Thursday, March 08, 2012

Monsanto and West Virginia residents reach settlement in lawsuit

Residents fearing chemical exposure
can be monitored at the hospital.
A huge class-action lawsuit was settled out of court after chemical company Monsanto and residents agreed to settlement conditions.

Residents in Nitro, West Virginia, have sued Monsanto, claiming that the chemical company unsafely burned dioxin wastes and polluted homes with unsafe levels of the chemical.

The Monsanto plant has produced herbicides, rubber products and other chemicals for more than 50 years.

Their production of Agent Orange created dioxin as a toxic chemical byproduct, the lawsuit alleges.

Dioxins are regarded as persistent organic pollutants.

They have been considered highly toxic and able to cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer. The chemical builds up in tissue over time, so even small exposures can accumulate to dangerous levels.

Worried about exposure to contaminated soot and dust in their homes, the Nitro residents filed the lawsuit in 2004, seeking medical monitoring for at least 5,000 (and maybe up to 80,000) current and former Nitro residents.

According to an article by Associated Press, the settlement creates an initial $21 million fund, plus up to $63 million more for Nitro residents to have their health monitored over 30 years at a local hospital.

It also provides $9 million to pay for professional cleaning of thousands of homes. Monsanto also has agreed to pay the residents’ legal fees.

The agreement allows thousands of current and former Nitro residents to apply for benefits.

Sources: Charleston Gazette, Washington Post

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