The city of Seattle is suing Monsanto for the contamination of the Lower Duwamish River and city drainage pipes.
Seattle will be the sixth city following San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland, San Diego, and Spokane to file a lawsuit against Monsanto for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contamination. The complaint was filed on Monday in federal court and alleges that Monsanto knew the high toxicity levels in PCB, and still continued to produce and sell the chemicals regardless. The city intends to hold Monsanto accountable for all the damage its products have done.
The Lower Duwamish River ranks as one of the most toxic waterways in the United States and the EPA estimates that the full cleanup of the waterway will cost up to $342 million. Seattle officials do not think that the city or its tax payers should have to pay this large sum of money to remove PCBs from the river and drains, when Monsanto used these toxic chemicals knowing the repercussions they would have on the environment and on the people of the United States.
Before Monsanto was an agricultural food corporation, it produced dangerous chemicals including 2,4-D, which was later used in the deadly war chemical Agent Orange. In 1929, Monsanto created polychlorinated biphenyls, otherwise known as PCBs. These chemicals were used in everything from lubricants, hydraulic fluids, cutting oils, waterproof coatings, to liquid sealants. These potent carcinogens were found to have a devestating affect on the environment and on people, and were later banned in 1979. The world’s center of PCB manufacturing was at Monsanto’s plant on the outskirts of East St. Louis, Illinois, which had the highest rate of fetal death and immature births in the state. Documents later show that Monsanto was fully aware of the deadly effects of the chemicals but criminally hid this information from the public to keep the up production. Even though PCBs were only used for about fifty years, the devastation still lingers. The chemical is present in the blood and tissue cells of almost every human and animal across the globe.
PCBs have been detected in 82% of the drainage pipe samples and in 73% of street catchment basin samples in the Lower Duwamish drainage basins. PCB exposure is linked to several different types of cancers, nervous system, and reproductive illnesses. PCB contamination also destroys fish habitat and the exposure to it has been so widespread, it is found in everything from fish to human breast milk.
It is time for cities in the United States to rise against Monsanto for the many devastating contaminants it has put into our food, water, and air. The unethical practices of this corporation are ruining our earth and destroying the health of people across the country. Let us come together and say no to the practices of this deadly agrochemical giant.
Ariana Marisol is a contributing staff writer for REALfarmacy.com. She is an avid nature enthusiast, gardener, photographer, writer, hiker, dreamer, and lover of all things sustainable, wild, and free. Ariana strives to bring people closer to their true source, Mother Nature. She is currently finishing her last year at The Evergreen State College getting her undergraduate degree in Sustainable Design and Environmental Science. Follow her adventures on Instagram.