Los Angeles sues Bayer for decades-old contamination by Monsanto chemicals

Los Angeles, California has joined the parade of plaintiffs suing Bayer, holding the German firm accountable for intensive environmental contamination brought on by poisonous chemicals its US subsidiary Monsanto offered many years in the past.

Claiming Monsanto hid its data that the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) it manufactured for 42 years had been dangerous, Los Angeles County is demanding the corporate pay for the harm these merchandise have completed to the surroundings. The municipality has spent a fortune on cleanup, together with retrofitting storm water techniques, in an effort to forestall additional harm.

PCB contamination is “an enormous drawback in our county. It’s a major total value to wash that up,” mentioned Scott Kuhn, a lawyer working for the county, including that the compensatory and punitive damages might run into a whole bunch of tens of millions of {dollars}.

Monsanto stopped manufacturing PCBs in 1977, formally as a result of they weren’t “readily biodegradable.” The substances had been outlawed by the US in 1979 and have been causally linked to most cancers, reproductive and immune system harm, and different well being issues. They had been as soon as utilized in electrical insulation and fireproofing, in addition to flooring end, paint, and different building supplies.

Internal communications, nevertheless, recommend Monsanto was conscious of the hazards of PCBs for years earlier than they stopped making and promoting them. The firm was internally discussing their potential authorized legal responsibility and warning that “direct lawsuits had been attainable” at the same time as they publicly declared PCBs weren’t “extremely poisonous” in communications with American regulatory companies.

After buying Monsanto final 12 months for $63 billion, Germany’s Bayer has discovered itself paying by way of the nostril for the corporate’s previous misdeeds following three courtroom victories by most cancers victims who declare their non-Hodgkins lymphoma was brought on by publicity to the corporate’s blockbuster weed-killer Roundup.

Earlier this month, a jury awarded a California couple an eye-popping $2.1 billion in punitive damages over Monsanto’s failure to warn prospects of the dangers posed by glyphosate, the herbicide’s main ingredient – the biggest settlement in opposition to the corporate but. Another 13,400 or so Roundup lawsuits are at present pending.