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$46.5M Awarded by Jury in Most Recent PCB Lawsuit

May 27, 2016

A St. Louis jury awarded $46.5 million to plaintiffs in a month-long trial that began April 28. The jury voted awarded $17.5 million in damages and $29 million in punitive damages against Monsanto alleging negligence in the production of PCBs.

The plaintiffs claimed exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, that allegedly caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Monsanto was aware of the dangers of PCBs decades ago, according to the suit, but told the public that the compounds were safe and kept it on the market into the 1970s. PCBs are still in some rivers, streams and food consumed by humans.

According to the lawsuit, Monsanto was the primary United States manufacturer of PCBs from 1935 until 1977. It was banned two years later. PCBs were used in various products including industrial equipment, food packaging and paint, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A juror commented, "I think it goes to show that large companies can put stuff out there that's harmful and they can do it for a long time but that justice is going to be served whether it's a year after the products are put out, or in this case, 80 years."

A similar lawsuit was filed last year by the city of Spokane, Washington. The city of Seattle, also sued Monsanto in January over costs of PCB cleanup. Those cases are pending.

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