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Science, Health and Technology
Tue July 23, 2013
Monsanto subsidiary will face jury about use of toxic chemicals in everyday products
Missouri state appeals court has ruled that a jury should decide whether a former subsidiary of Monsanto that manufactured toxic chemicals is responsible for illnesses caused by the widespread use of those chemicals in everyday products.
Over the course of several decades, Monsanto manufactured 99 percent of the P-C-B’s found in the world. High concentrations of the chemicals can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The case is one of several filed by cancer patients and their relatives in Missouri and California. They allege the company knew about the risk and should not have put P-C-B’s in products like road paint where they could easily get into the environment.
Steve Jensen is the attorney for the plaintiffs in all 11 cases. He said getting the case in front of a jury would send an important message to chemical makers.
“You’ve got to pay attention to how you’re going to market that chemical, how you’re going to prevent it from becoming and environmental contaminant," Jensen said, "and what kind of harm it’s capable of causing.”
Representatives for Pfizer, which now owns Monsanto’s chemical business, did not immediately return calls for comment.