Multinational agrochemical giant Monsanto is being sued by the City of Oakland for allegedly polluting the San Francisco Bay area with polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).
In suing the massive chemical firm on Tuesday, Oakland contends Monsanto knowingly contaminated Oakland’s storm-water resources and San Francisco Bay with toxic PCBs for years prior to its prohibition by the federal government.
Used for decades, PCBs were banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1979. The EPA defines polychlorinated biphenyl as a probable carcinogen.
Polychlorinated biphenyl, a synthetic organic chemical compound of chlorine, was a commonly used dielectric and cooling fluid in electrical devices and was also assimilated into building materials such as caulk and paints. Its use was widespread for 50 years before being prohibited.
City attorney Barbara J. Parker issued Oakland’s statement which read:
“Monsanto knew that PCBs were toxic and could not be contained as they readily escaped into the environment, finding their way into bays, oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, soil and air. Although evidence confirms that Monsanto recognized that PCBs were becoming ‘a global contaminant’, well before the 1979 ban, it concealed this information and increased production of these profitable compounds. The company that is responsible for this vast contamination should bear the burden of cleaning up our environment, not the taxpayers of Oakland and California.”
Oakland’s suit follows nearly identical lawsuits filed against Monsanto by the California cities of San Diego and San Jose; Spokane, Washington filed a similar suit as recently as August 2015.
Monsanto, the producer of the now-infamous “Agent Orange,” a chemical defoliant used widely during the Viet-Nam War, is deeply familiar with litigation.
In 2102, Monsanto agreed to pay $84 million to Nitro, West Virginia, the site of its Agent Orange plant, for a 30-year monitoring program when slapped with a lawsuit for exposing its chemicals to city residents.
Similarly, Monsanto agreed to pay an additional $9 million toward property clean up in contaminated areas around Nitro.
On top of pending lawsuits in California and Washington, the chemical firm is embroiled in a lawsuit filed by two farm workers who claim their cancers were caused by their use of a Monsanto-produced herbicide, Roundup.
This has grown gangrenous.
[RT News] [Oaklandcityattorney.org] [Photo courtesy Visitcalifornia.com]