Lawsuit Demands Monsanto Pay for PCB Contamination

by | Jul 13, 2015

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The city of San Jose, California, has filed a lawsuit against Monsanto that alleges the company knowingly polluted the San Francisco Bay with PCBs and says Monsanto should pay to clean up the contamination.

The city’s stormwater, which contains Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), flows into the San Francisco Bay.

PCBs are chemical compounds that were produced by Monsanto in the US until 1979s, when Congress banned the production and use of PCBs based on their danger to human and environmental health.

The State Water Resources Control Board has issued a tentative order affecting San Jose’s stormwater operations and potentially reducing the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) specifically aimed at PCBs.

According to the lawsuit, Monsanto knew then 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 Monsanto recognized internally that PCBs were becoming “a global contaminant,” it concealed this information and increased production of these profitable compounds, the lawsuit said.

Other California cities are subject to similar stormwater permits with TMDLs related to the reduction of PCBs prior to discharge into the ocean or other waterways.

The two environmental law firms representing San Jose —Baron & Budd and Gomez Trial Attorneys — have filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of the city of San Diego.

A report published last year by the Washington State Department of Ecology tested 68 different products for PCBs and found the banned chemical in everything from Ritz cheese and cracker snack packaging, newspapers, magazines and in packaging of several food items including lime Jello, macaroni and cheese, Fruit by the Foot and taco shells



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