Monsanto has become synonymous with many different products ranging from GMO crops and seeds to pesticides and even Agent Orange, the deadly jungle defoliant used in the Vietnam War.
But far less known is the company’s longtime association with PCBs, the toxic chemical compound it manufactured and sold for several decades.
The chemical is so pervasive and damaging that it has been found in natural areas across the country and has been responsible for deaths of people and wildlife, but since it has been released into the environment, several legal battles have raged over cleanup responsibilities.
Now, the third U.S. state is officially suing Monsanto over these toxic chemicals, and in this case the company is being taken to task for concealing its safety risks, placing many thousands of people at risk.
Ohio AG Sues Monsanto, Alleging It Hid Dangers For Decades
Even the mainstream news is reporting on the latest Monsanto controversy, as it has been announced that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing agricultural giant Monsanto, saying they allegedly hid the dangers of their toxic PCBs for decades, NBC.com reported.
“We believe Monsanto should be held responsible for the damage it caused,” DeWine said according to a statement. “Our goal in taking this action is to protect Ohio, its citizens, and its natural resources.”
Much like with the states of Oregon and Washington, along with nearly 10 west coast cities, DeWine is hoping to defray the “substantial” costs to pay for the cleanup of dozens of rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water that have been contaminated by these materials.
Monsanto has long maintained that it should not be responsible for these cleanups, stating that it “voluntarily stopped producing PCBs more than 40 years ago” according to Monsanto VP Scott Patridge.
“Monsanto sold PCBs to many industrial and manufacturing customers, as well as the U.S. government, which put them to various uses and disposed of them in different ways. We are still reviewing this lawsuit, and we will defend ourselves aggressively,” he continued according to NBC.
According to the EPA and the NBC article, the company stopped making the chemical in 1977, and it was later banned in 1979 by the EPA.
But Monsanto knew about the toxic effects of these chemicals as early as 1937 according to an internal memo, NBC reported, and instead chose to embark on a “decades-long campaign of misinformation and deception.”
In August 1969 with opposition mounting to toxic PCBs, the company gave itself three different options according to another internal memo.
To either a) go out of business, b) “sell the hell out of them,” or c) to try to stay in business in controlled applications. Monsanto did all three according to the website toxicdocs.com, selling more of its products than ever before.
In 1977, the company finally stopped the sale of what even they acknowledged was a “world-wide contaminant,” the website continues (learn more here).
If the internal memos are any indication, the pattern of corruption is clear: Monsanto was far more concerned about its bottom line than the safety concerns that were being raised against these products.
For more on DeWine and Ohio’s lawsuit, check out the full NBC article by clicking here.
Thumbnail photo via Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio.