Ohio becomes the latest state to sue agricultural giant Monsanto on Monday as it accuses the company of concealing dangers posed by a toxic chemical compound it manufactured for almost half a century.
In the suit filed by Attorney General Mike DeWine in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati, the prosecutors argued that Monsanto should pay for the clean-up of dozens of rivers, lakes and other water bodies contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.
The lawsuit says that Ohio officials have found dangerous levels of PCBs in the Ohio River basin and Great Miami River basin, as well as other rivers and bodies across the state, including Lake Erie.
DeWine also said in a statement: “Monsanto should be held responsible for the damage it caused.” He also added: “Ohioans deserve to enjoy their natural resources without contamination from those toxic chemicals, and we believe Monsanto should be held responsible for the damage it caused. Our goal in taking this action is to protect Ohio, its citizens and its natural resources.”
The suit further alleges that Monsanto produced nearly all of the PCBs in the U.S. between 1929 and 1977. The PCBs were used in everything from lubricants to electrical equipment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the chemical has been linked to such deadly diseases as cancer, liver damage and other negative health effects.
The suit also alleges that the company became aware of the PCBs’ toxic effects in the 1930s, yet it continued producing the compound while concealing its effects.
In January, Oregon also sued Monsanto for the same alleged offense.
Monsanto stopped manufacturing the said chemical in 1977 and it was banned in 1979 by the Environmental Protection Agency. The company said they are still reviewing the lawsuit but will defend themselves aggressively.