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Maine is Suing Biochemical Giant Monsanto for Allegedly Knowingly Selling Products Containing Harmful Chemicals

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine is suing biochemical giant Monsanto for allegedly knowingly selling products containing harmful chemicals that have contributed to contamination in the state.

The latest lawsuit targeting the company over the manufacture and sale of products with polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs, was filed last Thursday in Cumberland County Superior Court. It alleges that Monsanto knew about the danger of PCBs years before they were banned but continued to make and sell products containing them.

“We have evidence that Monsanto knew that its PCBs products were causing long-lasting harm and chose to continue to make money off poisoning Maine’s people and environment,” Attorney General Aaron Frey said in a statement last Friday. “I am taking action to demand that Monsanto pay for the harm it knowingly caused our state.”

Monsanto is now owned by Bayer, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company.

Monsanto said it discontinued production of PCBs five decades ago and never manufactured or disposed of PCBs in Maine. Describing the lawsuit as “meritless,” the company said in a statement that third-party manufacturers that produced and sold PCB-containing products would be responsible for any contamination their products caused under applicable law.

The company also said it conducted hundreds of studies over the years on the safety of PCBs “and provided warnings to its customers based on the state-of-the science at the time.”

Vermont was the first state to sue Monsanto last year over PCB contamination of natural resources, followed by dozens of school districts in the state. Bayer agreed to pay $698 million to Oregon to end a lawsuit over PCB pollution in 2022.

PCBs are linked to numerous health concerns and are one of the chemicals responsible for fish consumption advisories in Maine. They were used in building materials and electrical equipment like transformers, capacitors and fluorescent lighting ballasts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned manufacturing and certain uses of them in 1979 over concerns they could cause cancer and other illnesses.

Maine said it will be seeking damages for the costs of cleaning up, monitoring and mitigating 400 miles (644 kilometers) of Maine rivers and streams and 1.8 million ocean acres (728,000 hectares) that are currently identified as impaired by PCBs.

Original Source: NBC Right Now