The Ohio attorney general announced that the state had reached an $80 million deal with Monsanto to pay for the environmental damage in the state from contamination from its PCB products.
The state’s 2018 suit against Monsanto alleged that the company knew for decades that it made products with harmful levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which are a group of man-made chemicals that are toxic to animals, carcinogenic in humans and damage water and soil, according to Attorney General Dave Yost’s office.
The suit was filed just before Monsanto was bought by Bayer AG. Monsanto made PCBs to be used in industrial and commercial products from 1935 to 1977 and it was the only American company to do that before the government banned PCBs in 1979.
Monsanto sold PCBs for use in paints, inks, fireproofing, coolants and other applications.
Ohio claimed Monsanto knew PCBs leach off from their intended uses and contaminate water runoff. Monsanto also knew that PCBs persist over time in the environment, instead of breaking down.
A state report in 2016 found that PCB contamination in fish is the cause of most human health problems from Ohio waters and that Monsanto of carrying out a “decadeslong” misinformation and deception campaign to keep making and selling PCBs in Ohio and outside the state.
The settlement funds are being placed in the state’s environmental agency accounts and are specifically designated to mitigate environmental threats in the future.
An environmental advisory board is also being set up to decide how the funds will be best spent in the state.
Monsanto also reached a $25 million deal with the state of New Hampshire in February to end similar claims.