorous through industrial processes — it is not a naturally occurring substance. Exposure can cause severe and often fatal burns, or other complications such as organ failure, with even survivors suffering from long-term health effects.
In addition to its use in weapons, white phosphorous is also used to create phosphoric acid, a key ingredient in some fertilizers, which likely explains why Monsanto would manufacture the substance.
At one point, Monsanto was the only U.S.-based firm manufacturing the substance. This, of course, caught the military’s attention.