Status: 11/11/2021 8:22 a.m.
Bayer has suffered another defeat in a US court because of legacy issues from the Monsanto takeover. In a school building, students and others were exposed to the environmental toxin PCB.
A US jury has sentenced Bayer to pay a total of $ 62 million. Almost 200 people, including students, parents and employees, sued Bayer over alleged contamination with PCBs. They said they had been exposed to the chemical in a school building in Washington state. This is the second judgment against Bayer in connection with PCB at the Sky Valley Education Center in Monroe. A case involving teachers resulted in a $ 185 million judgment against Bayer in July.
It is not yet clear whether the Leverkusen-based pharmaceutical and agrochemical company will have to pay the compensation. Bayer has appealed against both judgments: “We assume that the questions to be clarified by the appellate court will be similar in both cases, since the errors in terms of the legal assessment and the assessment of evidence are the same,” said the company.
The “dirty dozen”
In defense, Bayer claims that the school found very low levels of PCBs and that there is no evidence that the chemical is the cause of the plaintiffs’ health problems. “In addition, the plaintiffs’ blood samples also showed normal levels of PCBs, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), correspond to the average of the US population.”
Plaintiffs, on the other hand, attribute their ailments such as asthma and cognitive impairment to PCB found in ballasts for fluorescent lamps in Sky Valley. Bayer had already stated that the components had been installed by Monsanto’s customers and had to be replaced decades ago.
Monsanto manufactured PCBs, which were used in transformers, as hydraulic fluids or as plasticizers in paints and seals, from 1935 to 1977. The chemical, one of the twelve organic toxins known as the “dirty dozen”, was banned in the US in 1979 and finally worldwide in 2004.
Monsanto contaminated sites
Like the multi-billion dollar dispute over the suspected cancer risks of the weed killer glyphosate, the PCB processes are an expensive legacy from US seed giant Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018 for over $ 60 billion.
Bayer has other legal problems over PCB in the United States, as there are other lawsuits pending alleged environmental damage caused by PCBs. Monsanto is accused of hiding the devastating effects of pollutants on nature and living beings for decades.
Actually, Bayer had already agreed on a payment of $ 650 million as part of a settlement to settle the largest PCB case in the United States. But the judge in charge rejected the compromise.