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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/19/17

Portland Oregon: City #8 to sue Monsanto over Polychlorinated Biphenyls Cleanup Costs (Like 1990's Tobacco Suits)

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Portland planning suit against Monsanto for water contamination The city of Portland, Oregon will sue agrochemical giant Monsanto for contaminating its waterways with chemicals linked to cancer. RT America's Brigida Santos ...
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Robert Kennedy Jr.: "If Monsanto gets its way, the American people will pay a high price for corporate greed."

Randall Wilkins wrote in a Natural News story published today by the Health Ranger, Mike Adams:

Just the name itself inspires terrifying images of organically mutated super vegetables with a potential for causing sickness and even death. It has been a hotbed of discussion and debates for at least the past decade, despite continued federal government support from various agencies. It seemed as though the giant was unstoppable, at least on a national level, until recently. Unfortunately, it isn't the company's genetically modified farming that is drawing legal backlash, although the foundation could be laid for larger future accountability.

Monsanto's current legal problems revolve around PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyls), which lawsuits allege that the company knew were toxic and dangerous as far back as 1937.

Portland, Oregon is City #8 to sue Monsanto over contaminated waterways, after recently passing a resolution directing city attorney Tracy Reeve to take the biotech company to federal court over its dumping of PCB's over the past 40 years. After spending more than $1 billion cleaning up PCB pollution in the Willamette River, Portland now seeks a judgment from Federal Court against Monsanto for the company to pay for the damages from its decades of contamination.

PCBs were used widely in industrial applications like paint and rubber products as "plasticizers" and insulation for heat transfer and electrical uses, like transformers, and have been causally linked to cancer, damaged immune systems no long able to resist viruses, plus developmental damages to children. The manufacture of PCBs has been banned since 1979, but it was produced in enormous amounts by Monsanto for 40 years before that banning.

Since 1937 until the 1970's, this toxic group of chemicals, PCB's, was used to insulate electronics, as well as in paint, transformers, caulk, and other items. Monsanto was the sole manufacturer of the chemical compound, producing 500,000 tons of PCBs, now spread widely all through our environment, and in the air, rivers, and landfills. The lawsuit posits that Monsanto knew in 1937 that its product (used in paint, transformers, caulk and many other items) was disastrously harmful to humans and wildlife, yet did nothing except reap the profits.

The port has not yet named a specific amount of money in their the lawsuit, but rather formulates their request as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages ranging from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars for the cost of "past, present and future" cleanup costs. City of Portland officials documented PCBs on Swan Island Lagoon, in the heart of the Superfund site, as recently as 2012, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement, Portland's lawyer Reeve stated:

"Portland's elected officials are committed to holding Monsanto accountable for its apparent decision to favor profits over ecological and human health. Monsanto profited from selling PCBs for decades and needs to take responsibility for cleaning up after the mess it created."

Monsanto's lame defense thus far is that it stopped producing PCBs when they were discovered the government to be toxic and banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1979. However, Portland's lawsuit includes documents that prove that the company knew "as far back as 1969 that PCBs led to contamination of fish, oysters and birds" and that "global contamination" posed a risk to human health. Portland's lawsuit contends that the company actually knew as far back as 1937 that its product was hazardous to human health.

Monsanto denies having prior knowledge of PCB health risks. The St. Louis-based corporation responded to Portland's lawsuit and denied all wrongdoing. Scott Partridge, the company's vice president of global strategy, Scott Partridge wrote:

"PCBs have not been produced in the U.S. for four decades, and the Port is now pursuing an experimental case on grounds never recognized in Oregon history."

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