$185 million awarded to teachers who sued Monsanto over chemical exposure

WION Web Team
New York, United States Published: Jul 30, 2021, 07:58 PM(IST)

Monsanto Co (File Photo) Photograph:( Twitter )

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Until 1979, Monsanto manufactured PCBs, a chemical compound mixture commonly used to cool and lubricate electrical equipment

In Washington state, three teachers were awarded $185m in compensation after suing Monsanto for overexposure to fluorescent light materials.

In King county superior court, Friedman Rubin, which represented the teachers, said a jury returned the verdict on Tuesday. They worked at the Sky Valley education centre in Monroe, Washington, and claimed that the fluorescent lighting conducted by their school exposed them to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, causing brain damage.

Monsanto Co used to manufacture PCBs which are a mixture of chemical compounds that were commonly used to cool and lubricate electrical equipment until they were banned in 1979

The teachers' attorney, Rick Friedman, called it a big step toward holding Monsanto accountable.

Bayer, the company, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, said it disagreed with the decision and may appeal.

This was the first of 22 trials filed by teachers, parents and students from the Sky Valley Education Center.

According to a spokesperson for Bayer, Susan Skiles Lukes, the undisputed evidence, in this case, does not support a conclusion that plaintiffs were exposed to unsafe levels of PCBs at the Sky Valley Education Center (SVEC) or that such exposure could have caused what they claim. He also said that these claims relate to a product Monsanto has not produced for over 40 years.

In a report released in March 2019, the Associated Press reported that millions of ballasts containing PCBs are likely still found in schools, daycare centers, and other settings in the US four decades after they were banned because of cancer-causing concerns in 1979.

Caulk, floor adhesives, ceiling tiles, and even paint from older buildings often contain PCBs, sometimes in levels more than allowed by law.

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