Ohio reaches $80 million settlement with Monsanto over PCB hazards

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Monsanto logo
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced, March 24, an $80 million settlement with the Monsanto Co. that forces the company to pay for the long-standing environmental damage it knowingly caused in Ohio with its products.

“Ohio has been absorbing the health and environmental costs of PCB contamination for decades, and the clean up will likely continue for even longer,” Yost said. “This settlement not only holds Monsanto accountable for its actions but also provides significant financial resources to assist in environmental clean up.”

The state filed suit against Monsanto in 2018, maintaining that the company had known for decades that it created products with harmful levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a group of man-made chemicals that can cause cancer in humans, are toxic to fish and wildlife, and can damage waterways and soil. The settlement comes after extended litigation by Yost’s Environmental Enforcement Section, with the money being placed in Ohio Environmental Protection Agency accounts specifically designated to mitigate future environmental hazards.

A stipulation has been filed in federal court requesting remand of the case to the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court where the settlement will be submitted for judicial approval. An environmental advisory board is also being established to determine how the funds are to be best utilized across the state.

Monsanto manufactured PCBs for use in industrial and commercial products from 1935 until 1977, the only U.S. company to do so before the government banned the dangerous substances in 1979.

The company was purchased by the German conglomerate Bayer in 2018 shortly after the state filed its lawsuit.

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