The Monsanto Company gave up its original name when it became a part of Bayer in summer 2018, but the company is still facing lawsuits from all angles as more cities and municipalities become emboldened to sue the multinational corporation.
Lawsuits filed by plaintiffs claiming Monsanto’s glyphosate chemical caused their cancer have already put a dent in Monsanto’s bottom line, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg: major lawsuits have also been filed by four states and 10 cities against the company for PCB contamination of waterways.
Thus far, lawsuits claiming Monsanto poisoned the environment and caused widespread harm have been filed by New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon and Washington, along with 10 cities including Spokane, Los Angeles, San Diego, Baltimore and more.
It’s clear that PCB contamination is widespread, but Monsanto has worked diligently to avoid responsibility for cleaning it up and paying cities back.
Now, the movement is becoming too powerful to ignore, as “Our Nation’s Capital” has become the latest in a long line of major cities to go after the controversial agrochemical corporation.
Monsanto knowingly poisoned Washington, D.C. area for decades, lawsuit says
According to a new lawsuit filed by Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine, the Monsanto Company made, promoted, and sold toxic chemicals, also known as PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls, which they knew would harm residents of the District, pollute waterways, and kill wildlife.
“For decades, Monsanto profits by knowingly manufacturing, marketing, and selling toxic chemicals that contaminated the District’s environment, putting the health of our residents and precious natural resources, including the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, at risk,” said Racine according to LawStreetMedia.com.
The suit alleges the chemicals were sold for nearly 50 years while Monsanto made false statements about their safety and did not warn the public of the potential for cancer or liver damage. The products were allegedly produced from 1929 all the way through 1977, and were used in several different items including paints, caulks, inks, sealants, and electrical products.
These PCBs remain in the environment for decades after being used and are retained in animal tissue which shows how dangerous they are, the article said.
Racine is now seeking payment for past and future damages associated with the contamination as well as civil penalties.
“PCBs were widely used in consumer and industrial products before they were banned in 1979, contaminating the District’s land, water, fish, and wildlife. Due to their high degree of persistence, the chemicals remain in the District’s environment today, still accumulating in fish and wildlife. According to estimates, clean-up and restoration of the District’s natural resources will cost hundreds of millions of dollars,” said a press release from the Attorney General’s office.
Monsanto has tried several different legal defenses for getting out of cleanup duty in the recent past, including attempting to invoke a statute of limitations as it did unsuccessfully in the St. Louis case, and also using the defense that they previously released the chemicals into the environment through a different corporation, Solutia.
The lawsuit states that 99 percent of the PCBs used in the United States were manufactured and sold by Monsanto. These chemicals were eventually banned due to health concerns.
The District identified 36 bodies of water with high levels of PCBs, including the Potomac river, and contaminated fish in the area’s waters,according to the press release. It also stated that the District has spent millions of dollars already to clean up Monsanto’s pollution, and anticipates the cleanup as costing hundreds of millions of dollars to complete.