Monsanto Accused of Knowingly Polluting SF Bay with Toxic PCBs
Targeting the chemical giant which for decades allegedly polluted the San Francisco Bay with a highly toxic environmental contaminant, the city of Oakland on Tuesday filed suit against Monsanto.
In a press statement announcing the suit, Oakland city attorney Barbara Parker accused Monsanto of concealing information on the dangers of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCBs), long before they were banned by U.S. Congress. Parker charges that despite this knowledge, Monsanto continued to produce and distribute these compounds, thus destroying marine ecosystems and threatening human health.
“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,” the statement charges. “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.”
Banned by Congress in 1979 and later by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001, PCBs are a common environmental contaminant associated with illnesses including cancer and are often found in the tissues of marine life, animals, and humans. According to a watchdog report (pdf), Monsanto was responsible for 99 percent of U.S. production of PCBs, commonly found in a variety of products and applications including power transformers, electrical equipment, paints, caulks, and other building materials.
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