Baltimore City Will Receive Part Of A $537.5 Million Settlement With Monsanto For Contamination In Waterways

The Patapsco River—one of the waterways contaminated by Monsanto—runs under the Hanover Bridge in Baltimore City. Photo by Craig Fildes via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Baltimore City will receive part of the $537.5 million settlement reached with Monsanto and two other companies in a nation-wide class action lawsuit over Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) contamination in city water systems, Blair Young reports for WBAL TV 11. Baltimore City originally sued Monsanto in 2019 before joining in the class action with other cities and counties including Los Angeles County, San Diego, Tacoma, and Portland. 

What were the consequences of the contamination? 

Between the 1930s and 1970s, PCBs were used in electrical equipment and other products before they were banned by the federal government. Monsanto and the other two companies in the lawsuit—Solutia, Inc. and Pharmacia Corporation, which were once part of Monsanto—contaminated waterways as they manufactured products with these chemicals that have been linked to birth defects, cancer, and nervous system damage, according to an article in AboutLawsuits.com.

In the city’s original lawsuit, attorneys wrote that the chemicals contaminated the Inner Harbor, Patapsco River, and Lake Roland, and traces of PCB were found in sediment, wild life, and stormwater runoff across 921 square miles of estuary waters in Maryland, 223 miles of the state’s rivers and streams, and 3,150 acres of the state’s lakes and reservoirs. 

Anything else I should know?

The settlement created four funds for the money, including nearly $43 million for continued monitoring of PCB contamination in waterways, $250 million to compensate plaintiffs, another $137.5 million to help plaintiffs mitigate the contamination in sediment, and over $107 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal expenses, according to a press release from Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott.

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