Wash. AG sues Monsanto over PCB-related issues; Company calls lawsuit 'highly experimental'

By Mark Iandolo | Dec 13, 2016

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced an environmental lawsuit Dec. 8 against Monsanto, filed in King County Superior Court, seeking damages and cleanup costs associated with the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Monsanto allegedly produced for decades.


“Monsanto knew the dangers of PCBs yet hid them from the public to generate profits,” Ferguson said. “I will hold Monsanto accountable for its actions.”


According to the lawsuit, Monsanto hid what it knew about the toxic chemicals’ harm to human health and the environment. Monsanto was the only company in the United States to produce PCBs from 1935 to 1979. In 1979, the Toxic Substances Control Act banned their manufacture. Ferguson alleges Monsanto knew about the dangers to humans and wildlife long before the ban went into place.

“This case is highly experimental because it seeks to target a product manufacturer for selling a lawful and useful chemical four to eight decades ago that was applied by the U.S. government, Washington State, local cities, and industries into many products to make them safer," said Scott S. Partridge, Vice President Global Strategy at Monsanto.

"PCBs have not been produced in the U.S. for four decades, and Washington is now pursuing a case on a contingency fee basis that departs from settled law both in Washington and across the country. Most of the prior cases filed by the same contingency fee lawyers have been dismissed, and Monsanto believes this case similarly lacks merit and will defend itself vigorously.”  

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