The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Monday, 9 December

Monsanto in the Dock

The massive agrochemical company Monsanto is accused of knowingly supplying polluting chemicals and is being sued by the city of Spokane in Washington State.

The lawsuit was filed this month in the U.S. District Court in Spokane, alleging Monsanto sold chemicals for ‘decades’ while aware of the threat they posed to both humans and the environment.

What specific damages are being sought by the city remain unclear but the city's utilities spokesperson, Marlene Feist, stated the suit involved “long-term litigation” and said the authority would spend US$300 million to keep polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) and other pollutants from entering the Spokane River in the future.

Over the years, PCBs have been found in high levels in the Spokane River and are deemed harmful to both humans and the environment.

In an attempt to distance itself from what has occurred in the past, Monsanto has declared: ‘Monsanto is not responsible for the costs alleged in this matter. PCBs sold at the time were a lawful and useful product that was then incorporated by third parties into other useful products. If improper disposal or other improper uses created the necessity for clean-up costs, then these other third parties would bear responsibility for these costs.

‘Monsanto today and for the last decade, has been focused solely on agriculture, but we share a name with a company that dates back to 1901. The former Monsanto was involved in a wide variety of businesses including the manufacture of PCBs. PCBs were industrial chemicals which were sold to sophisticated companies who incorporated them as safety fluids into electrical equipment, into plastics and into thousands of useful construction and building material products. PCBs served an important fire protection and safety purpose for the electrical and other industries. The manufacture of PCBs in the United States was banned in 1979, although the former Monsanto voluntarily ceased production and selling before that.’

Most often used in electrical equipment, inks, flame retardants, and paints, the city now argues that PCBs have entered the Spokane River through commercial and industrial product runoff in city and storm water drainage.

Spokane is not the only authority to take on Monsanto. San Diego filed a similar lawsuit against Monsanto in March this year for the alleged pollution of San Diego Bay and the company reacted with a similar statement stating that it had no financial liability for the effects of the PCBs.

Picture: Spokane River which the city authority believes has been polluted by PCBs injurious to life and the environment and which Monsanto is culpable

Article written by Mike Gannon

Share



Related Articles

French Forced to Come Clean

France’s highest legal authority has ordered the French government to produce plans within nine months to clean up the country’s illegal air pollution. The...

 Read Full Article
Dutch Emissions Ruling Opens Door for Governments to be Brought to Book

This Wednesday (June 24) a district court of the Hague in the Netherlands ruled that the Dutch government was legally obliged to meet a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas...

 Read Full Article
Excuse Me While I Kiss The Sky - Embracing The Tree In The Hendrikx Experience

A proposal to create the world’s first growing architecture, involving tree-like buildings that absorb CO2, has won the BSRIA and Designing Buildings Wiki...

 Read Full Article
Breathing Life Into London's Lungs As Pollution Death Rate Rises

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has strengthened his commitment to protect London’s Green Belt and other important open spaces for future generations and set out...

 Read Full Article
Legal Air Quality Roadside Standards Ignored

Many European countries do not meet legal air quality standards for ambient nitrogen dioxide (NO2) near roads; a problem that has been forecasted to persist to...

 Read Full Article
RBS Swings Environmental Axe In National Tree Week

In one year, the energy saving additive EndoTherm has helped RBS to reduce its energy consumption by 29% and carbon emissions by 10 tonnes. The new innovation, a...

 Read Full Article
All Aboard On The Air Quality Charabanc

Local authorities and bus companies in Bristol, York, Brighton, Surrey, Denbighshire and Wiltshire have been awarded 11 million funding under the government’s...

 Read Full Article
Patience Must Prevail in UK Air Pollution Plight

Amid a recent flurry of headlines around air pollution in the UK, Bureau Veritas has been quick to assert that patience must prevail as there are many major challenges to...

 Read Full Article
Two Green Apples A Day

Acorn Engineering Group and AIS BMS were both presented with Green Apple awards on Monday November 6 at a ceremony hosted in the Houses of Parliament. The presentation...

 Read Full Article
Blooming Marvellous - Bloomberg HQ Is World’s Most Sustainable

Bloomberg’s new European headquarters building, which just opened in London, has been rated as the World’s Most Sustainable Office Building. The building...

 Read Full Article