Monsanto is being sued in Los Angeles by two people who blame the company for their lymphoma cancers. At issue is whether Monsanto’s poisonous chemicals polychlorinated biphenyls – PCBs – caused the two plaintiffs’ to develop cancer.
Roslyn Dauber (62) and John Di Costanzo (87) claim they developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from food contaminated by Monsanto’s PCBs. These long-lasting chemicals, nearly impossible to break down, can still be found in many food sources despite not having been made for decades in the U.S.
PCBs 1929-1977 and Beyond
The attorney for Dauber and Di Costanzo covered in opening statement the history and chemistry of PCBs. Monsanto made PCBs from 1929 through 1977. They were used in pesticides, adhesives, lubricants and many more products. Once introduced to the ecosystem, the plaintiffs’ attorney explained, they became very difficult if not impossible to clean up and remove.
PCBs Virtually Indestructible
“They are virtually indestructible,” the attorney said. “
Courtroom View Network reported that the attorney showed jurors internal Monsanto documents dating back to the 1950’s. He claimed the documents would prove Monsanto knew back then that PCBs posed a substantial public health risk. Nevertheless, he said, Monsanto falsely represented PCBs as safe. Monsanto ultimately halted PCB production, after PCBs were found to cause a wide range of illnesses, he said, but by then it was already too late for the environment. And once they get into the “environment,” they get into people.
People ARE the Environment
People, of course, are the environment; people are one with their environment. The very use of the word “environment” seems, in some ways, designed to obscure that clear fact. Unless people are hermetically sealed, which is, for all intents, impossible, they cannot be separated from their environment.
The attorney for Dauber and Di Costanzo told jurors it was easy to link the PCBs in their bodies to Monsanto; the company produced 99 percent of PCB compounds sold in the U.S. He also argued that Monsanto intentionally avoided long-term safety testing of PCBs, opting instead to publicize results of irrelevant short-term tests.
Monsanto’s attorney told jurors in opening statement that the plaintiffs couldn’t prove their cancer was caused by PCBs. He argued that many people with the same chemical levels in their bodies never suffer adverse effects.
Charla Marie Lord of Monsanto reiterated her defense attorney’s opening, telling Courtroom view Network that PCBs couldn’t be proven as the cause of the plaintiffs’ cancers.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys have faced tough battles at previous trials over Monsanto PCBs in food causing cancer in humans. Another Los Angeles jury decided in Monsanto’s favor in 2014, and a Missouri state court jury also decided for Monsanto in 2015.
The current L.A. trial is being heard before Judge Stephen Czuleger. It is expected to run through the end of March.
The case is Dauber, et al. v. Monsanto Co., et al., case number BC483342 in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County.