You can now add Oregon to the list of states suing Monsanto.


Last week Thursday, Oregon filed a lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court, alleging that Monsanto has- for decades- been withholding information about the toxic effects of their products on humans, plants, and animals.

According to Oregon Live the suit “seeks at least $100 million in damages and cites ongoing cleanup costs at the Portland Harbor Superfund site as one example of the tens of millions in public resources being spent in response to Monsanto’s toxic products.”1

For their part, Monsanto has called the suit “baseless.”


The issue at hand is the development, production, and use of polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. We now know that PCBs can cause system-wide toxic effects on people and animals by disrupting or impairing the endocrine, neurologic, and reproductive systems. They are also “probable human carcinogens.” (The colorless compounds were used for decades in fire-retardants, paint products, electric devices and hydraulic oils until they were federally banned in 1979.)


But simply stopping their use doesn’t mean they just disappear from the environment; in fact, they are “one of several chemical pollutants found in sediment at the Portland Harbor.”2 They are hard to get rid of because they easily pass through the food chain. And because of that, Oregon wants Monsanto to clean up their mess.

“Oregon’s lawsuit, along with those filed by the state of Washington, eight West Coast cities including Portland and the Port of Portland in recent years, contends the company knew as early as 1937 that PCBs were extremely harmful.”3

However, Monsanto ignored that fact and replied in a statement, that they “voluntarily stopped producing PCBs more than 40 years ago and didn’t use or dispose of any PCBs in the state of Oregon.”4 (But by simply using them in the state they were effectively “disposing” of them in the state.)

But the suit goes even further than claiming Monsanto has known about the problem with PCBs, it also alleges that Monsanto created an internal team within the organization to deflect criticism about PCBs in the 1960s.

It is expected to take 13 years to totally clean up the Portland Superfund site (which also lists the 10-mile contaminated stretch of the Willamette River as a top priority) and cost more than $1.05 billion.

Although the company called for the suits to be dismissed they are ongoing. We will update you as more information becomes available.

Sources and References

  1. Oregon Live, January 4, 2018.
  2. Oregon Live, January 4, 2018.
  3. Oregon Live, January 4, 2018.
  4. Oregon Live, January 4, 2018.