Monsanto’s history with a controversial and dangerous class of chemicals known as PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, has once again reared its ugly head.
PCBs, a highly toxic chemical manufactured by Monsanto decades ago, is still found in our environment today. Office of Senator Edward J. Markey
On the same day that the agribusiness giant announced plans to set aside a whopping $280 million in PCB personal injury settlements, a study from scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that up to 14 million students in 26,000 schools in the U.S. could be exposed to unsafe levels of the highly toxic chemicals even though they were banned several decades ago.
Before switching its operations to agriculture, Monsanto was the sole manufacturer of PCBs from 1935 until 1977. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned PCBs in 1979 due to its link to birth defects and cancer in laboratory animals. PCBs can have adverse skin and liver effects in humans and can also linger in the environment for many decades.
The Harvard study noted that PCBs could still be leaching from caulking, sealants and other aging building materials and fixtures in elementary, middle and high schools across the nation.