If Bayer thought its Monsanto-related problems couldn’t get any worse, they were mistaken. That’s because LA County just initiated its lawsuit against the company for Monsanto’s release of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the environment decades ago. The county is still facing mounting costs linked to PCB contamination of dozens of bodies of water in the area.
The most populated county in the United States with 10.1 million residents, the presence of PCBs in products sold by Monsanto years ago has caused extensive environmental damage, forcing the region to retrofit its stormwater systems to prevent additional damage.
The county alleges that Monsanto concealed its knowledge of the damaging effects of PCBs. According to the county, the presence of PCBs interferes with public swimming, fishing, navigation, commerce and other water-based activities.
The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Scott Kuhn, stated that LA County seeks compensatory and punitive damages that he indicated could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In a media release he stated that PCB contamination is “a big problem in our county. It’s a significant overall cost to clean up.”
The presence of PCBs in the water supply has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including immune system problems and cancer, which is what led to the government ban on the toxins in 1979. However, after 42 years of Monsanto having manufactured products containing them between 1935 to 1977, the persistent chemicals have still been found in the environment. Monsanto discontinued manufacturing the PCB-containing products in 1977 due to their persistent nature—the chemicals are not readily biodegradable.
Widely used in a variety of products, PCBs were found in carbonless copy paper, caulking, paint, insulation in electrical equipment and floor finishes.
In a study published in the journal, Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care, researchers found a link between prenatal exposure to PCBs and impaired development in children. In the medical journal Epidemiology, PCBs were linked to the progression of diabetes. Other research in the same journal links a mother’s PCB blood concentrations to premature onset of puberty in her male children. Another study in the journal Current Environmental Health Reports found a potential link between PCBs and fatty liver disease.
Bayer AG, the company that purchased Monsanto last year for $63 Billion, now faces over 13,400 lawsuits over its Monsanto-manufactured glyphosate-based pesticide RoundUp’s purported link to cancer. In the last few months, the company lost three lawsuits by cancer victims asserting that RoundUp caused their cancers. The most recent one resulted in a $2.055 Billion award to the two plaintiffs, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, who are both in their seventies and suffering from cancer. Alva suffers from a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that spread in his bones and spine, while Alberta has brain cancer linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They were awarded the highest payout to date in the three cancer trials against the corporation.
Edwin Hardeman and Dewayne Lee Johnson also battled Monsanto and won in the prior two lawsuits. Both men also suffer from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is a fluid-filled network throughout the body that works to clean up tissues and fight disease.
While Bayer AG continues to assert that its glyphosate-based products are safe despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) assertion that they are “probable carcinogens,” it is hard to argue with the lack of safety and the persistent nature of PCBs. Even the government itself published a report on the “Health Effects of PCBs” which it now appears to have removed from its website. It had linked PCBs to cancer, reproductive, endocrine, neurological and other health problems.
The mounting legal issues facing Bayer AG have caused its stock to plummet. It’s unclear what effect the most recent lawsuit against the corporation that is already facing over 13,000 cancer-related lawsuits will have.
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, preserving, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include her newest book: FOOD FIX: The Most Powerful Healing Foods and How to Use Them to Overcome Disease. Follow her work.