Lymphoma Patients Suing Monsanto Get Favorable Appeals Ruling

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According to a press release issued yesterday, a panel of three judges from Missouri's Eastern District Court of Appeals has rejected a claim by Missouri-based agricultural biotech company Monsanto that they are not responsible for people who have developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma from exposure to PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls.

This effectively reverses a lower court decision and means the appeals court felt there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

A pending lawsuit

The case centers on three plaintiffs who say they had no occupational exposure to PCBs and yet nonetheless have high levels in their blood. They are the first of several hundred people with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who have high PCB levels and who are moving ahead with similar lawsuits.

Because of the enormous implications of this decision, part of the press release will be reprinted here verbatim:

The case represents the first time that injured victims have sought to hold a company accountable for producing a chemical that has contaminated the entire planet, including every person in the United States. The plaintiffs are three lymphoma patients who each have elevated levels of PCBs in their blood. The original Monsanto Co. [now known as "Pharmacia Corp."] produced more than 99 percent of all of the PCBs ever used in the United States. Because PCBs are far more persistent in the environment than most other chemicals, PCBs are now a ubiquitous environmental contaminant. Today, PCBs can be found in measurable levels in virtually any sample of soil or air and also in the food chain. PCBs contaminate fish, dairy products, beef, pork, poultry and eggs.

PCBs have a connection to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Additionally, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has confirmed the cancer-causing potential of PCBs – which have been banned in the United States since 1979. PCBs have been linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The Missouri Supreme Court is next, and this case could go to trial in 2014.

Source: MarketWatch

Photo: "Public inspection" of the Monsanto facility at Enkhuizen, Netherlands, by Luther Blissett

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