Seattle Joins Major US Cities to Sue Monsanto for Toxic PCB Contamination*
By Christina Sarich
The city of Seattle now adds its name to 5 other major US cities that are suing Monsanto over PCBs. Perhaps a tide of similar legal action will finally break Monsanto for good.
Activists may have a tough time shutting down Monsanto for poisoning the planet with GM foods and engaging in the corrupt chemical whirl-go-round that seems to be ruining every conceivable aspect of the natural world, but Monsanto’s karma is catching up, and quick.
Though most of us know Monsanto for creating the best-selling herbicide Round Up and contributing to the creation of Agent Orange, in this case, PCB contamination is targeted in 20,000 acres that drain to the Lower Duwamish, a federal Superfund site in Seattle, Washington.
Monsanto was a producer of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) for commercial use in the U.S. from 1935 to 1977. The company has made millions from selling PCBs, all the while knowing that natural environments were suffering, causing harm to people, wildlife, and pets.
A majority of the people who worked for Monsanto in their PCB-making ‘glory days’ had little clue what the chemicals were doing to them. Most never thought to connect Monsanto to some of the odder features of life in places such as Anniston, Alabama – where the creek (known locally as “the ditch”) passed through town carrying water that ran red some days, purple on others, and occasionally emitted a foggy white steam.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes got the idea of filing the lawsuit in Seattle from other cities which have already done the same. Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, San Diego, and Spokane have already set up legal proceedings against Monsanto.
“When the profit motive overtakes concern for the environment, this is the kind of disaster that happens,” Holmes said.
“I’m proud to hold Monsanto accountable.”
An untold amount of PCBs have contaminated Seattle’s waterways in the last few decades. Resident fish and shellfish in the Lower Duwamish Waterway are so contaminated by PCBs that the state Health Department advises there is no safe amount to eat — though people continue to fish from its waters.
No specific amount of damages have yet been named in Seattle’s lawsuit against Monsanto. These will be determined through due course as the suit progresses.
If Holmes can sue Monsanto for the city of Seattle, might not an attorney from every major city in the US do the same?
Monsanto seems to be digging its own grave.