Oregon sues Monsanto for $100 million over PCB water, soil pollution
The downtown Portland skyline is shown on the west bank of the Willamette River.
Oregon is suing the agrochemical giant Monsanto over PCB pollution that it says has contaminated dozens of its waterways and leached into ground soil around the state.
The lawsuit filed in Portland seeks $100 million in damages to undo pollution that state officials say has accumulated over decades.
(AP Photo/Don Ryan, 2012) PORTLAND — The state of Oregon sued the agrochemical company Monsanto on Thursday over pervasive pollution from PCBs, the toxic industrial chemicals that have accumulated in plants, fish and people around the globe for decades.
The company called the lawsuit baseless.
A 1937 internal company memo said that exposure to vapors at high temperatures or ingestion of the substances by animals produced “systemic toxic effects” and prolonged skin contact could lead to an acne-like rash, the lawsuit alleged.
“Monsanto voluntarily stopped producing PCBs more than 40 years ago and didn’t use or dispose of any PCBs in the state of Oregon.
When seals, eagles, osprey, orca whales and humans eat those fish, that contamination is passed on, the lawsuit alleged.
“PCBs cause a wide range of systemic toxic effects in humans and animals and can seriously impair the endocrine, neurologic, and reproductive systems,” the lawsuit said.
According to the EPA, PCBs have been shown to cause a variety of health problems, including cancer in animals as well as effects on the immune, nervous and reproductive systems.