Story at a glance

  • A group of teachers who sued chemical giant Monsanto over exposure to materials in fluorescent lights has reportedly been awarded $185 million.
  • The teachers claimed in the suit that they incurred brain damage from exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in fluorescent lights at Sky Valley Education Center in Monroe, Wash.
  • A spokesperson for Bayer, which purchased Monsanto in 2018, said they will appeal the verdict.
  • “These are historic claims that relate to products Monsanto has not produced in more than 40 years,” Bayer spokesperson Susan Skiles Luke said.

A group of teachers who sued chemical giant Monsanto over exposure to materials in fluorescent lights has reportedly been awarded $185 million. 

Friedman Rubin, the legal firm representing three teachers from Washington State, said a jury delivered the verdict in King County Superior Court on Tuesday, The Associated Press (AP) reported. The teachers claimed in the suit that they incurred brain damage from exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in fluorescent lights at Sky Valley Education Center in Monroe, Wash. 

“This is a big step in holding Monsanto accountable,” attorney Rick Friedman said in a statement, according to the AP.


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But a spokesperson for Bayer, which purchased Monsanto in 2018, said they will appeal the verdict. 

“The undisputed evidence in this case does not support the conclusions that plaintiffs were exposed to unsafe levels of PCBs at the Sky Valley Education Center (SVEC) or that any exposure could have possibly caused their claimed injuries,” Bayer spokesperson Susan Skiles Luke said in a statement.

“These are historic claims that relate to products Monsanto has not produced in more than 40 years,” Luke added.


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Bayer has separately agreed to pay $650 million to localities across the U.S. that sued over PCB contamination, Bloomberg reported

The AP reported in 2019 that millions of fluorescent lights across the country contained the chemicals that can cause cancer and lead to other illnesses. PCBs are compound mixtures produced by Monsanto to be used as coolants and lubricants. They were prohibited in 1979.


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Published on Jul 30, 2021